Wednesday, October 31, 2012

1988 Orioles Debuts, #440-461

I'm in a grove with these posts now...

1988 was specifically notable for Brady Anderson's debut and also provided the first glimpse of the Orioles' future shutdown closer, Gregg Olson. Curt Schilling also made his Baltimore and MLB debut, but he is obviously much better known as being a member of other franchises.

Here's my older posts in the series...
(20012000199919981996199519941993199219911990, 1989)

Rick Schu #440, 4/4/88 (1988-89)

Rick played nine seasons in the Majors between 1984-96, most notably spending four seasons with the Phillies at the beginning of his career. The Phils traded him to the O's in March 1988 and he spent the entire season in Baltimore and played in 89 games, mostly at third base. He appeared in just a single game for the Birds in 1989 before being sent to the minors. 

After his playing career ended, Rick stayed involved with the game of baseball. He served as the Diamondbacks' hitting coach from mid-2007 through mid-2009, under the reign of another former Oriole, Bob Melvin. Since late 2009, he has served as the Nationals' minor league hitting instructor. 

Jeff Stone #441, 4/4/88 (1988)

Jeff also arrived in Baltimore in the same trade that brought Schu to town, and also spent a majority of his career with the Phillies. He appeared in just 26 games for the Orioles during the '88 season. 

He received a vote for Rookie of the Year following his 1984 rookie campaign and was best known for his speed. He set the minor league single season steals record with 123 steals in 1981 but Vince Coleman would shatter the record the following season with 145 thefts.

Joe Orsulak #442, 4/4/88 (1988-92)

Oswaldo Peraza #443, 4/4/88 MLB Debut (1988)

Oswaldo played in the Majors for just a single season, and went 5-7 with a 5.55 ERA over 19 games for the '88 O's. He was a highly touted prospect who arrived in Baltimore in a trade with a Blue Jays in August 1987 that saw Mike Flanagan travel north to Toronto in return for Oswaldo and a player to be named later (PTBNL). Arm injuries derailed Oswaldo's once promising career, and he would never again return to the Major Leagues. Interestingly, the PTBNL in the trade was future long-time Major Leaguer, Jose Mesa. 

Doug Sisk #444, 4/4/88 (1988)

Doug pitched nine seasons in the majors, most notably spending his first six seasons with the Mets, and was a part of their 1986 World Series Championship team. He was solely a relief pitcher and was known for his sinker, which allowed him to give up just 15 homers in 332 career games. However, his walk rate was 4.6 per 9 innings, so he had some control problems. 

He spent just a single season in Baltimore and was 3-3 with a 3.72 ERA over 52 games and finished 29 of them, but didn't record a single save. I guess he might have been the mop up guy?

Mike Morgan #445, 4/6/88 (1988)

Mark Thurmond #446, 4/8/88 (1988-89)

Jose Bautista(1) #447, 4/9/88 MLB Debut (1988-91)

Wade Rowdon #448, 4/10/88 (1988)

Craig Worthington #449, 4/26/88 MLB Debut (1988-91)

Bill Scherrer #450, 4/26/88 (1988)

Keith Hughes #451, 4/27/88 (1988)

Jay Tibbs #452, 5/2/88 (1988-90)

Mickey Tettleton #453, 5/9/88 (1988-90)

Dickie Noles #454, 6/14/88 (1988)

Brady Anderson #455, 7/30/88 (1988-2001)

Gordon Dillard #456, 8/12/88 MLB Debut (1988)

Gregg Olson #457, 9/2/88 (1988-93)

Butch Davis #458, 9/2/88 (1988-89)

Curt Schilling #459, 9/7/88 MLB Debut (1988-90)

Pete Harnisch #460, 9/13/88 MLB Debut (1988-90)

Bob Milacki #461, 9/18/88 MLB Debut (1988-92)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Dave May, Oriole #241

The Orioles' family lost another member when Dave May lost his long battle against diabetes and cancer last Saturday, October 20th; he was 68 years old. 

