Sunday, October 31, 2010

Orioles Autograph Year in Review- The Good Signers

We are down to the second to last category in my review of the 2010 O's signing habits. Today's group are the players who I could typically count on to sign over the course of the season.

I was pleasantly surprised by how often Miggy seemed to sign this year. I got his autograph at least four times, and while his signature isn't much more than a stylized MT, he signed a lot more often than I anticipated from a veteran star player.  

I had an idea that Mike was going to be a good signer since I got his autograph during the '09 season when the Braves were in Baltimore; I actually saw him signing at two games of that three game series.  Mike signed for me four or five times this year and seemed pretty good to the fans.  Now if he had just been able to avoid his horrendous start to the season, the fans probably would have been better to him. 

After being acquired from the A's on June 22nd in the infamous Wolf-Fox animal surname trade, Jake seemed to be a frequent signer and a really nice guy too.  I got his autograph twice, but was unable to get his Orioles postcard signed since it was issued pretty late in the season.  If he's still with the team next year, I have very little doubt that he will sign it at some point. 

Alberto didn't spend too many games with the Orioles this season, but he was one of the most reliable Sunday signers on the team. He probably signed for 200+ fans at each of the two Sunday games I attended during his time in Baltimore. Last year, I ranked Alberto as a small sample good signer, so it seems like he's fairly consistent.

Jonesy continues to sign a good bit for a young star.  His signature ain't pretty and his attitude isn't always the best, but I can't say anything bad about him from an autograph standpoint.  Last year, I put him in the kinda good signing category, so it's nice to see him signing even more this year.    

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Random Saturday Autograph- Al Severinsen

I don't know much about Al, but I do know that I had a hard time remembering where the letter i goes in his last name and that he could jam a huge wad of chaw into his mouth for picture day.

He pitched 12 games as a relief pitcher for the O's during the 1969 season and had a 1-1 record with a 2.29 ERA. He resurfaced a couple years later and pitched 76 games for the Padres over two seasons to wrap up his MLB career. 

His signature is pretty solid overall.  The Al is very legible, as it should be, and he does a pretty good job with all the letters in his long last name.  I like how low he gets with the i and second s in his last name too. 

Friday, October 29, 2010

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Barry Shetrone

This week's "unpossible" autograph is from Barry Shetrone, a reserve outfielder on the Orioles from 1959-62. He bounced back and forth from AAA to the Baltimore over most of those seasons, appearing in just 58 games over his four seasons with the O's. He was included in a trade to the Washington Senators following the '62 season and appeared in two games for the Senators in 1963; that would be his final major league action, but he continued to play in the Senators farm system until the end of the 1967 season.

His autograph is fairly legible and smooth. I don't think I would ever guess that his last name says Shetrone if I didn't know what I was looking for, but all-in-all, it's a great graph compared to many that I come across. 

Although Barry had a short and fairly unexceptional time in the Majors, he is notable in the Orioles history books as he was the first Baltimore-born player to play for the modern-day O's after they moved from St. Louis to Baltimore. He passed away in Bowie, MD in 2001 from Lou Gehrig's disease at the relatively young age of 63. RIP Barry.

A Contest over at Georgia Mindset

Do you like Topps Chrome cards?  Do you want the chance to win a box of them? Well then head over to Georgia Mindset right now for you chance to win! Or don't, then I have a better chance to win!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Orioles Autograph Year in Review- The Kinda Good Signers

Rolling on with my Orioles autograph review, we're now getting to the players who were pretty good to the fans this year. These players signed multiple times for me over the course of the season.

Matusz signed this card for me within the first week or so of the season, and he also signed his jersey shirt the Orioles gave away on one of their T-Shirt Tuesdays. He still is a decent signer considering he is probably the O's most likely future star. Last year, I ranked him as one of the best signers on the team, so he might have taken a step backwards this year.

Last season, I saw Koji sign one time at Oriole Park and I just missed out on getting his autograph, so I put him in the don't think he's a good signer category. I sent him a TTM request late in the season, but didn't get it back, so I bought his autograph at a card show prior to the 2010 season. Since then, I got Koji's autograph in Spring Training, he returned my TTM request, and he signed for me at two games during the season. Talk about a turnaround.

