Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Friday, April 18, 2014

Vintage Fridays: Chico Salmon, 1971 Topps #249

I haven't posted a card this...well-loved in a while. The dinged corners, the heavy creasing, and there's even some paper loss on the back. But it's all good. I'm always happy to have a grizzled veteran in the mix, as long as the picture is intact. There will always be time for upgrades.

You don't see a lot of dugout photography on older cards. It opens up another part of the players' world to the collector. Of course, Chico Salmon seems slightly put out by the photographer's presence. "Look," he could be saying, "Is this going to take much longer? The rest of the guys are on the field already, and I've got the ball. They can't start without me, and Frank Robinson is not a patient man."

Meanwhile, I wish we could identify the anonymous recumbent player in the dugout. He doesn't have a care in the world.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Boog Powell, 1993 Ted Williams #84

The Orioles are taking the day off, and so am I. Let's look at a beautiful card from my adolescence, when getting Boog Powell and other retired stars in contemporary packs of cards was still a big deal. Here is not one, but two full-color action photos of the Booger, showing off his massive forearms and his impeccable fashion sense. A single black batting glove? Socks pulled up to mid-calf? I think Powell pulls it off.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pete Harnisch, 1989 Score Rookies and Traded #110T

Today the Orioles all wore #42 to honor Jackie Robinson, who broke baseball's color line in 1947. It seemed to suit them, as Miguel Gonzalez teamed with Zach Britton and Tommy Hunter to shut out the Rays on six hits. The 3-0 final brings the O's back to .500 with a 7-7 record as they head to Boston.

I also posted a Pete Harnisch card on my 1993 Topps blog today. I'll keep plugging it whenever I get the chance because more people read this blog than that one right now.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Nick Markakis, 2012 Topps Opening Day #33

Well, the wildly schizophrenic Mid-Atlantic weather has swung to another extreme, with a full day of heavy rain slashing the 80-degree temperatures of the weekend by half and postponing tonight's Orioles-Rays game. So instead of driving downtown to watch Miguel Gonzalez square off with Jake Odorizzi, I'm holed up in the house with my pets, cold beer, and WWE Network live streaming on the Xbox. I'm sure Nick Markakis and the rest of the O's are enjoying the extra rest, especially since Adam Jones and Evan Meek are now afflicted with the flu bug that laid low Brian Matusz and hitting coach Jim Presley for the past few days. Get healthy, guys.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Eddie Murray, 2001 Upper Deck Decades: 1970s #163

Yesterday I completed my second vintage Topps set. It's been almost two years since I reached 100% on the 1965 Topps set, and now I've finally finished off the 1975 base set as well. The elusive 660th card was a doozy, card number 228. That would be the rookie card of Hall of Famer George Brett, which explains why I didn't hesitate to drop $15 on the rough-around-the-edges specimen I discovered in one of my local hobby shops. I'm pleased to wrap up Topps' most colorful, funky set without any real headaches. As you can see from the 2001 Eddie Murray card I posted above, '75 Topps inspired plenty of imitators, but it was never successfully duplicated. Now I'll move on to pursue a number of the half-full, commons-heavy 1970s binders in my spare room. I also grabbed some 1971-1973 high number cards from this store's dollar box, sparing myself a dozen or two wild goose chases in the future. The comforting thing about catching up on vintage cards is that there is a finite goal to build toward. No unscrupulous manufacturer is going to come along and extend the finish line.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

David Lough, 2014 Topps Heritage #278

When Janet and I entered the ballpark for last night's game, a matchup of Orioles' fifth starter Bud Norris and Blue Jays' second-year pitcher Drew Hutchison, I certainly didn't expect a pitching duel. But Bud and Drew were both up to the task, trading zeroes for six innings. When Jonathan Schoop drove a double into the gap off of Toronto reliever Neil Wagner in the seventh, with David Lough racing around to score from first base, it looked like Norris might squeak out the win. Looks can be deceiving, though. New O's closer Tommy Hunter got two quick outs in the ninth and quickly ran the count to 0-2 against Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus. When he threw a third straight curveball, Rasmus tried - and seemingly failed - to check his swing. But fill-in third base umpire Jeff Gosney, working his first-ever MLB game, denied catcher Steve Clevenger's appeal. Rasmus powered Hunter's next pitch over the right-center field fence for a deflating, game-tying home run.

When the Birds allowed both Steve Lombardozzi and Lough to bat in the bottom of the ninth, leaving the more powerful Steve Pearce, Matt Wieters, and Delmon Young on the bench, I sarcastically tweeted my approval of the move. Shows what I know, right? Both men were retired in the ninth, but the game pushed on into the 10th, 11th, and 12th innings with the score still knotted 1-1. In the bottom of the 12th, the Orioles finally figured out Blue Jays reliever Todd Redmond in his fourth inning of work. J. J. Hardy smoked a ball into deep right field, but Jose Bautista made a great leaping catch to rob the O's shortstop of extra bases. But neither Bautista nor Colby Rasmus could track down Steve Lombardozzi's drive to center field, and the second baseman motored all the way into third base with a triple. That set the stage for Lough, who'd been struggling with concussion symptoms and entered the game batting .105, to play the hero by belting a line drive over third base for the walkoff hit. Now I've been to two games at Camden Yards in 2014, and they're the only two games the Birds have won at home in the young season. Both were 2-1 finals, with Zach Britton picking up the win in relief each time. I'm hoping that's a coincidence and not a trend...I don't think my heart can take many more razor-thin games like that.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Brooks Robinson, 2003 Topps Tribute Perennial All-Stars #50

In a few moments I'm heading out for a lovely evening of baseball with my wife. Pregame dinner at C & R Pub in Federal Hill, where my oldest friend Joe is tending bar, followed by the O's and the Jays at Camden Yards. Fingers are crossed in hopes of a competent Bud Norris start, some liveliness from the Baltimore bats (way to hand Dustin McGowan his first win since 2008, guys), and improved defense from young Jonathan Schoop at third base. I realize that he's still learning, but the two unearned runs that saddled Chris Tillman with the loss last night were both on Schoop. He was looking more like Mark Reynolds than Brooks Robinson. But today is another day, and I have faith.