Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Be Back Soon

Keep up the good work Orioles!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Oriole #934- Omar Quintanilla

Picture from USA Today

Late last week, the Orioles made a small scale trade with the Mets and acquired infielder Omar Quintanilla in a cash transaction. Omar is a glove man on a team in serious need of players who can flash the leather. The Orioles have been leading all of baseball in errors for much of the year and a move like this is an attempt to shore up the defense. Omar doesn't do much damage with the bat, so the smart money says that he will mainly be used as a late inning defensive replacement for some of the more defensively challenged infielders.
Omar made his Orioles' debut in that capacity during Saturday's game and forever cemented his place as Oriole #934. He again appeared in Sunday's game as a defensive replacement but is scheduled to make his first Orioles start tonight in the finale against the Indians.

To make room for Omar on the 25 man roster, the team designated Oriole #928, Steve Pearce, for assignment.

As you could probably tell, I don't currently have an autograph of Omar in my collection, but I am working on a trade with a fellow collector on SCN. By the number of his autographs that are available online, I'm guessing that he is a pretty good signer, so hopefully I can get a card signed in-person in the near future as well.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Vlad's Material

I can't believe that I have never posted about this Titanic Threads card before, look at that grey wonderland! It's so exciting, and it's from a piece of material that Vlad possibly touched at one point to boot! Woo-wee. 

The design of this silk card is somewhat more interesting, I guess. I've always been interested in how the image on the card is put on these tiny pieces of cloth if nothing else. So this has that going for it at least.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Art Ceccarelli, Oriole #106

It has (thankfully) been a number of weeks since I had to write about the recent passing of a former Oriole, but the O's family lost another member when Art Ceccarelli passed away last Wednesday, July 11th. I hadn't heard of Art's death until fellow Orioles autograph collector, Russell, mentioned it in an email to me earlier this week.

Art pitched in the Major Leagues for the Kansas City A's, Orioles, and Cubs over parts of five seasons between 1955-1960. Interrupting his time in the minors, he served in the military for two years (1951-52) during the Korean War, possibly effecting the length of his time in the Majors.

He made his Orioles debut on April 21, 1957 and appeared in 20 games for the O's, going 0-5 with a 4.50 ERA. The Cubs selected him in the Rule V draft following the season ending his tenure in Baltimore. I found this funny quote from Art describing his time pitching at Wrigley Field: "It wears pitchers down. The winds are unbelievable. Willie Kirkland once hit a homerun off me that Ernie Banks called for at shortstop."

After his playing career was over, Art taught high school history for many years. Maybe I would have paid more attention in high school if my teacher was a former MLB pitcher. 

I very briefly mentioned Art in a 2009 post mentioning how I obtained this autograph in a trade with another Orioles autograph collector named Pol. It had long been my intent to send a TTM request to Art to try to get a personalized upgrade for my collection, but unfortunately I never got around to it. He was always a great TTM signer and there are successes listed for him on SCN up to the week before he passed away. RIP Art, thanks for treating your fans so well over the years.

To briefly explain the misspelled/made up title of these weekly posts: Every Friday, I profile a former Oriole who has passed away. I've substituted the word unpossible for impossible as an homage to a line from "The Simpsons". Young Ralph Wiggum, who is not very smart, says "Me fail English? That's unpossible." 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

An Orange Kind of Day

It's another scorching hot day in the Baltimore area with the temperature around 105 and the heat index in the one hundred teens. So it seems appropriate to show off a few of my orange uniform autographed cards today. Because, well, why not?

Today's focus will be on minor leaguers who are no longer playing in the O's farm system. Look at all that sizzling hot orange.

It's like an inferno! Maybe the minor league teams should start wearing blue to cool things down.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Post #1000, Celebrating Some Orioles Debuts

I noticed a few weeks back that I was nearing this milestone number of 1000 posts, a number that I never expected to reach when I began writing about my Orioles autograph collection back in March 2009. Just under three and a half years later, I have reached that crazy number of posts and wanted to take a minute to thank all of the fellow bloggers and my readers who have kept me going all this time. I couldn't have made it this far without all of you. 

I have no idea how long I will keep blogging. I know there are some days that I don't feel like writing while other times the words just flow from my fingertips. I do know that I'm nearing the end of Orioles autographs that I have yet to show off here. I don't like to re-run images too often, so if I ever clear out my scanned autograph folder, that might mark an end of sorts, but I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. Until then, thanks again to everyone who has taken the time to read one of my posts, I really appreciate it!