Berken signed for me a few times during the season and I probably would've got his autograph a few more times if an injury hadn't ended his season in mid-August. You could consistently count on him to sign on Sundays while he was with the team. Last season, I listed him one step up from here, in the good signer category. 

Garrett was a much better signer than player during his 44 games with the O's.  I got his autograph at Fanfest, Spring Training, and two times in Baltimore before he was released on July 6.  You can tell things might be over for you when no other team will even take a chance on you at the league minimum salary.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Orioles Autograph Year in Review- The Small Sample Good Signers

Rolling on with my review of the O's signing habits, today I'm covering the players who seemed to sign pretty frequently at the games I attended, but they weren't with the team long enough for me to decide whether they always signed a lot, or I just got lucky. 


Rhyne played in 14 games with the Orioles from late April through mid-May and spent the rest of the season with AAA Norfolk. He was only with the O's for a handful of games, but I saw him signing at both games I attended during his time in the Bigs. I dropped the ball and didn't have anything for him to sign those times, but I did get his autograph in Spring Training and was able to trade for this O's postcard recently. His first Orioles card was included in the just released 2010 Topps Update set, so I now need to get that signed for the collection.

Armando started the season in AA with the Baysox, was promoted to AAA Norfolk after about a week in Bowie, and eventually worked his way up to Baltimore towards the end of the season to become Oriole #883. I got his autograph in Spring Training, Bowie, and again in Baltimore, so I really consider him to be a good signer, but with only 5 games as an Oriole under his belt, he's here in the small sample category. 

Oriole #885 Brandon Snyder is someone whose autographs I've been able to steadily add to my collection over the past three seasons during his time in Frederick, Bowie, and now Baltimore. B-Snyde appeared in 10 games with the O's after getting called up in September and I recall seeing him sign at least twice over his time in Birdland. I'm at the point where I don't have many unsigned cards of his so, assuming he's back in Baltimore next year, I would guess he will be listed in the good or best signer category. 

Rick, Oriole #884 for those of you keeping track, was a fairly valuable swing-man for the O's after being acqured from the Marlins for Will Ohman at the trade deadline. He was a regular Sunday signer and seems like a decent guy to boot, so I'm rooting for him to make the team next season. 

An Awesome New Orioles Website

A nice surprise came my way yesterday in the form of an email from a guy named Joe who has started a new Orioles website,  It is a forum to catalog every Orioles card ever made, but also covers everything Orioles, including autographs, publications, memorabilia, and stats.  It's definitely an interesting site to check out, especially for us O's fans, so check out the link.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Orioles Autograph Year in Review- Hit or Miss Signers

If you've been enjoying my review of the 2010 O's signing habits, there are four more posts about it after this one. If you think it's been boring and don't care about it, it's halfway done. So that should keep everyone happy.

Today, I'm going to cover the players who didn't seem to often, but when they did, they signed a lot.

After Jake was called up, he seemed to sign pretty frequently, and for a number of fans. As the season went on, I feel like I saw him signing less and less. So that's why he's in this category!

Josh seemed to sign for most people down the right field line when he did sign. Like Jake, he seemed to sign more frequently around the time he was called up, and less so as the season went along. I also got his autograph at a private signing, and the pen he was using wasn't great, but at least I have him on an O's card now. 

Chris bounced back and forth between AAA Norfolk and Baltimore this season, so that might have affected his signing habits this year. Last year, I ranked him among the best signers, so I hope that his signing regression isn't permanent.  

Jeremy always seems to have an interesting attitude towards the fans. He seems fairly nice, but also a little cocky or stuck up, if that makes any sense. Well, when he signs, he will cover quite a few people, but other times he will avoid the fans like a plague. He's pretty hard to read, but for being the O's #1 pitcher, I have a number of autographs from him. Last season, I rated him as a kind of good signer.  

Corey didn't sign with much frequency, but he would also sign for a lot of people once he started. I'm not sure if it's like "once I start, I'll just keep going, but then not do it again for a month", but he always seems very nice when he did sign.  


