Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Oriole #810- Jay Payton

Jay Payton played 12 seasons in the Major Leagues with six different teams between 1998-2010. He made his Orioles debut on April 21, 2007 and appeared in 258 games with the O's over the 2007-08 seasons at which point his career was definitely in a decline. In my opinion, his two years in Baltimore were the two worst years of his career. He was a fiery presence around the team, but unfortunately, his play could no longer match his attitude. 

This autograph was one of the first I got when I re-entered the autograph game in 2008 and the results obviously weren't the best. Back then, I neglected to prep my cards or use a marker that would "stick" to glossy surfaces so this bubbly mess is the result of my lack of preparation. I got this card signed at an Orioles away game in Tampa Bay during my first visit to the giant spaceship Trop. I'm happy to have an in person signature from Jay, and it's great that he was nice enough to sign for the Orioles fans in Tampa. 

I also have to note that it doesn't seem like Jay's signature has looked like the pre-printed version on the Topps card since before his certified autographs were included in some mid to late '90s sets, so I kind of wonder where he might have signed that version of his autograph. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Oriole #811- Jon Leicester

Just like in yesterday's Tike Redman post, Jon was included in the signed Orioles 8x10s that I picked up recently since he was never pictured on a card as an Oriole. I'm pretty sure that this picture is from Spring Training in 2007 or 2008. Jon pitched in ten games for the O's during the 2007 season, and the results weren't particularly good. 

Another similarity to yesterday's Redman post is that I have written about Jon once before, also back in November 2009. At that time, Jon was pitching in Japan for the Orix Buffaloes, and it looks like he also pitched from them in 2010. He was back stateside in 2011 and spent the season with the AAA Tucson Padres.

Jon was included in the 2007 Norfolk Tides team set, but I only have one copy of the card, so while I want to get the card signed, I don't want to send it out if I won't get it back. Maybe one day.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Oriole #817- Tike Redman

About two years ago I wrote a post about Tike, and not too much has changed with him since then, but I have upgraded my autographs of him and want to show them off. Back then, I was not writing specific Orioles debut posts, so I want to make sure that Tike gets his due as well. 

To fill some gaps in my collection, I recently picked up a small batch of signed 8x10s that show players in an Orioles uniform who were never included as an Oriole in a card set. Tike was one of those, and I would guess this picture is from Tike's time with the Orioles during Spring Training in 2008.

Tike's inclusion in the 2007 AAA Norfolk Tides team set is the closest he got to being pictured on a card as an Oriole, so this card is also a part of my collection.

It appears that Tike has played mostly in the Mexican League over the past two seasons, but he hasn't hung up his spikes just yet. Good luck with everything Tike.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oriole #838- Juan Castro

I bet you didn't know that Juan Castro played at least one game in the Major Leagues for 17 consecutive seasons; his career spanning from 1995-2011. Castro was rarely an everyday player and averaged 64 appearances a year for his career, so I really can't feel too bad that I had no idea he had played in the Majors for that long.

Juan was part of the Orioles revolving door at shortstop during the 2008 season, but his 54 games were the most games played at that position out of the five guys the O's had at short over that season. He was always known as a glove-man and never found much success at the plate; he hit just .229 and 36 home runs over his 2,627 big league ABs.

I'm a big fan of Juan's 2009 Topps card as it's both an accurate representation of the O's 2008 season (Sizemore was clearly safe as Juan is about four feet from second base) and a unique shot for a card. Like I said above, Juan was a much better fielder than batter so it makes sense to show him on the field. And I feel like a shot of a middle infielder reaching up to catch a high throw (from first?) isn't something you see everyday.

Juan retired from the Majors in the middle of the 2011 season when the Dodgers designated him for assignment for a second time in under a year. He immediately became a special assistant to the Dodgers' General Manager and it looks like Juan's time around the game is far from over.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Hoot Evers

While I was going through my autographs for yesterday's Thanksgiving posts, I was looking for a name that I could tie-in with turkey, like duck or chicken. And then I decided to appropriately roast Sidney Ponson as the turkey I've always heard that he was during his time in Baltimore. 

