Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

J. J. Hardy, 2014 Panini Donruss Career Stat Line #130

This card is pretty snazzy in spite of Panini's generic, derivative design. Shiny foil, J. J. Hardy rocking the Brady Anderson sideburns, and a pointless serial-numbered parallel with its print number determined by a randomly chosen statistic from the featured player's stat line. In this case, I have the 124th of Hardy's 158 Career Stat Line cards, aligning nicely with the shortstop's 158 career home runs. As it so happens, J. J.'s 124th homer came on July 14, 2012. It was a game-tying shot off of Detroit's Joaquin Benoit in the bottom of the 11th inning. Two innings later, Taylor Teagarden's first hit as an Oriole was a walkoff two-run homer. I stood in Oriole Park at Camden Yards that Saturday evening, jumping up and down and shouting in disbelief. I mentioned it on the blog.

It's great to relive that bizarre game, because there's a lot of joy associated with that entire weekend for me. 24 hours before Saturday's game, I was on my first date with my future wife at the Hamilton Tavern. Max couldn't have known any of that when he sent this card to me. Well, he could have done the legwork I just did, and pieced together the context clues from my blog entries, but that would be...unsettling. That's my completely backwards way of thanking Max. I'm just going to quit while I'm behind.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Jesse Orosco, 2000 Topps #460

Get out your paper hats and streamers, because today is Jesse Orosco's birthday! Contrary to popular belief, the wizened southpaw is not turning 87 today. No, Jesse is only 57...he's still a baby, relatively speaking. The one-time Oriole made his last appearance on a big league mound over a decade ago, finishing his 24-year big league career in 2003 with the Twins team that had drafted him in the second round way back in 1978. But I'd like to see him get one last crack at it. After all, Satchel Paige was at least 58 years old when he tossed three shutout innings for the Athletics on September 25, 1965. Surely Orosco has enough bullets remaining in that left arm to make one or two of his customary one-batter trips from the bullpen. Roster spots may be too dear during the bulk of the season, but that's the beauty of expanded September rosters. Imagine a playoff-hopeful team like the Cardinals or Tigers or (fingers crossed) the Orioles being able to call upon the most battle-tested LOOGY in baseball history to shut down an opposing lefty slugger in a high-stakes game. Alternately, what better way for a dead-end basement-dweller to goose their attendance numbers than to trade in the promise of seeing MLB's first five-decade pitcher? I'm sure ol' number 47 could be convinced. He's still the all-time leader in total games pitched by a comfortable margin (1,252 to runner-up Mike Stanton's 1,178), but with the increasing hyper-specialization of relief pitchers and the advances being made in sports medicine, a little bit of extra insurance couldn't hurt. So why not?

(Yes, I'm being serious. At least 95% serious. Baseball is just better with Jesse Orosco.)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Oriole Bird, 2014 Topps Opening Day Mascots #M-3

It's good to know that the people I love truly understand me. My wife included a rack pack of 2014 Topps Heritage in my Easter basket, and my sister got me a pack of 2014 Topps Opening Day. The latter pack featured this marvelous Oriole Bird card. On the back his identifying feature is said to be his "giant orange beak". On the front, he appears to be calling out a member of the opposing team. If I had to guess, I'd say that he's challenging Dustin Pedroia to a fight. I think the Bird could take him easily.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Rodrigo Lopez, 2003 Upper Deck SPX #15

A few thoughts on this Rodrigo Lopez card:

-Rodrigo is a ubiquitous presence in my early 2000s team collection, because he was that rarest of commodities: a competent pre-Showalter Orioles pitcher. At least, he was in 2002 and 2004. Because I see him so often while thumbing through my cards, I assumed that I had posted a glut of those cards on this blog. For a while, that was the case: in the first four years I was doing this, Lopez appeared ten times. But in those years, he was still clinging to his major league career. I haven't visited with Rodrigo on my blog for two and a half years now. Out of sight, out of mind maybe? He made four rough relief appearances with the Cubs in 2012, allowing six runs (four earned) in six and a third innings, and that was the last of his MLB experience. The Phillies signed him the following winter, but released him before spring training was through in 2013. He pitched in Mexico last season, but his ERA was 5.49. So Lopez's pitching career may be finished.

-Occasionally my scanner will play tricks with light. In this case, the bright bluish-green accents on this card are actually plain ol' silver foil. But I like the scanner's more colorful version better.

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.