Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Ryan Finan, 2007 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BC217

It's probably not a good sign for your prospect status when a blogger is looking you up on Baseball Reference a decade after the fact to figure out how far you went in the minors. Ryan Finan was a tall (6'5") corner infielder whom the Orioles drafted out of Lamar University in Texas. He was a 21st-round pick in 2004, and it may comfort him to know that nobody else from that round ever cracked the major leagues. This includes such bright lights as high school shortstop Raymond Honey and Bethune Cookman College pitcher Mumba Rivera. Anyhow, Ryan stuck around in the O's farm system for five years, batting .270/.370/.430 with 46 homers and 259 RBI. Despite those strong on-base skills, he was out of baseball after putting up a .257/.347/.406 line with 11 home runs and 54 RBI with the AA Bowie Baysox in 2008. At 26, he was a bit old for his level, but other players have stuck around the minors far longer with lesser results. Maybe Finan was realistic about his chances of reaching the big leagues, and chose to pursue another line of work rather than continuing to grind away in the Eastern League. He wouldn't be the first.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Leo Gomez, 1991 Studio #3

Leo Gomez Fun Fact No. 62: In the Orioles' clubhouse, the locker next to Leo Gomez was reserved for his eyeglasses.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Rafael Palmeiro, 2004 Topps #620

Did you hear that the Orioles signed Palmeiro yesterday? Patrick Palmeiro, of course. Who did you think I meant? Anyhow, the O's inked Raffy's oldest son to a minor league deal yesterday. Patrick will turn 26 next month, and batted .256/.315/.404 with 13 homers and 68 RBI for the Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League last year. You might remember that the Skeeters signed Rafael Palmeiro at the end of the season so that he could play alongside his son. Now the younger Palmeiro will get another crack at affiliated ball after a three-year stint in the low minors with the White Sox.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Tony Batista, 2002 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia #17

It's been a long, strange winter, from the 70-degree temps of Christmas week to last month's weekend blizzard, and it's still far from over. It looks like a few more inches of snow are en route to Baltimore tonight and tomorrow, though in my house we'll be turning our pajamas inside out and backwards just to seal the deal. There are signs of hope, nonetheless. In just ten days, pitchers and catchers will report to Sarasota to kick off Orioles Spring Training. Sure, we still have to wait until April for games that count, but practice drills and exhibition games are better than no baseball at all.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Vintage Fridays: Andy Etchebarren, 1971 Topps #501

It's great that Topps started incorporating action photos into their base set in 1971, but an action shot is wasted on Andy Etchebarren. Why would you zoom out and obscure the classic masterpiece that is his face? That could be any old schlub taking his hacks in road grays. Luckily they learned from their mistakes and returned to posed close-ups for the rest of Etch's career.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Cal Ripken Jr., 2001 Fleer Cal Ripken Jr. Career Highlights #26

This card is part of a 60-card box set that arrived as part of the mystery package from Zach last month. It's a pretty snazzy deal, as it commemorates Cal Ripken's legendary career with 20 reprints of his Fleer base cards, 10 cards focusing on significant achievements throughout his career, 13 cards marking major milestones in his consecutive games played streak, and 17 cards chronicling his farewell season. The featured card shows the moment in the sixth inning of the 2001 All-Star Game when commissioner Bud Selig stopped the game to present Tony Gwynn and Ripken with career achievement awards. It's nice that they've captured this memorable moment on the card, but it's poor form to cut Gwynn in half. I know we're focusing on Cal here, but Tony Gwynn was a fellow hometown hero and Hall of Famer, not some schmo middle reliever. Speaking of schmoes, I'm quite sure that is then-Yankees first base coach and future failed O's manager Lee Mazzilli standing behind Ripken. Tony Gwynn gets cropped out, and that guy stays in the picture? Come on.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Jeff Conine, 2002 Donruss Fan Club #70

I haven't given a baby update since I spilled the beans here one month ago, so here's the latest. Baby B's gestational age is 18 weeks and five days, putting the little peanut firmly in Jeff Conine territory. "Niner" wore #18 during his first stint with the Orioles (1999-2003), and switched to #19 for his second go-round in Baltimore in 2006. So whether you round up or down, well...you get it. Today we had a lengthy ultrasound appointment, and though the primary objective was to make sure everything was in its right place (bones, organs, all that fun stuff - and yes, baby passed with flying colors), obviously Janet and I were just excited to spend 45 minutes of our afternoon watching our unborn kid squirm, stretch, and even yawn. I don't want to get too syrupy here, but it was just an awe-inspiring experience. I will try to refer back to this blog post in July, when I am feeling desperately overwhelmed and sleep-deprived...and then again in a decade or so, when I need to embarrass the hell out of my child.