To celebrate this milestone post, I had been attempting to think of something special to write about and wasn't able to come up with much. But then a trio of players made their Orioles debuts this weekend, including two rather special ones, and my decision was made for me.

Relief pitcher Miguel Socolovich was called up to the Orioles prior to Saturday's game and made his O's and MLB debut in the 10th inning of Saturday's marathon 13 inning game to become Oriole #931. He pitched 1.2 innings and gave up two hits, one run and struck out one.

Miguel had been signed by the Orioles as a minor league free agent this past offseason and had been tearing up the competition at AAA all season long so the call-up was much deserved. It's very possible that he gets sent back to the minors in the coming days to make room for one of the starting pitchers the O's will need, but at least he got his debut out of the way.

At this point in his career, he doesn't have many cards that feature him, including no major set releases yet, but I was lucky and happened to have this Birmingham Barons card of his in my minor league collection. I got it signed on my spring training trip, so I was able to add Miguel's name directly to my have list.

Taylor Teagarden made quite the splash in his Orioles debut, also during Saturday's game. He has been injured all season and was just activated from the DL prior to the game. He came in as a defensive replacement in the 11th inning, after starting catcher Matt Wieters was removed for a pinch-runner in the bottom of the 10th, and he played in the final three innings of the game to become Oriole #932. He had two at-bats in the game and struck out swinging in his first trip to the plate and a few of those swings looked a little uncomfortable.

However, in his second at-bat, he crushed the game winning walk-off home run to seal the 13 inning victory for the O's. From Roch's post on MASNsports.com"According to Elias, Teagarden was the first Oriole to hit a walk-off home run in his first game with the club. He was the first player in the majors to do it since Joe Randa with the Reds on April 4, 2005." Awesome.

And it provided quite the post-game sound bite for FOX when Teagarden uttered "Oh shit" on the broadcast after receiving three shaving cream pies from his teammates. 

The most significant debut of the weekend, at least from an emotional standpoint, was that of Steve Johnson, Oriole #933. Steve's dad, Dave, pitched for the Orioles from 1989-91, so they join the small fraternity of father-son Orioles combos. On top of that, Steve was born and raised in Maryland, so he joins the equally small group of MD born Orioles. And to top things off, his dad has been involved with various Orioles-related radio and TV broadcasts in recent years, so the fans have had access to Dave's joy and frustration throughout Steve's assent to the big league club. 

Dave is the type of guy who wears his heart on his sleeve, and his on-air emotional reaction when the Orioles acquired Steve (along with Josh Bell) from the Dodgers for George Sherrill at the trade deadline in 2009 ranks near the top of recent Orioles broadcasting moments. Dave's frustration with the Orioles repeatedly not calling up Steve, even when it seemed like he was a deserving candidate, were also obvious at times, but I enjoyed the realness of Dave's commentary. He tried to remain objective about it, but you could tell that it ate at him.

Well, the Johnson family had their moment when Steve finally appeared in his first MLB game during Sunday's contest against the Tigers, and it seemed O-so-fitting that his debut would come during a home game in front of the Baltimore crowd. He received a nice ovation from the hometown fans and it made for a nice moment in an otherwise disappointing loss. Steve pitched the final two innings of the game and gave up just one run on a Miguel Cabrera home-run, while walking two and striking out two. Steve was sent back to the minors after the game, but at least he got his MLB debut under his belt.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Recent Upgrades & Additions (Grimsley, Hall, & Hughes)

Over the past few weeks, I've been able to knock a few players off of my need list and upgrade another autograph in my collection.

I was thrilled to have finally knocked this card off of my list since this is Grimsley's lone Orioles card and this is the only signed copy that I've come across in my years of collecting. His spot in my collection had been held by a signed Phillies card and an Orioles autographed postcard, both of which are now available via trade. Jason has been staying under the radar in recent years since it was revealed that he was one of the major informants for MLB's steroids investigation. 

Finally, I have a Bill Hall autograph in my collection! I haven't made it to many games lately so my graphing has scaled back and I don't believe that I have seen Bill play in a game during his two short stints with the O's. Considering the number of certified autographs this guy has, it took me quite some time to add one to my colleciton, but I personally think that this Stroke of Genius sets is one of the nicer looking certified sets in recent years. Not only is the autograph on card, but I feel like the design really works too.