I'll wrap this group up with the player who I would say had the strangest signing habits on the team. Julio signed for me pretty early in the year, but then I came across an Orioles postcard that I wanted to get signed, and it took me like three months to get it done. And it's not that he wasn't signing, but that he seemed to sign around me a few times. I'm not someone who he would recognize since I'm not one of those people who are at every game and then go sell their haul. I graph an average of once a week, so who knows what it was, but I finally got my postcard, and this card, signed in July.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Orioles Autograph Year in Review- The I-Don't-Think-They're-Good-Signers

After taking the weekend off from my it, I'm back to reviewing the signing habits of everyone who played for the O's this past season.

Today, I'm going to cover the players who I might have seen signing on occasion, but they didn't seem to sign often during their time in Baltimore.

B-Rob had an injury-plagued 2010 season and was away from the team for most of the year, but in the 59 games he played with the O's, I think I only saw him sign one time. 

The only time I got his autograph all year was way back in Spring Training when he participated in a book signing to promote his dad's book on basestealing. 

Brian also fell in this category last season.

JJ signed for me twice this season, but one of those times was at FanFest, so I don't really count that since it's a signing that's more of a contractual obligation than an act of goodwill. As I've said before, most relievers sign on Sundays, but Jim wasn't one that normally took the time for the fans.

I also ranked JJ in this category last year. 

Scott signed cards on two occasions for me this season, one in Spring Training and the other at an early July game in Baltimore, and I remember seeing him sign at least one other time in Baltimore, so I almost listed him as a hit or miss signer. But I couldn't quite do it. Signing three times just didn't cut it for me.

He's now a minor league free agent, so his time with the O's is likely over.   

Troy was a great signer during the time he spent with the AA Bowie Baysox in 2009, but his signing habits didn't seem to translate to Baltimore. He only made it into a single game for the O's this season, but he spent most of a month as a member of the 25 man roster and I don't think I saw him sign once. He really could have been placed in the bad signer category, but I think I have a bit of a bias since he was so good to the Baysox fans. 

Last year, I ranked Felix in the hit or miss category as he seemed to sign at a few consecutive games, but then not again for two months.  This season, I can't recall if I saw him signing at all in Baltimore, but I got his autograph in Spring Training, at FanFest, and on a rehab assignment in Bowie.  So he's included here because of those times he signed. 

Pedro spent the final three weeks of the season in Baltimore after pitching for the Tides and the Baysox for the majority of the season. He appeared in two games and I got his autograph once, which doesn't seem bad on paper. However, Pedro ignored me and some other fans on a couple occasions. I guess no one has told him that it's not nice to "big league" the fans when you've only pitched in 11 MLB games and have a 6.48 ERA. But at least he signs on occasion I guess. 

Wiggy was a prototypical don't-think-he's-a-good-signer this year.  He is almost always willing to sign if there's only a small group of fans, but he rarely to never signs if a bunch of people are around.  I got him a couple times this year, so I was lucky.  Last year, I ranked him in the hit or miss category. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Postseason Contest Update-And Then There Were Three

Or two actually. Both of Play at the Plate's entries are still going strong and Night Owl is also hanging in there. Everyone else has been eliminated by the shocking, and very welcome, upset victories by the Rangers and Giants in the ALCS & NLCS.   

Technically, Play at the Plate's #2 entry is winning for the moment since he has picked five of the six series correctly so far. However, he can't get anymore correct since he took the Phillies to win the World Series.  Night Owl and Play at the Plate #1 currently have four correct picks, and one of them will have correctly selected the 2010 World Series champ, so it will come down to the tie-breakers. Play at the Plate has a major advantage right now, but good luck to you both. 

Personally, I'll be happy with either result at this point, but I think I will be rooting for the Rangers. 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Random Saturday Autograph- Donell Nixon

Continuing my "tradition" (I started last week) of Random Saturday autographs, I present to you Donell Nixon. 