Walter "Hoot" Evers name did jump out at me however for it's connection with Hoot & Owl. I dunno, it's a bit of a stretch but it works for me. Hoot earned his nickname due to his childhood love of cowboy movies, specifically ones that starred Hoot Gibson. So my bird connection is very thing, but whatever, I'm going to run with it.

Hoot played in the Majors between 1941-56 and had a very interestesting start to his career. He played in one game for the '41 Tigers before the start of WWII and spent the next four years in the Army Air Corps. After the war ended, he returned to the Tigers and spent the next six plus seasons in Detroit, and had the most success of his career that was highlighted by All-Star appearances in 1948 & '50. The second half of Hoot's career saw him bounce around from Boston, to New York, back to Detroit, on to Baltimore, to Cleveland, and he ended his career back in Baltimore in 1956. He played in 108 games for the O's during his parts of two seasons in Birdland but wasn't able to match the success he had at the start of his career.

After his playing career was over, Hoot stayed around the game and spent time in the Indians and Tigers front offices. Hoot passed away in January 1991, likely of complications from a recent heart attack. He was 69 years old. RIP Hoot and thanks for your service. 

Another reason I chose to highlight Hoot today is that I recently figured out that he passed away before his only Orioles card, this card from the Crown set, was ever released, so he obviously never signed the card, hence making my above Tigers autograph a permanent addition to my collection. I don't know why it took my so long to put that all together, but what can I say? I was pleased to officially scratch Hoot's name off of my need list.

Also, I have to say that every time I see this card, I'm reminded of Will Ferrell's impression of Harry Caray from Saturday Night Live. Tell me that you can't see it....

I guess it's mainly the chin/neck/mouth area, but I will always tie these together.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

From one of the "biggest" "turkey's" to have ever played for the Orioles.

And I hope that you all have a great day with your families and friends. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

O's Sign Antonelli

The Orioles have signed their first free agent of the 2011-12 offseason, and he's a fellow blogger! Infielder Matt Antonelli has been blogging about his baseball and life experiences since 2009 at and often provides interesting insights about life "behind the scenes" for a baseball player.

The 26 year old played in 21 games for the Padres in 2008 and has since spent some time in the Nats system. He will likely be competing for the O's 2B/utility infielder position in Spring Training and I certainly look forward to read his take on how everything is going.

As was the case when Darren O'Day was selected off waivers from the Rangers a few weeks ago, I need to add some unsigned cards of Antonelli's so I can try to get them signed next year. I didn't get much response to my O'Day post, but hopefully there is someone out there who has a bunch of Antonelli's cards for trade. Please let me know if that's you!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oriole #862- David Hernandez

I know that this is a large jump in my debut numbers, but I'm highlighting specific autographs that haven't yet been posted here.

Up today is Oriole #862, David Hernandez, who made his Orioles and MLB debut on May 28, 2009. He was traded to the Diamondbacks, along with Kam Mickolio, before the 2011 season for Mark Reynolds.

The story behind these autographs is kind of interesting. Although I prefer my autographs personalized, I'm not the Ryan that David signed these cards to, but I ended up trading for them with another Orioles autograph collecting Ryan. And now, I happily have two personalized Hernandez autographs, even if they weren't personalized to me, per se.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Oliver Drake Added to O's 40 Man Roster

Friday was the deadline for teams to protect their minor leaguers from the upcoming Rule V draft and the Orioles added only one player to their 40-man roster this year, 24 year old pitcher Oliver Drake.