Rhyne Hughes surprised me when he was added to the AA Bowie Baysox' roster about a month ago. I had no idea that he was still in the organizaiton and I generally keep a pretty good eye on the team's minor league transactions. The last I had heard he was a minor league free agent, but he obviously re-signed at some point. 

The Baysox had a meet the team event on Father's Day and I went with my family. Rhyne kindly signed and personalized my card, although I am a little bummed that my staedtler bubbled a little bit on his last name. These 2010 Bowman cards are about the only brand/variety that I've had this issue with; the staedtler even generally sticks on chrome cards!

And I know that I've mentioned this before, but I really like having players who are also named Ryan (or Rhyne in this case) personalize to me to see how similarly they write my name. Here you can see that the capital R is fairly similar, but slightly different in his signature. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Dick Kokos, Oriole #10

Dick Kokos (born Richard Jerome Kokoszka) was an Oriole for just 11 games in 1954, but he had been with the organization since 1948, and appeared in 464 games as a St. Louis Brown between 1948-53. He followed the team east to Baltimore and made his Orioles debut on Opening Day of the '54 season, April 13th, but was traded to the Yankees less than a month later, thus ending his short stint in Baltimore.

He passed away in his hometown of Chicago on April 9, 1986 at just 58 years of age. RIP Dick.

To briefly explain the misspelled/made up title of these weekly posts: Every Friday, I profile a former Oriole who has passed away. I've substituted the word unpossible for impossible as an homage to a line from "The Simpsons". Young Ralph Wiggum, who is not very smart, says "Me fail English? That's unpossible." 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The End of the Road for Vlad's Orioles Cards

A few weeks ago, I speculated about how many more Orioles cards would be produced of Vlad as the months continued to add up since his time with the Orioles had clearly ended. In that post, I mentioned that he was scheduled to be included in the 2012 Allen & Ginter set, as card #252, and likely would have been featured as an Oriole. This meant I would need to collect another card, and it's multitude of variations, for my Vlad Orioles collection.

But when Allen & Ginter starting popping up this week, I noticed that Vlad didn't appear to be included in the set and that card #252 featured likely future Oriole Tsuyoshi Wada. Wada was signed by the O's this past off-season but had Tommy John surgery in May and is out for the season. I was able to get one of his Japanese cards signed during my spring training trip, but I will now need to get a copy of his A&G card signed for my collection, assuming that he ever appears in a game for the O's.

Anyway, I guess what this means is that I can probably expect to no longer find any new Orioles cards of Vlad. Which is just fine with me. This was to be a mini-collection that has ended up being much larger than I anticipated.

It seems as if this Topps Historical Stitches manupatch could possibly be the final card that pictures Vlad as an O. And that's just fine with me. But not to worry, I still have some scanned Orioles cards of his that I have  yet to have shown on the blog.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

All-Star Game Recap from an Orioles' Fan's Perspective

So the American League team got crushed 8-0 in last night's All-Star game, and was down 5-0 after the top of the first inning, so it was never really much of a game. 

But from where I stand as an Orioles fan, the score of the game might have been a blessing in that all three of the Orioles on the team got to appear in that game. It doesn't always work out that way for non-starters on a relatively unpopular team. Now as long as that home-field advantage thing doesn't turn around to bite them should they make it to the World Series...but who am I kidding? If the team actually makes it that far, I think I will be in an nonfluctuating state of euphoria. 

Here are the screen-shots I grabbed of the All-Star Orioles during the game last night. Please don't get mad at me FOX!

My favorite player, Matt Wieters, came in to the game as a defensive replacement  in the top of the sixth inning and stayed in for the rest of the game. 

As did Adam Jones, who also had the first pitch of the inning hit to him in center field before the awful Buck & McCarver could even spit out the defensive changes. They were probably talking about State Farm or Chevy of something.

Wieters got two at-bats, flying out to the outfield in both trips to the plate, including the last out of the game. Interestingly, he faced two different Phillies pitchers in both of his plate appearances (Hamels & Papelbon).

Jim Johnson came in to pitch in the top of the 8th inning and mowed down the N.L. hitters in order. 

But my favorite moment of the night had to be this...