He was a big-time speedster in the minor leagues who once stole 144 bases in only 135 games during the '83 season in the Mariners farm system. He only played in 208 big league games over four seasons with the Mariners, Giants and O's; appearing in just 8 games for the O's during the 1990 season, which would be his last Major League action. His claim to fame seems to be that he is Otis Nixon's younger brother.  Once I read that, I can see it but it seems like Donell lucked out in the Nixon family looks department.  You know what I mean. 

I picked up this autograph on ebay. Donell's autograph starts out pretty well for his first name but his last name appears to be half of an N and something that looks like a lower case cursive L. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Charley Lau

Before I start the post, I want to clarify something about his name. I found it spelled Charley and Charlie at various places, but as far as I can tell, he spelled it Charley, so that's what I'm going with.

Charley played with the O's during two stints, from 1961-63 & '64-67, during his 11 season MLB career as a backup catcher. He is much better remembered for the fifteen seasons he spent as a highly successful hitting coach with the Orioles, A's, Royals, Yankees & White Sox after his playing career ended. He is credited with positively influencing the hitting careers of baseball greats like George Brett, Carlton Fisk, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, Frank Thomas, Mark McGwire, and Harold Baines either through in-person instruction or because the hitters followed his "Absolutes" method to hitting.  

Charley would likely have been able to share his successful thoughts about hitting to many more players but colon cancer cut Charley's time short; he died at age 50 in early 1984 after losing his long fight with the awful disease. RIP Charley. 

Charley's son has continued the hitting coach tradition in his family and runs the website,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Trade with Crinkly Wrappers

About a month ago, Crinkly Wrappers posted a Cal Ripken Jr. card I wanted. It's one of the three possible cards you could pull from those Topps Wal-Mart value packs. I bought one at my local Wal-Mart and got the Babe Ruth, not what I was shooting for; I mean he is one of the greatest players of all time, but he's still a Yankee so he's not in my collect-o-sphere. 

Anyway, Ted  had apparently bought three of the value packs and pulled two Cals, so he offered the double up for trade. I jumped at the opportunity. My dad and I used to collect Cal pretty hard-core; I would say that we have a near complete collection of everything Cal from his first cards through the mid to late '90s.  Our collecting slowed/stopped as it seemed like there was 500 new cards produced every year and it got somewhat overwhelming. I was also entering that awkward teenage break away from baseball stage but I'm glad that I'm over that now!  

Anyway, we worked out a trade.  I sent him a bunch of Blue Jays cards, and he sent me the Cal,

a couple awesome '76 O's cards, 

and some of my set needs from '08 Topps, '08 Topps U&H, and '09 Topps.

I can't believe I still need cards from those sets, but I do.  If anyone else can help me scratch a few off my list, I would really appreciate it!  

Thanks for the awesome trade Ted!  If you've never checked out Crinkly Wrappers, I suggest you head over there immediately. 

Orioles Autograph Year in Reivew- The Bad Signers

Rolling on with my 2010 O's Autograph Review, today I'm going to cover the worst signers on the team. If I had it my way, no one would fall into this category, but unfortunately, these guys do.

Nick Markakis continues to be, in my opinion, the toughest autograph on the Orioles. The one and only autograph I got from him all season was way back at Fanfest, and I didn't see him signing any other time all season long. At one game, a fellow collector told me that he had signed the previous day, but since I didn't see it, I can't believe it. This dude NEVER signs at games, not even during Spring Training.

Not surprisingly, I also ranked Nick as a bad signer last season. 

Falling in the c'mon man category of bad signers is backup catcher, Craig Tatum. I mean, it's not like he was busy more than one or two days a week. I once had him walk by me, while he was apparently doing nothing, with only a few other people nearby and asked if he could sign. His answer "no". That's all he said. Luckily, I got his autograph in a few trades and got a few cards signed at a private signing.

I picked up Kevin's autograph both at Fanfest and at Spring Training, so I was optimistic about getting his signature a few more times over the course of the year. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case, and I can't remember seeing him sign once at Oriole Park this season. I know he was the veteran "ace" of the staff, but most starting pitchers will sign occasionally between starts since they have some down time. 