He mainly split the 2011 season with the class A Frederick Keys and AA Bowie Baysox but also pitched in one game for the AAA Norfolk Tides. He was a 43rd round pick by the O's in the 2008 draft, but a main reason he was selected so late was because of eligibility concerns since he attended the Naval Academy and some teams believed he would have to spend time in the service before being able to continue his baseball career. Somewhat surprisingly, the O's draft department was able to sift through all the information and realized Drake didn't have to spend time in the Navy before pitching. blogger Roch Kubatko did the leg work in figuring out the Orioles Minor Leaguers who will be exposed to the Rule V draft:

Among the minor leaguers who will be exposed to the draft are position players Buck Britton, Tyler Henson, John Hester, Caleb Joseph, Greg Miclat, Billy Rowell, Brandon Waring, Ronnie Welty and Robbie Widlansky, and pitchers Tim Bascom, Brandon Cooney, Pat Egan, Eddie Gamboa, Sean Gleason, Steve Johnson, Cole McCurry, Wynn Pelzer and Rick Zagone.

The players who I think might get selected by other teams are Miclat, Bascom, and McCurry. In 2010, Pedro Beato was selected and kept by the Mets & Egan was selected and returned by the Brewers in the Major League round and Johnson was selected and returned by the Dodgers in the AAA round. I never like to lose any of the players who I've been following over the years, but it also means that the O's farm system isn't as bad as some people say it is. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Oriole #878- Rhyne Hughes

Rhyne Hughes made his Orioles, and MLB, debut on April 24, 2010, and was the last player to debut before I started to specifically write posts about each new player to appear for the O's. (Oriole #879 Frank Mata debuted almost a month later and became the subject of my first O's debut post)

I've written about Rhyne a few other times, including this feature highlighting him as minor leaguer on the O's 40 man roster back in February 2010, but didn't have a signed Orioles card of his until recently.

These offerings from Bowman and Topps are likely the only two O's cards he will be featured on since his time in the organization is likely over. I really waffled about which card to keep in my collection: the picture on the Topps card is far superior while the autograph on the Bowman cards stands out much better. I ended up going with the Topps card since the image is pretty unique and Hughes had more room to stretch out his signature.

Good luck with your future, wherever that may be, Rhyne!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Orioles Bobblehead of the Week- Nick Markakis Baysox Bobble


After skipping the past few weeks, the Orioles Bobblehead of the Week feature is back! I know that it was missed horribly.

This time around, I've picked a Nick Markakis bobblehead to honor his winning the first ever American League left field Gold Glove. This bobble was given away in 2007 by the Orioles' AA affiliate Bowie Baysox.

A few of you might remember this post from July, when I highlighted my '07 Baysox bobblehead of Chris Ray. It was one of three the Baysox gave away that year and, at the time, was the only one I had. Since July, I have been able to complete the trio and am very happy to have all three for my collection.

Oh, and the best part of this bobblehead? It's signed! Sometimes it really pays off to have some inside connections with the local minor league teams. I've written this a number of times, but Nick is a tough signature to get, so it makes this bobblehead even more awesome.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Buddy Peterson

Buddy Peterson played professional baseball from 1947-60 but was only to crack a major league roster for two brief stints over his career. He played in six games for the 1955 White Sox and seven for the 1957 O's.

For once, I can't blame whoever put the Orioles Crown set for not being able to find a picture of a player wearing an Orioles cap as there doesn't seem to be many pictures from Buddy's playing days. It's hard for me to believe that players ever wore glasses like those on the field, but I guess it was the style back in the day.

After his playing career ended, he was a minor league manager for six seasons in the Mets, Royals, and A's farm systems. He passed away in 2006 of complications from a stroke. RIP Buddy.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

VandenHurk Tides Card

I've displayed a few of Rick's autographs over the past few years, but he was included in the AAA Norfolk Tides team set this year in what will likely be the only card from his time in the Orioles organization. As a bonus, the picture shows him in the Tides' orange uniform color variation. I had some help getting this card signed in Norfolk since Rick's time with the O's was limited to only four games this season. His results weren't nearly as good as they were in 2010, so I would guess that Orioles #884's time around Birdland is probably over.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Counting Down the Orioles

One of my projects this offseason is to assign a debut number to every player who has spent time with the Orioles. So I will be counting down from 910-1. If multiple players debut in the field in the same game, I use the 1-9 position numbers as a tiebreaker. I will be blogging about the scans I have of any of the players starting with the more recent debuts. This should give me some specific ideas about what to blog about on the days when any Orioles news is lacking.