Dave played twelve seasons in the Major Leagues between 1967-78, and spent a majority of that time as a member of the Orioles and Milwaukee Brewers. He broke into the bigs with the Orioles in 1967 and became the 241st player to wear the O's uniform when he made his debut on July 28, 1967. He went on to play parts of the next four seasons for the O's before he was traded to the Brewers halfway through the 1970 season. Overall for the Birds, he played 223 games, mainly in right field, and hit just .216.

He had his best season in 1973 as a member of the Brewers and was selected to the American League All-Star team. He also lead the his league in total bases that year. 

May later became known as the player who was traded for Hank Aaron when the Brewers and Braves accommodated the aging home run champion's request to finish his career in Milwaukee, where it had began. From what I understand, Dave struggled during his time in Atlanta to try to live up to the hype as the player who was traded for an all-time great. 

After his retirement from baseball, he was elected to his native Delaware's Hall of Fame. Interestingly, he earned the nickname "Turnpike" during his time with the Orioles because he would commute from Delaware to Baltimore. His son, Derrick May, also played in the Major Leagues and was briefly a member of the Orioles during the 1999 season.

Rest in Peace, Dave. 

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, October 25, 2012

1989 Orioles Debuts, #462-480, Why Not?

I'm going to keep rolling with these debut posts for awhile, so get used to it!

Here's my older posts in the series...
(200120001999, 1998199619951994199319921991, 1990)

1989 was a good year for both the Orioles and the players that debuted in the orange and black. Three long-time Orioles, Chris Hoiles, Mike Devereaux, & Ben McDonald, took the field in Baltimore for the first time and there were a number of other players who stuck in Baltimore for three or four years. 

Phil Bradley #462, 4/3/89 (1989-90)

Steve Finley #463, 4/3/89 MLB Debut (1989-90)

Kevin Hickey #464, 4/3/89 (1989-91)

Brian Holton #465, 4/3/89 (1989-90)

Randy Milligan #466, 4/3/89 (1989-92)

Francisco Melendez #467, 4/6/89 (1989)

Bob Melvin #468, 4/7/89 (1989-91)

Bob was a big league catcher for ten seasons from 1985-94, spending three of those seasons in Baltimore and was best known for his solid defense behind the plate. After his playing career ended, he stayed active in baseball first as a coach, then as a manager, for the Mariners, Diamondbacks and currently is the skipper of the A's. He won the 2007 N.L. Manager of the Year award during his tenure in Arizona. 

Mike Devereaux #469, 4/7/89 (1989-96)

Chris Hoiles #470, 4/25/89 MLB Debut (1989-98)

Mark Huismann #471, 5/23/89 (1989)

Mickey Weston #472, 6/18/89 MLB Debut (1989-90)

Mickey spent the first two of his five MLB seasons with the Orioles before moving on to play for the Blue Jays, Phillies, and Mets. As you can probably tell by his signature, Mickey is a religious guy and currently works with UPI (Unlimited Potential Inc.) "Serving Christ Through Baseball". He is also the team chaplain for the Chicago White Sox. 

Mike Smith #473, 6/30/89 MLB Debut (1989-90)

Keith Moreland #474, 7/30/89 (1989)

Dave Johnson #475, 8/1/89 (1989-91)

Stan Jefferson #476, 8/9/89 (1989-90)

Stan has quite the interesting story, both in baseball and out of it. He was a first round pick by the Mets in 1983, but never was able to consistently perform at the MLB level and played for six different teams during his six years in the bigs. He spent parts of two seasons in Baltimore, appearing in 45 games, and hit .226 with four homers. His time in Baltimore was commemorated by his appearance on a single Orioles card in the Crown set, and I hope to track down a signed copy of that one day, so this might not be the last you see of Stan around here.

After his playing career ended, he became a police officer in New York City and was on duty for the September 11th terrorist attacks in 2001. He suffered physical and psychological effects following that horrendous event and retired from the force in 2004. The New York Daily News  wrote an in-depth story about him in 2007 and it seems as though he still had his struggles at that time. I hope that everything works out for Stan; I'm very thankful for his service for our country following that terrible time. 

