Friday, July 25, 2014

Back to 100%!

I just got back from my mini-vacation, part of which involved taking in a few games of the Orioles AAA affiliate Norfolk Tides, and I can happily report that my collection is now back up to containing 100% of Orioles autographs.

Ramon Ramirez was the only autograph that I really "needed" to get, and he signed for me before the first game that I attended. He didn't come out onto the field until the National Anthem was being sung but I called out to him immediately afterwards, and he was nice enough to come over to sign and personalize my card for me.

So with the addition of this card, I once again have an autograph of all 979 players who have appeared in a game for the Orioles. Thanks for signing Ramon! And thanks for the awesome Old Man Card to be signed, Dad!

I will have more to post about my trip next week, but this was certainly my favorite autograph of the trip!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Gone Fishin'

See you all in a few days. I hope to have some new autographs when I get back!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Far From the Iron Man

My posting these days might, MIGHT, be able to be called sporadic, but I continue to try to show off at least a few new Orioles autographs each week. But I am a far cry from my all-time favorite Oriole, and former perennial All-Star, Cal Ripken Jr. 

I imagine that if Cal happened to be an Orioles autograph blogger, that he would somehow find a way to post once a day, every day, week in and week out, year after year, until his hands cramped up and he could blog no more. But I ain't Cal, so a few times a week is what you get!

My collection doesn't currently include an autograph of Cal personalized to me, but this Sal personalized autograph is somewhat close to a nickname that friends have called me over the years, and has been a part of my collection for probably twenty some years.

So while we can all strive to be more Cal-like in our various endeavors, most of us will never quite reach that apex. And that's just fine.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Earl Robinson & Don Lenhardt

Sadly, today's post brings back the return of Unpossible Autograph Friday. Until today, no former O's had passed away yet in 2014, and as far as I know, Paul Blair was the last former Oriole to pass, back around Christmas 2013.

This past week, two former Orioles players passed away, something that has happened very rarely over the years I've been following the Orioles. Outfielder Earl Robinson died on Friday, July 4, and utility man Don Lenhardt passed away on Wednesday, July 9. I haven't written much about either player on my site so I will try to give them each a decent write-up today.

Earl Robinson played in four MLB seasons between 1958-64; he debuted with the Dodgers in 1958 and played eight games with them, but his remaining 162 big league appearances were all with the Orioles. He hit .268 with 12 HR over 421 Major League at-bats.

While in college at Cal, he starred in baseball and basketball and went on to become a basketball coach after his baseball career ended. He went on to become a college professor and teacher, and was very active in various civic activities in the Oakland area. He was enshrined in both the Cal Hall of Fame and the Pac-10 Hall of Honor for his many achievements over the years.

Earl had been experiencing health problems in recent years, and apparently had a few cardiac events in 2013 that he never fully recovered from. Not knowing this until now, I had actually sent Earl a TTM request earlier this year, but it was returned to sender. I obtained this autograph online about five years ago.

Don Lenhardt played in five MLB seasons from 1950-54 for the St. Louis Browns, White Sox, Red Sox, Tigers, and Orioles. He spent the majority of his career with the Browns/Orioles franchise, as 298 of his 481 MLB games were spent with them. Don hit .271 with 61 homers, and 239 RBI over his time in the bigs. He likely would have had a longer MLB career but had joined the Navy during WWII, thus delaying his time in professional baseball. After his playing career ended, Don served as the Red Sox' Midwest area scout for over 40 years, having retired from that role in 2002.

One interesting story that I read about him is how he earned the nickname "Footsie" from teammates due to his issues finding shoes that fit him properly. However, I don't see a note about whether he had abnormally large or small feet, so that part remains a mystery.

I have shown this card on my site one other time, way back in my first month of blogging in 2009. Don was one of the first people I had sent a TTM request to, and he was kind enough to sign this and send it back to me in just eight days. It looks like Don was still signing for fans as recently as late 2013, so he seems to have really cared about the people who wrote to him.

RIP Earl & Don. The Orioles family will miss you!

*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 9, 2014

The 2014 Orioles Walk-Up Song Project- Update #4

I would like to keep updating this list over the course of the season, but I haven't been attending as many games lately. So I do have a few additional things to add to this list. Since the last update, I've heard songs for  Kevin Gausman, Caleb Joseph, and Manny Machado. It looks like the Orioles website for walk-up songs has only added Nick Hundley's information since my last post, but I was able to add him because of that. 