The player whose debut came most recently that I still have a card I haven't shown here before is Oriole #899, Blake Davis, who debuted this past June 22.

I don't know if Blake is in the Orioles plans for 2012 and it's unlikely that the 25 games the 27 year old backup infielder appeared in will get him included in any major issue card sets, so this will probably be the card that stays in my collection for the long haul. However. he was featured on an Orioles postcard that I would like to get signed at some point.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Bird Logo Unveiled

Here are some pictures I took of the new Orioles logos when I stopped by the Camden Yards Orioles store at lunch today. I didn't buy anything (yet, at least) because the prices are predictably high.

At some point, I might need to get one of these hats, although I have the throwback white & orange paneled cartoon bird hats already.

Although the new item I most likely will end up with is one of these orange jerseys, since the O's orange look is my favorite.

And I know a certain wife that has a thing for hoodies that might like this new design.

I mostly took these pictures to show the Camden Yards 20th Anniversary patches on the right sleeves. I guess the Baltimore script logo is updated as well, but it's a pretty subtle change. 

Overall, I'm a big fan of the reincorporation of the cartoon bird logo and a huge proponent of officially bringing back the orange uniforms, so it was a good day in Birdland.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Unveiling the Bird

About a week and a half ago, I wrote about how the Orioles were going to reincorporate the cartoon bird logo onto their hats and uniforms for the 2012 season.

Well today, the team put out an announcement that the unveiling is going to be tomorrow at 9:30am on  

Personally, I can't wait to see how the "new" logos look but I'm hoping they haven't been changed much from the 1980's version, modeled below by short-time Oriole Tom Dodd. 

...Unless they go with the black version of the hat with the orange front panel. But keep the cartoon bird the same.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Oriole #752- Aaron Rakers

Aaron made his Orioles and MLB debut on September 8, 2004 against the Twins in Baltimore. He pitched an inning and gave up four hits and two earned runs. Probably not as he had always hoped that it would go.

He appeared in 13 games for the O's over the 2004-05 season, ending his time in Baltimore with a 1-0 record, 3.50 ERA and two games finished. He has bounced around after his time in Birdland, and appeared in only one additional MLB game for the 2007 Padres. He has since pitched in the Independent Atlantic League and spent the 2009-10 seasons pitching for the La New Bears in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. It doesn't appear that Aaron pitched in 2011, so he has possibly hung up his spikes.

I wasn't actively collecting Orioles autographs when Aaron was in town, but I'm pretty happy with this card. It's a sticker autograph, but you can hardly see it and the design of the card is pretty nice.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Mike Reinbach

Mike Reinbach was the Orioles first round draft pick in 1970 and played in 12 games for the Orioles in first half of the 1974 season. He finished out the '75 season in the minors and then went on to play in Japan. In his twenty big league at bats, Mike had 5 hits, scored two runs, and drove in 2. 

Mike died under somewhat suspicious circumstances in 1989, seemingly haven driven his car off of a cliff in his native state of California. I recall reading somewhere that he had seemed OK before then and that there was some question about the situation, but of course I can't locate that information now so can't back-up that statement. 

Mike was featured on two cards that came out during his lifetime; a 1975 TCMA International League All-Star card listing him with the O's AAA affiliate Rochester Red Wings, and was included in a 1979 TCMA Japanese set. 

His only Orioles card is this inclusion in the 1991 Crown set that came out after his death, so he obviously never signed any of these. There are a few pictures of Mike in an Orioles uniform that he could have signed and the 1975 TCMA card pictures him in a non descript O's uniform, so I can hold out hope to one day upgrade my index card to that, but for now, I'm just happy to have Mike's autograph at all.

RIP Mike.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Looking for Darren O'Day Cards

Last week, the O's yet again dipped into the Rangers organization when they selected pitcher Darren O'Day off of waivers. I'm pretty excited because O'Day is a submarine style pitcher, which is absolutely my favorite thing to see in a baseball game. I hope the Orioles keep Clay Rapada around so that the two can form an amazing righty/lefty sidearm duo of confusion. And yes, I miss Chad Bradford.