Really Bryce? You're gonna lose a routine fly ball in your first chance in the All-Star Game? Thanks for the laughs!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

1996 Orioles Debuts, Orioles # 574-595

Continuing my series in which I've recounted the debuts of new Orioles during certain seasons (2001, 2000, 1999 & 1998) today I am going to cover the 1996 team. Where's the 1997 team you might ask? Well, the Orioles were kind of really good that year, so I've already displayed every single autograph I have from the players who made their Baltimore debuts that season, and I'm not going to re-show all of those cards or do a post without scans, so I'm just moving along to 1996. My blog, my rules, ya know?

The 1996 team was pretty good too, but still had enough short-term type of players that I never have written about before to put together enough scans for a decent post. So here we go.

Roberto Alomar #574, 4/2/96 (1996-98)

B.J. Surhoff #575, 4/2/96 (1996-2000, 2003-05)

Tony Tarasco #576, 4/2/96 (1996-97)

Randy Myers #577, 4/2/96 (1996-97)

David Wells #578, 4/3/96 (1996)

I don't feel like I can say much about David that everyone doesn't already know. He pitched in the majors for 20 years with nine different teams, made three All-Star teams, and pitched a perfect game in 1998 during his time with the Yankees. He won two World Series titles ('92 with the Blue Jays, and '98 with the Yankees) and shares the MLB record by having appeared in the playoffs with six different franchises.

One thing that many of you might not know about David is the he only will sign baseball cards that feature him as a Blue Jay. I don't think I've ever heard why exactly, and occasionally the odd Yankees or Padres signed card has turned up, but 99% of his autographs that I've seen picture him as a Jay. Which is a problem for me as an Orioles autograph collector since David has numerous cards that picture him as an Oriole which I need to upgrade to for my collection. So far, David has turned my card down at a few signings and public events, but I will keep trying for as long as it takes.

Roger McDowell #579, 4/3/96 (1996)

Kent Mercker #580, 4/5/96 (1996)

Kent also had quite a long MLB career, having pitched in the Majors for 18 seasons between 1989-2008 with nine different teams, and is best remembered for the time he spent with the Braves and Reds. Kent was a part of two no-hitters during his years with the Braves, including a reliever assisted effort in 1991 and a solo job in 1994. Kent didn't have much success during his single season in Baltimore, going 3-6 with a 7.76 ERA over 14 games in 1996.

Jimmy Myers #581, 4/6/96 (1996)

Brian Sackinsky #582, 4/20/96 (1996)

Brian was the Orioles second round pick in the 1992 draft, but went on to appear in just three games with the O's during a five day period in 1996.

Keith Shepherd #583, 4/26/96 (1996)

Keith pitched for four different big league teams over the four seasons he spent in the Majors. The Orioles were his final stop and he appeared in 13 games and amassed a 8.71 ERA.

Luis Polonia #584, 5/12/96 (1996)

Esteban Yan #585, 5/20/96 (1996-97)

Archie Corbin #586, 5/21/96 (1996)

Rocky Coppinger #587, 6/11/96 (1996-99)

Garrett Stephenson #588, 7/25/96 (1996)

Garrett made his big league debut with the Orioles in 1996 and struggled over his three games with the O's. He went on to have more success with the Phillies and then Cardinals.

Mike Milchin #589, 8/11/96 (1996)

Brent Bowers #590, 8/16/96 (1996)

Nerio Rodriguez #591, 8/16/96 (1996-98)

Terry Mathews #592, 8/22/96 (1996-98)

Todd Zeile #593, 8/30/96 (1996)

I'm surprised that I never have written about Todd during the history of my blog but in reviewing his stats, I tend to forget that he was a member of the O's for just 29 games at the end of the '96 season. Interestingly enough, Garrett Stephenson was one of the players the Orioles sent to the Phillies for Zeile.

Over his sixteen season career Todd played for eleven different teams, and homered for each and every one of them, which is a MLB record.

Pete Incaviglia #594, 8/30/96 (1996-97)

Eugene Kingsale #595, 9/3/96 (1996, 98-2001)

When Eugene debuted for the Orioles in 1996, he became the first Aruban-born player to play in the Major Leagues. He was followed by three of his countrymen, all of whom also played for the Orioles. "Sir Eugene" was knighted by his homeland for his achievement.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Oriole #930 Joe Mahoney- UPDATED

Joe "Big Irish" Mahoney made his Orioles debut in Saturday's game against the Angels, on July 7, 2012. He went 0-3 at the plate but fielded all seven of his chances cleanly at first base.