The O's site is so strange in that it adds info for a guy like Hundley, but not the many other players who are now playing/have played for the O's like Brad Brach, Caleb Joseph, Kevin Gausman, Preston Guilmet, Evan Meek, etc. but they still list songs for Johan Santana, who will probably never pitch for the O's, Matt Wieters, who is out for the year, and Steve Lombardozzi, who might not make it back to Baltimore. Oh well.

Here are the details on my tracking of O's walk-up songs if you need it:
(This walk-up song project is something that I've enjoyed doing this the past three years (201320122011), although I admitted slacked off on it last year. But I am once again going to try to keep track of the songs that the Orioles players use as their walk-up/warm-up music. I really stayed on top of the songs in 2011, and updated the list six times throughout that year. In both 2012 & 2013, I only wrote the one, original post, but the funny thing is that I continued to take notes on the songs used throughout the season, and then just never got around to writing posts about the updates. Since this list is something that changes any time a player is added to the roster, or they want to change things around, the list is fluid, but here is what I have at this point in the season.) 

If anyone has any information to add or update from what's listed below, please let me know!)

Note-some YouTube links might contain explicit lyrics, if you're offended by that sort of thing.

Brad Brach- 
no info on site or from game
Zach Britton- "Seven Nation Army" The White Stripes (O's site incorrect )
Wei-Yin Chen"Meng Xiang Qi Dong" Jay Chou (O's site incorrect)
Steve Clevenger- No song yet
Nelson Cruz- "Para Ti" Juan Luis Guerra (O's site confirmed)
Chris Davis"The Moment We Come Alive" Red, "I Get Wicked" Thousand Foot Krutch 
Julio DePaula-  No info on site or from game
Ryan Flaherty"Bottoms Up" Brantley Gilbert (O's site confirmed)
Kevin Gausman- "Do I Wanna Know" Arctic Monkeys
Miguel Gonzalez- "Return of the Mack" Mark Morrison (O's site confirmed)
Preston Guilmet- No info on site or from game
J.J. Hardy"Flower" Moby (Hasn't changed it once in three years, O's site confirmed)
Nick Hundley- "Shine" Collective Soul (per O's site)
Tommy Hunter- "Welcome Home" Coheed and Cambria (O's site confirmed)
Ubaldo Jimenez- "Rie Y Llora" Celia Cruz (O's site confirmed
Adam Jones- "Lose My Mind" Young Jeezy ft. Plies; "Ballin Out" French Montana ft. Diddy & Jeremih; "Club On Smash" Future; "California Love" 2Pac
 (O's site partially correct)
Caleb Joseph- "Duck Blind" Dallas Davidson
Steve Lombardozzi- "Barefoot Blue Jean Night"  Jake Owen (per O's site)
David Lough- "Breathe" Fabolous (O's site incorrect)
Manny Machado- "Vivir Mi Vida" Marc Antony
Nick Markakis"Deliverance" Bubba Sparxx (Probably his fourth or fifth year with this one, O's site confirmed)
Brian Matusz- "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" Jimi Hendrix (O's site confirms)

Steve McFarland- no info on site or from game
Evan Meek- Possibly either "Master of Puppets" Metallica or "All Summer Long" Kid Rock
Bud Norris- "Who Gon Stop Me" Jay-Z ft. Kanye West (O's site confirmed)
Darren O'Day"Thickfreakness" The Black Keys (Also third year using this song, O's site confirmed
Troy Patton-"Glitter" Ghostland Observatory
Steve Pearce- "We Own It" 2 Chainz & Wiz Khalifa
Ramon Ramirez-  No info on site or from game
Jonathan Schoop- "Go Get It" T.I. (O's site confirmed)
Josh Stinson- "Hell On Wheels" Brantley Gilbert (O's site confirmed)
Chris Tillman"Kick It In the Sticks" Brantley Gilbert (Fourth year using it, O's site confirmed)
Ryan Webb- "Hysteria" Muse (O's site confirmed)

Jemile Weeks- No info on site or from game
Matt Wieters"Raised On It" Sam Hunt (O's site confirmed)
Delmon Young- "We Dem Boyz" Chinx & French Montana & "Zip & A Double Cup" Juicy J, 2 Chainz, & The Joker (O's site partially correct)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Who, who, Julio? (DePaula)

Wow, did the Orioles ever pull one over on me yesterday. For the first time in the past six or seven years, the team called up a player whose name I didn't recognize and had no knowledge that he was even in their farm system. Among my friends I'm the go-to Orioles guy, and when a buddy called to ask me about Julio DePaula, I had nothing. It was a unique surprise to be caught so off-guard by a player on my team.

