Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Brooks Robinson, 2004 Maryland Lottery #44

Brooks Robinson's career high in home runs was 28, coming in his MVP season in 1964. Eddie Murray, who racked up 504 homers in his Hall of Fame career, never hit more than 33 in a single season. Cal Ripken peaked at 34 four-baggers, a number he reached in 1991 en route to his second MVP award. Tonight I braved the cold damp weather and bitter October winds to see Manny Machado (who, I feel the need to remind you, is only 23 years old) hit his 35th home run of the year - his fifth in the last four games - as the O's wrapped up a doubleheader sweep of the Yankees with a 4-3 win in the nightcap. A win in tomorrow's season finale would allow the Birds to end 2015 with a five-game win streak and a break-even record of 81-81. A victory tomorrow afternoon would also possibly deny the Yanks home-field advantage in their wild-card playoff game on Tuesday; they are one game ahead of the Astros, and Houston holds the tiebreaker. If you can't go to the postseason yourself, you might as well play spoiler.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Vintage Fridays: Paul Blair, 1967 Topps #319

In 1969, Paul Blair became the first Oriole to join the 20-20 club - 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Yesterday, Manny Machado hit a pair of home runs and stole two bases in the Birds' 6-4 win over Toronto, giving him 33 homers and 20 steals (both career highs by leaps and bounds). Manny joins Brady Anderson as the only players in team history to go 30-20. Next year's team might look drastically different, but as long as #13 is around, the O's have a good foundation.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Kevin Gausman, 2013 Panini Hometown Heroes #226

I saw a fantastically entertaining game last night at Camden Yards. It breezed by in two hours and 23 minutes, thanks in large part to Kevin Gausman's dominant performance. He struck out 10 Toronto hitters in eight innings, allowing a solo home run to Darwin Barney (out of pity, I suspect) and no more. For the first six innings, the Baltimore hitters made their own contribution to the brisk pace by scraping together a scant two hits against Blue Jays starter R. A. Dickey and reliever Ryan Tepera. But in the home seventh, the Birds broke loose. Manny Machado led off with his 31st home run of the season, and Chris Davis made it back-to-back blasts with his 44th of the year and his career 200th. A J. J. Hardy RBI single and a two-run double by Nolan Reimold capped the five-run inning. The milestones kept coming in the bottom of the eighth. Davis went deep again - his 159th as an Oriole, moving him past Melvin Mora for tenth-most in team history. Two batters later, Matt Wieters crushed a two-run homer, the 100th of his career. Altogether, it added up to an 8-1 trouncing of the front-running Jays.

There was another game earlier yesterday, but I don't remember what happened in that one.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Terry Crowley, 1983 Topps #372

The way the Orioles have been hitting (or not hitting) lately, there are probably a few frazzled fans out there who are pining for the days of hitting coach Terry Crowley. I'm not quite that desperate, just for the record. But I did witness Ryan Flaherty snapping the O's 29-inning scoreless streak with a second-inning three-run homer off of Toronto's Marco Estrada last night...followed by the team failing to score again and dropping a 4-3 decision to the Jays. Now torrential rains have bumped tonight's game to the front half of a single-admission doubleheader tomorrow. Maybe the Birds have saved all of their hits for just such an occasion. And maybe I'll find a few hundred thousand dollars between the couch cushions.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Rafael Palmeiro, 2004 Fleer Hot Prospects Draft Edition #15

Here's a story that broke while I was out of town the weekend before last: Rafael Palmeiro's return to pro baseball.

A full ten years (plus a couple of weeks) after playing his last MLB game with the Orioles, the most overlooked member of the 3,000-hit club signed a contract with the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League. How a team from Texas fits into the Atlantic League is a question for another day. I'm more interested in the fact that Palmeiro was back on the field at age 50 to play alongside his son Patrick, aged 25. The younger Palmeiro was drafted by the White Sox in 2012, but batted only .227/.277/.365 in three seasons in the low minors. He's spent all of 2015 with the Skeeters, putting up a line of .256/.315/.404 in 128 games, with 13 home runs and 68 RBI.

As it turned out, Raffy played a single game for Sugar Land, batting third and pulling DH duties. He went 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. Patrick batted ahead of his father in the two-hole and started at third base. Patrick turned in a 2-for-5 effort with a walk, a double, a homer, and four RBI. I'm sure the lineup protection afforded by one of the best lefthanded hitters in the history of baseball - one who just happens to be his father - made it all possible.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Willy Miranda, 1991 Crown/Coca-Cola All-Time Orioles #307

The Orioles did not score a single lousy run all weekend in Fenway Park. The last time that Baltimore's baseball team was shut out in three straight games, it took a Willy Miranda RBI single to break the skid. That was back on August 2, 1957, in the second inning of the opener of a doubleheader against the Athletics.

I'm still looking forward to seeing the O's open their final homestand of the season tomorrow night, despite this latest embarrassing stumble. After all, I've only got tickets for three more games this year, and there will be something missing in my life for the rest of the fall and winter.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Rich Hill, 2009 Topps Heritage #666

If you were clinging to any pipe dreams about a last-minute Orioles surge into the playoffs, being shut out at the hands of Rich Hill on two hits and ten strikeouts ought to kill that good. Yes, the same Rich Hill who hadn't even made a big league start since bombing out with the O's in 2009. So of course he's slipped into the Boston rotation this September and allowed three runs, ten hits, and two walks while striking out 30 in 23 innings. Man, baseball drives me bonkers.