The Orioles selected Joe in the 6th round of the 2007 draft out of the University of Richmond, in Richmond, VA, so their scouts had plenty of chances to see him play and must have liked what they saw. At 6'7", 255 lbs., Joe is a very big dude, hence the nickname of Big Irish, but doesn't hit for a lot of power like you might think that he would. He is more of a line-drive gap type of hitter. 

Joe was the organization's minor league player of the year in 2010 and was added to the 40-man roster following that season. He finally cracked the big league roster last Thursday, but it was beginning to look like he might not make it into a game, as had just happened with pitcher Steve Johnson who had spent three games with the team but wasn't needed due to solid pitching performances before being sent back down.

But then Joe's name appeared in the lineup for Saturday's game and he officially became Oriole #930. I wouldn't be surprised if he is sent back down to AAA Norfolk shortly after the All-Star break for more seasoning, as I have read that his call-up had more to do with his already being on the 40-man roster than the team needing yet another first baseman on the roster.

UPDATE- The Orioles just sent Mahoney back to Norfolk to make room for Nick Markakis's return from the DL. So it looks like my prediction was correct, if not the timing of the transaction.

As you can see, I have a number of Joe's autographs in my collection, mainly from his time spent with the Frederick Keys and Bowie Baysox from 2009-2011. Outside of the two orange uniform autographs at the top of this post that are in my orange uniform autograph collection, I have his 2008 Bowman Prospects card headed into my collection. Somehow, I have neglected to scan that card, but will try to do so at some point.

Good luck Joe!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Orioles Bobblehead/Figure of the Week- Oriole Weaver

Last Saturday, the Orioles unveiled the second "Orioles Legends Celebration Series" statue in the center-field flag court at Camden Yards. This time around it was Earl Weaver, the Earl of Baltimore, who was honored with a sculpture. 

Once again the team gave away replica statues to all fans in attendance. I didn't get a chance to snap a picture of the full size statue, but here are some shots of my figure. 

I like the pose, but thought the design might feature one of his classic hat backwards arguments with an umpire looks. 

Here are a few more views of the statue, including images of the box.  

Well done O's!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Billy Cox, Oriole #39

Billy Cox played in the Major Leagues for 11 seasons between 1941-55; he made his MLB debut with the Pirates in 1941 before spending four years in the Army during World War II. He came back from the war a changed man, and seems to have suffered from what we would likely now call post traumatic stress disorder.  It didn't seem to effect his performance on the field, as he received MVP votes for his effort during the 1946 season, but rather the perception of him throughout the game. He was unfairly labeled as "indifferent" due to his issues readjusting to civilian life following the war.

He played for the Pirates for two more seasons after his return from WWII, and then spent seven seasons as a member of the Brooklyn Dodgers. During his time as one of the Boys of Summer he was regarded as one of the best fielding third baseman in the game and was a key member of the pennant winning Dodgers teams in 1949, '52, & '53, again earning some MVP votes for his 1952 season.

The Dodgers traded him to the Orioles prior to the 1955 season and he made his Orioles debut on April 11, 1955 which was Opening Day that year. He played in 53 games for the Orioles before they attempted to trade him to the Cleveland Indians in mid-June. Billy refused to report to the Indians, so effectively forced himself into retirement.

Billy was from Pennsylvania, and actually was born and raised in the same rural county as my mom, which is an interesting connection as you have to believe me when I say that probably no more than 45,000 people live in this county today, let alone in 1919 when he was born. Now Billy was more in my grandma's age bracket, but it's still funny to hear about a former Oriole from Perry County, PA. The youth baseball field in his hometown of Newport is named in his honor.

Billy died in 1978 when he was just 58 years old. RIP Mr. Cox.

To briefly explain the misspelled/made up title of these weekly posts: Every Friday, I profile a former Oriole who has passed away. I've substituted the word unpossible for impossible as an homage to a line from "The Simpsons". Young Ralph Wiggum, who is not very smart, says "Me fail English? That's unpossible." 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

1998 Orioles Debuts, Orioles #613-633

1998 was the first losing season for the O's following their 1996-97 back-to-back playoff appearances. Unfortunately, that season began a slide that has continued to this day, as the Orioles are still trying to have their first winning campaign since the '97 wire-to-wire playoff season. 

The '98 O's debuts included a few veterans whose careers were winding down as well as a couple players who went on to become the core of the Orioles team in coming seasons, but many were only a member of the team for that single season. 

And here are the players who debuted for the O's in 1998.