Well, for starters, here's a fairly recent picture of Julio that I found online, and it somewhat encapsulates why I hadn't heard of him or known he was in the O's system. The Orioles just signed Julio on June 26th, and he had been a member of the Atlantic League's York Revolution. Former O's pitcher Mark Hendrickson is also a member of that team and recommended DePaula to the Orioles recently. Apparently they liked what they saw, but I simply missed the note about the minor league transaction. And I certainly had no reason to think that Julio would have his contract selected just 11 days later.

DePaula does have a little MLB experience as he appeared in 16 games for the Twins in 2007, and the results weren't great. He had an 8.55 ERA and an 0-1 record over his time in Minnesota. From the 2010 season until signing with the Orioles he had pitched exclusively outside of the US professional leagues, bouncing from Korea to the American Association to the Mexican League and eventually the Atlantic League.

Julio's addition to the Orioles was more a matter of circumstance than his being the best player they could bring up. They needed a bullpen arm, and the AA Bowie Baysox, with whom he had been pitching, were playing in Harrisburg, PA, which is definitely closer to DC than Norfolk. So Julio got the call. He had appeared in just three games for the Baysox so far, with 6.1 IP, 3 hits, 3 BB, and 8 K, along with a save. So he's been good, but it's still a surprising move.

Julio didn't appear in last night's game, and in all likelihood will be sent back to Bowie today to make room for Bud Norris, but man is it hard to keep up with these things. And since he was added to the O's 40 man roster, I wouldn't be surprised to see him back at some point in the near future. So I better work on getting his autograph in the meantime!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Oriole #75- Angie Dagres

Almost exactly five years ago, I very briefly wrote about Angie Dagres. Not that there is a ton to say about him from a baseball perspective, as he appeared in just eight games for the Orioles during the 1955 season. But since he was nice enough to sign and personalize my recent TTM request, I figured I would dig a little deeper about his time in baseball.

Angie was one of the bonus babies the Orioles signed in 1955, and while I still don't exactly understand the process completely, more or less you could sign a handful of amateur players for a large signing fee with the stipulation that they had to immediately join the MLB club. It was clearly not a good idea and I think the process was only used in a single season before being changed. Essentially, he was signed right out of college and was on the field the same day he signed. Can you imagine if that's how the MLB draft was done these days?!?

So Angie signed with the Orioles and made his debut for the team on September 11, 1955 to become the 75th player to appear in a game for the Orioles. Over the following two weeks, he went on to appear in a total of eight games for the O's, and had four hits over fifteen at-bats. Apparently, Angie had some attitude problems, from what I read "uncoachable" seems like a good way to describe him, which led to his demotion to the minors in 1956. That only further soured his attitude and he apparently also began to drink too much, a combination of which kept him from ever returning to the Majors. After seven seasons in the minors, Angie was out of baseball by 1962.

The Baltimore Sun caught up with him in 2010 for a more in-depth article about him if you want to learn any more about him.

Thanks for signing Angie, and at least you had a cup of coffee for the O's!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Oriole #979- Ramon Ramirez

Well, I was caught off-guard by another Orioles debut last night as right-handed relief pitcher Ramon Ramirez had his contract selected from AAA Norfolk and later appeared in the game for the Orioles, officially becoming the 979th player in the franchise's history. He pitched the ninth inning as the Birds had a comfortable 7-1 lead over the Rangers and walked one batter while striking out two to finish off the win.

Ramon signed a minor league deal with the Orioles on May 31st after being released from the Mariners' AAA affiliate. He pitched in five games for the Tides, and had a 1-0 record with a 14/0 K/BB ratio over 8 IP. I knew he was pitching well, but I figured that he was mostly a AAA depth kind of player since he wasn't on the 40 man roster. But I was mistaken, and now I need to track down an autograph of his for my collection. My dad is working on an Orioles OMC, but in the meantime, I checked out the availability of other autographs of his for sale online, and unfortunately, many of his cards picture him as a member of the Yankees or Red Sox. He does have a handful of cards that picture him as a member of the Rockies, and at one with the Mets, so hopefully I can find a signed copy of one of them so I don't have to sully my collection with a Yanks or Sawx card. 

Ramon is long-time MLB veteran and the Orioles are the sixth team he has played for in the Bigs. He made his debut for the Rockies in 2006 and has also since pitched for the Royals, Red Sox, Giants and Mets, and has pitched in a total of 424 MLB games with a 23-21 record and a 3.42 ERA. 

Good luck with the Orioles, Ramon!