I found this amazing picture combination on Boston Wolverine's Flickr page. Can't wait to see this in person.

Well, the point of this post is that I need some of Darren's cards to get signed. In addition to a few random minor league issues, his only cards in major release sets are in Upper Deck's 2008 & 2010 sets. So if anyone has any extras of his cards around, please let me know and we can work out a trade. Thanks in advance!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nachos Grande Autograph Week Questionnaire

Nachos Grande is having an autograph week to highlight all the signatures in his collection. Since this is a blog that's almost exclusively about autographs, this seems like a perfect topic for me to chime in on. And since I've been having some issues coming up with post ideas on my own this week, I figured that this is a perfect opportunity for me to try to come up with something interesting to write about.

1.  What is the best autograph you own?

This one is really tough for me, and I honestly don't even know where to begin. I really like all of my Orioles autographs and there are probably 20-30 that I would put on top of my favorites list. Here are a few of them. 

Cal is my favorite Oriole, and Kalina gave me this card so that's double the reason to like it. 

There are many others that I really like due to their scarcity like...


Tom Gastall who died in a 1956 plane crash


Fox's autograph is tough to find as he died in 1955 and was a gift from my dad, 
so it's another double good whammy 

2.  What is the best autograph that you've ever pulled from a pack of cards?

Hands down, Scott Moore, since this is the only Orioles autograph I've ever pulled from a pack. I ended up trading my copy away for other autographs I needed and I had gotten his autograph in person a few times, but no doubt that this was my best pull.

3.  What is the worst autograph you've ever pulled from a pack of cards?
I don't really think there are any bad autographs. That being said, I've pulled a few crappy looking sticker autographs including one that looks a lot like this.

It seems that Michel had a hard time staying inside the lines, but I blame Tristar for throwing this crap in the pack as is.

4.  Do you try to get autographs through the mail?  If so, what sort of success (or failure) stories do you have?
Ha, yes, I've dabbled. Probably sent out something like 500 over the course of my life. My best success ever was probably Nolan Ryan way back in the early '90s. I would suggest sending to older players, as they are much more likely to sign than current guys.

5.  Who was the subject of your first ever autograph?
Now there's a great idea for a post. It was Miguel Garcia on a Senators card in either the very late '80s or early '90s.

6.  Do you actively collect any autographs (certain players, teams, brands, etc)?
If you're reading this on my blog, I think you already know the answer to this one. Orioles autographs are kind of my thing.

7.  Which is better:  Autographs or Relics?
Again, my answer is rather obvious. Autographs are king for me.

8.  What do you think of cut autos?
I could do without them, but I'm fine with them if they can fill a hole in my collection.

9.  What is your favorite autograph design (say in the last 5 years)?
Not sure, but absolutely prefer on card autographs. I do recall liking some sort of a stained glass looking autograph set I've seen, but don't remember what it's called.

10.  If you could get the autograph of any five people (dead or alive) who would you want a signature from (and why)?
Vern Bickford, George Brunet, Bert Hamric, Lou Jackson and Frank Kellert are the only five Orioles players who I don't have autographs of, so it would definitely be them. 

Thanks for the great post idea Chris! And if you haven't checked out Nachos Grande, I suggest you head over there now.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Dwight Smith

When I struggle to think of something to write, I generally check to see if any former Orioles are celebrating a  birthday. And today happens to be Dwight Smith's 48th birthday, so happy birthday Dwight.

It took me a long time to track down Dwight's autograph on an Orioles card. I picked up a signed Cubs card of his back at the 2010 National in Baltimore, and finding signed Cubs' cards of Dwight is relatively easy, but he played for the Orioles late in his career and was only featured on four cards in an Orioles uniform, so the challenge was much greater. Luckily, a fellow SCN user let me know he had this autograph available and we were able to work out a trade. If anyone is looking for Dwight's autograph on a Cubs card, mine is now available for trade. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

A New GM

So the Orioles finally have a new General Manager/President of Baseball Operations/whatever they call him now that Dan Duquette is officially in the fold.