Joe Carter #613, 3/31/98 (1998)

Norm Charlton #614, 3/31/98 (1998)

Norm pitched in the Majors from 1988-2000 for a number of teams and is best remembered as one of the "Nasty Boys" in the Reds bullpen in the late '80s and early '90s. He was also quite successful with the Mariners in the mid-'90s. He was good enough to earn an All-Star nod in 1992 with the Reds.

Unfortunately, he was not very good for the Orioles in 1998, and had a 6.94 over 36 games before the team cut him loose. This is his lone Orioles card and it took me years to get it signed before I was able to send it to a fellow grapher to get signed at a card show last fall. It's not a great looking card and the autograph kind of disappears into the black jersey, but I'm very happy to have it in my collection. Norm is a great example of a player whose autograph is fairly easy to find, but you are in trouble if you want a specific card signed as he doesn't sign TTM and rarely does shows.

Ozzie Guillen #615, 3/31/98 (1998)

Doug Drabek #616, 4/3/98 (1998)

Sidney Ponson #617, 4/19/98 (1998-2005)

Doug Johns #618, 4/21/98 (1998-99)

Bobby Munoz #619, 5/16/98 (1998)

Bobby had a rough time with the O's in 1998 and had a 9.75 ERA over 9 games. 

Radhames Dykhoff #620, 6/7/98 (1998)

Radhames appeared in just a single game for the O's, the only one of his career actually, and allowed two runs in one inning. He is Sidney Ponson's cousin and, like Ponson, is Aruban. In fact, they are two of only four players all-time from Aruba, and all four (including Eugene Kingsale and Calvin Maduro) have played for the O's. Dykohoff is the only one of the quartet who has not been knighted for the achivement. 

 Jesus Tavarez #621, 6/7/98 (1998)

Jesus played in just eight games for the O's in 1998. But his autograph is a perfect illustration of why I don't trade autographs of active players. Jesus signed this card for me prior to a Pirates-Marlins game in the early '90s, and who would have known that it would eventually work it's way into my Orioles collection?

Pete Smith #622, 6/14/98 (1998)

Rich Becker #623, 6/17/98 (1998)

Joel Bennett #624, 7/15/98 (1998)

PJ Forbes #625, 7/21/98 (1998)

Lyle Mouton #626, 7/25/98 (1998)

Juan Guzman #627, 8/5/98 (1998-99)

Willie Greene #628, 8/11/98 (1998)

Willis Otanez #629, 8/25/98 (1998-99)

Jerry Hairston Jr. #630, 9/11/98 (1998-04)

Calvin Pickering #631, 9/12/98 (1998-99)

Calvin seems to be one of those "What could have been" guys in that he could show tremendous power in the minor leagues but it just never translated to the Majors. 

Ryan Minor #632, 9/13/98 (1998-2000)

Chris Fussell #633, 9/15/98 (1998)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Oriole #929- Jim Thome

Photo from the Examiner website

Well, this was an unexpected move. It's been quite some time since the Orioles have been in any sort of a position to add players midway through the season in an effort to boost the team for a run at the play-offs, but that's exactly what they did on Saturday. They acquired long-time masher and likely future Hall-of-Famer Jim Thome from the Phillies in return for two prospects, hi-A Frederick Keys pitcher Kyle Simon, and low-A Delmarva Shorebirds catcher Gabriel Lino. I'm not a huge fan of giving up prospects for a short-term veteran rental when the team is still trying to build a strong foundation for years of success in the future, but I get that the Orioles are in the position to win now, or at least they were prior to the past two weeks. 

All told, I'm a fan of Thome and have always heard that he does things the right way and is a great clubhouse guy. It's also pretty unlikely that he could hit much worse than the players who have been getting time at 1B/DH, so this move should upgrade the club for the duration of the season. Thome is tied with former Oriole Sammy Sosa for 7th place on the all-time home run list with 609 jacks, so I hope that he can at least break that tie (or blow past it!) during his time in Baltimore as Sammy didn't exactly leave town on a high note.

As you might have guessed since I didn't picture an autograph at the top of this post, I do not have a Thome signature in my collection. I nearly was able to get him to sign my card at a Nationals-Dodgers game in DC a few years back during his tenure with LA but just missed out on him. Who knew that would come back to bite me? Oh well, hopefully Jim will be a good signer and I can get him soon enough. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

How many Vladdy Orioles cards are out there?

I keep coming across these random oddball type issues, and it makes me wonder what else I don't know about.