Jamie Quirk #477, 4/3/89 (1989-90)

Tim Hulett #478, 8/23/89 (1989-94)

Ben McDonald #479, 9/6/89 MLB Debut (1989-95)

Juan Bell #480, 9/6/89 MLB Debut (1989-91)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

1990 Orioles Debuts, #481-496

So, I decided to venture back to my yearly debut method of posting. It should take me through the off-season fairly well, and if nothing else, presents a fairly straightforward way for me to share my unposted autographs. As a refresher, here are the old posts in this series (200120001999, 199819961995199419931992, 1991).

There weren't any major debuts during the 1990 season, with the two notable new Orioles being David Segui, and Leo Gomez, as well as possibly Sam Horn also being worthy of a shout-out.

From looking at this list, I have to feel that 1990 had to have one of the highest percentage of debuts of players who lasted just a one season or less in Baltimore with 11/16 (69%) of these guys playing appearing in just the single season for the O's.

Sam Horn #481, 4/9/90 (1990-92)

He was a powerful hitter, but was very much in the all or nothing vein, and had issues with strikeouts throughout his eight seasons in the Majors. Mike Flanagan is credited with coining the term "horn" in reference to striking out six times in a game, something only Sam has ever done in the Majors. Here's Flanny's quote: "Well, three strikeouts is a hat trick. Four is a sombrero. Five is a golden sombrero and, from now on, six will be known as 'A Horn.'"

Sam hit 23 homers for the O's during the 1991 season, the only time he eclipsed 20 in a single season in the big leagues. 

Joe Price #482, 4/9/90 (1990)

Jay Aldrich #483, 4/9/90 (1990)

John Mitchell #484, 4/13/90 (1990)

John's professional baseball career was nearly over before it got off the ground as a deep sea fishing expedition went horribly wrong following his rookie season in the minors in 1983. The boat he was on capsized and he survived over 20 hours in the open water by clinging to a bucket. The boat's owner and a fellow player, Anthony Latham, died, while John and another prospect survived the ordeal. John honored Anthony's memory by giving his son the middle name Latham to honor his fallen friend.

Although he appeared in games over four seasons with the Mets before being traded to Baltimore, nearly half of his career appearances came with the Orioles. He only spent the majority of two seasons ('87 with the Mets, and '90 with the O's) in the Majors, so 24 of his 51 appearances were for the O's during his single season in Baltimore.

Marty Brown #485, 4/13/90 (1990)

Brad Komminsk #486, 5/4/90 (1990)

David Segui #487, 5/8/90 MLB Debut (1990-93, 2001-04)

David bookended his 15 season MLB career with four seasons spent in Baltimore at the beginning and end of his time in the Majors. These days, he is mostly remembered for his admitted steroid and HGH abuse.

Greg Walker #488, 6/4/90 (1990)

Donell Nixon #489, 6/20/90 (1990)

Ron Kittle #490, 7/30/90 (1990)

Dave Gallagher #491, 8/2/90 (1990)

Dave played for seven different franchises over his nine years in the Major Leagues. He hit .216 over 23 games for the Orioles in the final months of the 1990 season; the O's had selected him off of waivers from the White Sox and traded him to the Angels after the season ended.

Jeff McKnight #492, 8/8/90 (1990-91)

Anthony Telford #493, 8/19/90 MLB Debut (1990-91, 93)

Anthony began his nine season MLB career with the O's, and appeared in 20 games for the Birds during the parts of three seasons that he spent in Baltimore. He left town with a 3-3 record and a 5.12 ERA, and was out of the Majors for three full seasons before reemerging with the Montreal Expos in 1997.