David Hernandez has always been a pretty tough signature, at least dating back to the '08 season when he was with the Baysox, and he continued down that path over this past season. I picked him up at a private signing, but can't remember seeing him sign around the park much, if at all. Sundays are the best day to get autographs from the Orioles relief pitchers, since there is no BP and they warm up on the field, but David would almost always just walk back into the clubhouse after warming up.

Last season, I ranked him as a hit or miss signer since he didn't sign often, but when he did, he signed for a number of fans. 

Sometime closer, Alfredo Simon was another tough autograph to pick up. I was able to get his autograph during Spring Training, but only after persistently calling out his name as he was walking down the right field line. He could only ignore so many times, you know?   I got his signature one other time this season, but again, it was at a private signing. 

Last year, I listed him in the inconclusive/undetermined category since he only spent a few days with the O's before going down with a season-ending injury.

Unfortunately, I once again have to include my favorite Oriole on the list of bad signers. I got his autograph only once this season, and that was at a private signing at a local AT&T Store. He didn't sign in Spring Training, I didn't see him sign once at Oriole Park, and I missed him at Fanfest. All season long, I had my copy of his SI cover in my game backpack, hoping that I might luck out and get it signed, but it looks like that will be a project for next season. 

Since Matt normally catches six days a week, I can kind of understand why he doesn't sign often.  But I wish that I would occasionally see him sign at the Yard on one of his off days.  As I mentioned, he also fell in the bad signer category last season.  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Orioles Autograph Year in Reivew- The Inconclusive/Undetermind Players

If you caught yesterday's post, you know that I'm starting my review of the 2010 Orioles signing habits.  Today I'm going to cover the players who either played only a few games for the O's who I didn't get a good feel for their signing habits or I wasn't able to get a good read on how often these players' signed over the season. This post will mainly focus on bench players, injury plagued types, and/or players who weren't cut out to wear the orange and black. I just never determined their signing frequency or figured out their habits, hence the name of the category.

Nolan had two stints with the Orioles in 2010, one at the beginning of the season, the other at the end, and he spent the majority of the year with the AAA Norfolk Tides. The only time I got his autograph this season was at O's Fanfest, but I did see him sign at a few games but wasn't able to get to him in time. Most of his autographs in my collection come from the '08 season when he played for the AA Baysox.

In 2009, Nolan was also in this category, so I guess that not much changed in a year. 

Frank made his Orioles (& MLB) debut as the franchise's 879th player on May 26. Overall, he pitched in relief in 15 games from late May to mid-July, and I got his autograph one time in Baltimore and once in Spring Training.

The Cla was with the O's from the start of the season until the end of May when he was shipped to Norfolk for general ineffectiveness. I got this card signed during the Orioles first homestand, but it was my only autograph from him this season. 

I ranked Cla as a good signer last season, so this could be considered at step backwards. 

Kam signed a few times for me at Spring Training, but since he only spent the first couple weeks of the season with the O's, I wasn't able to get him again in Baltimore.

In 2009, Kam also fell into this category. I won't be able to get a good feel for his signing habits until he spends more time in Baltimore.

Lou played the first half of the season with the Orioles before injuries once again caused him to miss out on any opportunity he might have had in Baltimore. I got his autograph once at a game and at Fanfest, but didn't see him sign much this year.

I determined his signing habits in 2009 fell in the small sample good category, so Lou moved backwards this year.

If you forgot that Justin was an Oriole this season, it's quite alright since he only appeared in 5 games and had 9 at-bats through April 23 before he was sent to Norfolk and then selected off waivers by the Mets. Justin signed for me twice in Spring Training, but I didn't get his autograph in Baltimore. 

Last year, I listed Justin as one of the best signers, so maybe I just caught him at the wrong games this season.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

2010 Orioles Autograph Year in Review

Starting today, I am going to review the signing habits of the 45 players who wore the Orioles uniform during the 2010 season. I will try to limit my judgment to only their signing habits at the Major League level during this season, although I'm sure that some past successes/failures with each individual could slightly cloud my opinion. I can only base my judgments on the 35-40 games I attended this season, so it's possible that the players signed very differently at every game I didn't attend, but I somehow don't think that was the case.