I don't know how excited to be about Duquette, but I'm very happy that the awful, embarrassing hiring process is over. To see how many candidates denied the Orioles the chance to even meet about the position might have been one of the toughest things I've seen over my years as an Orioles fan, and that's saying something. I guess that it says something about how the organization is viewed throughout baseball.

Let's hope that Duquette can turn things around, but I won't be holding my breath, for now at least. 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Oriole # 717- Ed Rogers

Ed Rogers made his Orioles & MLB debut on September 5, 2002. He played in 30 total games for the Orioles in 02 and 05-06 and appeared in at least one game at second, short, third, and both corner outfield spots. He had only 29 at-bats over his 30 games, and hit .207 with little power. Most O's fans might recall him for a play he tried to make in left field that ended with the ball in the back of his jersey.

He has bounced around from the Red Sox' to the Nationals' to the Diamondbacks' organizations after his time  in Baltimore, but he has yet to make it back to the Majors. He was still in the D'backs system at some point in 2011, so he isn't ready to hang up his spikes just yet. Good luck Ed, hope to see you back in the Bigs one day.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Orioles Bobbleheads of the Week- Brian Roberts & Melvin Mora

It's been a bad week around Birdland due to the GM search, so here's a throwback bobblehead duo from 2006 to cheer me you up.

These bobbles of third baseman Melvin Mora and second baseman Brian Roberts were handed out on two dates during the 2006 season. When put together, they interlocked to display the elaborate post-game  handshake that the two did after Orioles wins. 

Back in 2006, the Roberts bobblehead created quite a stir when the 20,000 bobbles that arrived in Baltimore featured a much darker skinned version of B-Rob. As I understand it, he appeared more purple than anything, but the O's were forced to return and/or destroy them and had to hand out vouchers. It's things like this that makes the organization look bad, well, in addition to the losing of course. 

I was able to get Mora to sign the bobblehead during the 06 season, as you can barely see in the top two pictures. For some reason I didn't think to take a picture of it when I snapped these other shots. 

And here is an older picture I have of B-Rob with the box; the picture shows Mora & Roberts doing their handshake. 

2006 doesn't seem like it was that long ago, but thinking about these bobbleheads and that season makes me nostalgic for some reason. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Mickey Scott

The Orioles family lost another member this past week when Mickey Scott passed away on Sunday in Binghamton, New York. He was only 64 years old.

Mickey was traded to the Orioles from the White Sox in September 1970 for Mickey McGuire, in one of the only double Mickey trades in baseball history. He pitched for the Orioles in 1972-73 and later played for the Expos and Angels. He pitched in 133 games over his five seasons in the Majors and had an 8-7 record with a 3.72 ERA.

After his big league career was over, he owned and operated Mickey's Mound, a bar in his hometown of Binghamton, and one of his regulars was no other than the infamous Billy Martin.

Mickey was nice enough to have signed this card for me back in 2009; I got the card back in under two weeks, so you know that Mickey still cared about his fans.

RIP Mickey.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bringing Back the Cartoon Bird

Over the last week, multiple Baltimore area media outlets have reported that the Orioles are bringing back the cartoon bird logo to their hats and jerseys. No images or designs have been released yet, but the word is that the bird will be a mash-up of the ones worn from 1966-74 & 1975-88.

Here's Woody Held modeling the older version of the cartoon bird...

and Mike Morgan and Dickie Noles showing the newer version of the bird. 

If you can't tell the differences from the cards, here are the up-close versions of both from Chris Creamer's Sports

1966-74 Version

1975-88 Version

While this is a small, aesthetic change, it's something that most Orioles fans are sure to like, as the cartoon bird was and is very popular around Baltimore. In addition to adding the Baltimore road jerseys a few seasons back, it's nice to see that the Orioles are keeping track of what their fans want to see.

Now if we can just do something about that pesky losing thing...