Dorn Taylor #494, 9/10/90 (1990)

Dan Boone #495, 9/16/90 (1990)

Leo Gomez #496, 9/17/90 MLB Debut (1990-95)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Orioles' Managers

My Orioles' managers & coaches autograph collection frequently takes a back seat to my Orioles' players autograph collection, and for good reason, as I put a lot more time and effort into the players collection. But I recently added a few new autographs of some past Orioles Managers and I now have a signature from all of them, so I figured I would do a quick rundown post to mention each of the 19 men who have skippered the O's since 1954. Here we go...

Jimmie Dykes (1954)

Paul Richards (1955-61)

Lum Harris (1961)

Billy Hitchcock (1962-63)

Hank Bauer (1964-68)

Earl Weaver (1968-82, 85-86)

Joe Altobelli (1983-85)

Cal Ripken Sr. (1987-88)

Frank Robinson (1988-91)

Johnny Oates (1991-94)

Phil Regan (1995)

Davey Johnson (1996-97)

Ray Miller (1998-99)

Mike Hargrove (2000-03)

Lee Mazzilli (2004-05)

Sam Perlozzo (2005-07)

 Dave Trembley (2007-10)
 Juan Samuel (2010)

Buck Showalter (2010-current)

Friday, October 19, 2012

The Final Countdown- Erv Palica, Oriole #50

I was able to knock another tough name off of my list recently, as I finally tracked down a signed copy of Erv Palica's 1956 Topps card, the only Orioles card of his that was issued during his lifetime. It's always specifically challenging to add old signed cards like this to a collection because one has to compete with set collectors as well as fellow Orioles collectors, and everyone is up against the test of time. It's not like any new copies of a 56 year old card are just going to turn up, well not authentically signed ones at least.

Erv pitched nine seasons in the Majors 1947-56, but missed almost two full seasons in 1952-53 due to his service in the military during the Korean War. He spent his first seven big league seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers before being traded to the Orioles in exchange for Frank Kellert prior to the start of the '55 season.

He became the 50th player to appear in a game for the Orioles when he appeared in the team's third game of it's sophomore season in Baltimore on April 16, 1955. He went on to pitch 62 games, including 39 starts, for the O's during his two seasons in Baltimore, and had a 9-22 record with a 4.28 ERA.

Erv continued to pitch in the minor leagues for the following seven seasons, and spent time in the Orioles, Reds, Red Sox, and Angels' farm systems, but was never able to make it back to the Bigs.

In 1982, he was working as a longshoreman in California when he died of a heart attack at just 54 years of age. (On a personal side note- he died just over three months before I was born, and it's things like this that remind me how wacky my collection can be at times.) RIP Erv.

The '56 Topps card replaces this nice signed black and white postcard in my collection. The signature is slightly faded but still very legible.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Taking Care of J.C.

When I wrote about J.C.'s Orioles debut back in mid-August, I had hoped to get him to sign his 2012 Norfolk Tides card in person at an Orioles game, but that never happened. His tenure with the Orioles lasted just about two weeks, from August 13th-27th (the O's were out of town for about half of that time), and was cut short due to his relatively ineffective work out of the Orioles bullpen as their situational lefty, or LOOGY if you prefer. He appeared in five games, totaling four innings and pitched to the tune of a 6.75 ERA. He gave up seven hits including one home-run, walked one and struck out one.

Since I wasn't able to get J.C.'s signature during his time in town and he didn't latch on with another team at the end of the season, I was resigned to buy his autograph online. He has a number of certified autographs, which really helps out a collector like me, but none of them are particularly attractive, and pretty much all of them are plastered with a sticker signature. This Upper Deck ProSigs Diamond Collection certified autograph was one of the better looking of the bunch, mainly because the grey sticker kind of blends in with the grey background, although my scanner makes the sticker stand out much more than it does in person. Anyway, his name is now knocked off my need list and I'm back down to needing a single autograph for my collection to, once again, sit at 100% complete. Anyone have an extra Dick Luebke autograph sitting around?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Thank you to the 2012 Orioles!

