Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Jake Arrieta, 2013 Topps #134

Congratulations to Jake Arrieta for tossing his first career no-hitter tonight against the Dodgers. A dozen strikeouts (including the last three batters of the game), one walk, one Starlin Castro error. He threw 116 pitches, including 80 strikes, and improves to an MLB-best 17-6 with a 2.11 ERA. I'm not bitter about this at all. Not even a little. I'm certainly not wondering whether his remarkable successes in Chicago are a damning indictment of the Baltimore organization's player development.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Vintage Fridays: Tommy Davis, 1974 Topps #396

Sometimes baseball is fun, like a miscut 1974 Topps card featuring Tommy Davis swinging from the heels, showing off his sharp sideburns and his high, striped orange-and-black-and-white stirrups for the home crowd on a sunny afternoon in Baltimore. But then again, there are times like August 2015, when most Orioles fans are enjoying baseball about as much as a drab gray 1989 Fleer Terry Kennedy card. But I'm engaging in a bit of therapeutic activity tonight in the aftermath of the Birds' ninth loss in 11 games. Vin Scully has just announced that he will be returning to the Dodgers' broadcast booth for a 67th season in 2016 ("God willing," he says), so I'm watching Los Angeles host the Cubs on MLB Network with one of sport's greatest treasures calling the action. Even when it's awful, baseball can be better than most things.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Mike Trombley, 2000 Fleer Tradition #117

On the heels of last weekend's four-game sweep at the hands of the Twins, I was going to mention that I had suddenly grown to dislike Minnesota's team. But really, that's not a new development. I've long harbored a sense of resentment for the way the Twinkies seemed to roll over and play dead every single time they faced the Yankees in the postseason. Seriously, they lost four Division Series to New York in an eight-year span. How is that even possible? The Orioles also imported their share of free-agent duds from the Twins back in the deep, dark 2000s. There's Mike Trombley, with his seven blown saves and three additional losses in Y2K. How about Marty Cordova, with his tanning bed injury? I'm also willing to include 2003's Rule 5 draft flop, infielder Jose Morban. The Birds kept him on the roster all year, just so he could cough up a .141/.187/.225 batting line (9 OPS+) in 77 plate appearances, never to be heard from again. So thanks for nothing, Twins. It's going to take more than one J. J. Hardy trade heist for us to be even.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Boog Powell, 1994 Upper Deck All-Time Heroes #195

On this date in 1966, the Orioles wrenched victory from the jaws of defeat with some timely pinch hitting. It was a run-of-the-mill Friday game pitting the first-place Orioles against the tenth-place Red Sox, and only 13,657 fans turned out to Memorial Stadium to witness it. They didn't have much to cheer about through eight and a half innings, as Boston pitcher Lee Stange had scattered six singles and a pair of walks while striking out only one batter. John Miller was even better for the O's, yielding just three singles and two walks and striking out seven. But the Sox bunched their runners together and scraped together single runs in the eighth and ninth innings, positioning Miller for a hard-luck loss.

With catcher Larry Haney and reliever Eddie Fisher due up against Stange in the last half of the ninth, manager Hank Bauer called upon his reserves. First he sent another catcher, Vic Roznovsky, up to bat for Haney. The result was a pinch-hit home run, spoiling the shutout. Bauer's next move was a true no-brainer. Curt Blefary had started the game for the Birds at first base, leaving Boog Powell free to bat in the pitcher's spot representing the tying run. Next thing you know, BOOM, the ball was gone, the game was tied, and Stange had been pulled. It was only the third time in major league history that two pinch hitters had slugged back-to-back home runs. The Orioles loaded the bases against reliever Don McMahon with one out, but Russ Snyder was forced at home on a Blefary grounder and Bob Johnson popped out to send it to extra innings.

Finally, in the bottom of the 12th, the O's were victorious against Boston relievers Dan Osinski and Jose Santiago. Paul Blair led off with a single, Roznovsky (who had stayed in to catch) bunted him to second, Boog was intentionally walked, and Luis Aparicio earned a free pass to load the bases. Santiago was summoned from the bullpen and promptly gave up the walkoff single to Snyder. Baltimore won 3-2 and extended their considerable lead over the second-place Tigers to 12.5 games. And so few were there to see it all happen!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Scott Erickson, 1997 Collector's Choice #37

Sometimes I feel that Scott Erickson and Will Ferrell's Anchorman character Ron Burgundy are kindred spirits. Any of the following Burgundy quotes could easily be a caption for the picture on this card:

"Hey, everyone! Come see how good I look!"

"It's a formidable scent...it stings the nostrils. In a good way."

"I'm in a glass case of emotion!"

"You know I don't speak Spanish."

"I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany."

"I'm a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn. That's what kind of man I am."

"I'm storming your castle on my steed, m'lady!"

Let's watch Anchorman instead of the Orioles. Whaddaya say?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Paul Kilgus, 1991 Crown/Coca-Cola All-Time Orioles #499

I had an unexpected Paul Kilgus sighting today, though I suppose any Paul Kilgus sighting would be unexpected. The Bowling Green, Kentucky native is coaching for his hometown team in the Little League World Series. Earlier this afternoon, the kids from Kentucky eked out a 4-3 win over Taylors, South Carolina in an elimination game. Just moments after I tuned into the game, Kilgus had to bail out of the first base coaches' box to evade a screaming line drive from one of his young players. If nothing else, he's still got excellent reflexes.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Melvin Mora, 2003 Upper Deck Vintage #132

The expression on Melvin Mora's face says what I'm thinking tonight: baseball is dumb and we're dumb for liking it. How is it possible to score three runs or less in six straight games against the Twins?