I did this same thing last season, starting on 10/15 and continuing through 10/27 and I'm a few days behind last season's schedule but should still be able to wrap this up in about a week. If I don't start this now, I will start to forget how my autograph season went, and the posts will become rather pointless.

Last year, I used nine categories to separate the players, but looking back at things, two of the categories are very similar, so I will combine them. Here are the categories (and explanations) of what I will use this season; the 2009 categories are linked if you're interested. 

Inconclusive/Undetermined- These are the players who either played only a few games for the O's who I didn't get a good feel for their signing habits or I wasn't able to get a good read on how often these players' signed over the season. This will mainly focus on bench players, injured types, and players who weren't cut out to wear the orange and black. I just never determined their signing frequency or figured out their habits, hence the name of the category.

Bad Signers- Pretty simple explanation here. These guys just don't seem to sign.

I Don't Think They're Good Signers- Players who I got autographs from or saw signing, but didn't seem to sign frequently. 

Hit or Miss Signers- These players seemed to be very streaky in regards to their signing habits. Maybe they signed multiple times one week but then not at all again for months. It could have something to do with how their performance on the field was going, or what was occurring in their personal lives; but whatever the case, they signed much better at some times than others.

Small Sample Size Good Signers- Some seemed to be good signers but weren't with the team long enough for me to figure out if I just got lucky or if they normally sign a lot.

Kinda Good Signers- These players all signed for me multiple times over the course of the season. They seemed to sign willingly, at least sometime, so they get bonus points for that.

Good Signers- These guys consistently signed throughout the season.

Best Signers- The players who were the most reliable signers throughout the course of the season. They didn't sign at every game by any means but I probably saw them sign at an average of 1 out of 5 games throughout the year. And that's pretty good for today's current major league player.

I hope that everyone enjoys the review.  Check back soon for the next post!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Orioles Alumni Autographs

Tomorrow, I'm going to start my 2010 Orioles Autograph Year in Review, but today, I need to write about this, finally. I really dropped the ball on the O's Alumni posts towards the end of the year, partially becuase I missed a few signings, and one or two others only had players who were already in my collection. If you don't know what this is all about, for the past two seasons the Orioles have brought former players in for signings prior to every Monday and Thursday home game during the season. I think they're awesome and have really helped my collection out!

On Thursday August, 5, prior to the O's-White Sox game, the Orioles did an amazing job by bringing in TWO alumni who I didn't have in-person autographs from.; "Diamond" Jim Gentile and "Disco" Dan Ford both were lined up to sign that day, along with local guy, multiple time signer, Bill Swaggerty. 


Jim Gentile was big-time slugger in the early to mid 1960s', hitting 160 homers from '60-65 and was a three-time All-Star during that stretch.  He was an Oriole from 1960-63 after being traded to Baltimore from the Dodgers and would likely have had even better big league numbers if he hadn't been blocked by Gil Hodges during his 9 seasons in the Dodgers' system.  Roy Campanella gave him the nickname "Diamond" in 1956 when he described Jim as a "diamond in the rough".

Jim was in Baltimore since he was lined up to sign at the National; I lucked out and got him for free at the O's game instead.  His signature is amazing and you can easily read every letter of his name.

"Disco" Dan was a member of the Orioles 1983 World Series Champs and spent the last four years of his 11 season MLB career with the O's from '82-86.  He was one of the nicest guys that I have ever seen at an O's Alumni signing and shook hands and talked to nearly everyone who passed through the line.  I always like when players act like that; Dan seemed genuinely happy to appear at the signing.  His signature is pretty legible, maybe outside of the r in his last name. 

A few highlights of Dan's career include when he hit for the cycle on August 10, 1979 while playing for the Angels, receiving MVP votes in '79, and homering for the O's in game 3 of the '83 series. 

That's Dan in the foreground, with Bill Swaggerty just past him, and Jim Gentile hidden in the back

Bill pitched for the O's from 1983-86 and frequently appears at alumni signings and other local Orioles events.  His signature is pretty solid too, especially considering he has such a long last name.