Wow, what a ride this season was; it was truly the most amazing baseball experience of my adult life! Of course I wish that it had ended with a World Series Championship, but, especially considering the expectations entering the year, the results have to be considered a massive success. Outside of the Orioles organization, everyone around the game of baseball was predicting another last place finish for the perennially disappointing Birds of Baltimore. But the Orioles would finish the regular season with a 93-69 record, precisely flipped from their 69-93 mark in 2011. Buck Showalter continued to show his ability to turn around a franchise, as he pretty much has done everywhere else he has managed in his career, and General Manager Dan Duquette proved that he still has "it" after being out of professional baseball for a decade.

I haven't been posting much throughout the O's playoff run, initially because I was completely immersed in each and every inning of every single game, day-in and day-out, but then I almost made it into some superstitial nonsense. I'm not typically a superstitious type of person but I developed a few odd habits over the past month, including growing a rather unruly beard and wearing the same shirt and hat combo for every game that I watched and attended. I probably also drank enough beer and ate enough ballpark food to last me through Christmas, so I suppose that the playoff run being over isn't all bad.

I don't entirely expect the 2013 Orioles to duplicate this team's success, in part due to the 2012 Orioles' all-time record breaking .763 winning percentage (29-9 record) in one run games, an insane 76-0 record when leading after the 7th inning, and the resulting lack of a walk-off victory by an opposing team all season. Those are some silly stats that just won't be equaled. However, with the addition of a major free agent arm or bat, the team could be in the neighborhood of this year's record.

Even though the team wasn't able to bring home the World Series title, they sure did remind a number of Baltimoreans and Marylanders about how much fun it can be to watch a game at Camden Yards. I particularly relished how the Orioles' fans vastly outnumbered the Yankees fans at a few of their Baltimore match-ups towards the end of the season. (And it's not like it's hard to get tickets at Yankee Stadium these days, they didn't even sellout the first two games of the freakin' ALCS!) I hope that many of the fans that returned to Camden Yards this season will come back next year too, as the team really seemed to enjoy the support. 

An encouraging fact about the 2013 Orioles is that very few of the key 2012 players are set to become free agents. As far as I know, Mark Reynolds, Randy Wolf, and Luis Ayala all have contract options, and Joe Saunders, Nate McLouth, Endy Chavez, Jim Thome, Nick Johnson, Bill Hall, Lew Ford, Omar Quintanilla, Steve Pearce are all set to become free agents. In my opinion, the team will pick up Ayala's option, try to renegotiate something with Reynolds, and attempt to bring back Saunders, McLouth, and possibly Thome. So ultimately, the core of the team will remain the same into 2013 & beyond.

I obtained the autographs in this post over the last few weeks of the season, and especially Gonzalez and Saunders are excellent representatives of the Orioles' improbable 2012 playoff run. I was able to get a few more of my dad's card creations signed, and they are perfect for filling some non-Orioles holes in my collection. Thanks again for all of your work on the cards this year, dad!

Congrats again to the team, the fans, and the city of Baltimore on an amazing 2012 campaign. Let's Go O's!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rolling Along in the ALDS

The Orioles' magical 2012 run continues tonight in New York and I realize that I have been relatively quiet throughout the past week or so. Part of it has to do with my attendance at the Orioles first two postseason games in 15(!) years, and part of it has to do with the fact that I just don't know what to say. I might be able to better reflect after the season ends (in November hopefully) but for now, I'm just sitting back and taking it all in. As a long-suffering Orioles fan, it's an amazing feeling to be following my team into the middle of October, and, fingers-crossed, beyond! Let's Go O's! I promise to write some semi-coherent Orioles autograph posts in the near future, whether it be next week or three weeks from now.

Friday, October 5, 2012


For the first time in my adult life, the Orioles are in the playoffs. I'm not able to put together many coherent thoughts today, so here's to hoping the O's can take out the Rangers in Texas tonight. I bleed orange and black, and this is the most important sporting event for me since the late 1990s! Win this game O's!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Orioles Are In the Playoffs!!!

Is this a dream? If so, please don't wake me up.

I don't have the words to express how I feel today, so these images will have to do.