Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Joe Altobelli, 1984 Topps #21

Sometimes the best-laid plans go to pot. Tonight the Orioles are commemorating the 25th anniversary of the 1983 World Champs, and they're going all out. Upper-deck seats are selling for $5.50 - the same as they would have in Memorial Stadium. Both the O's and the visiting Blue Jays will be wearing vintage 1983 throwback uniforms. Best of all, several members of that championship team (most notably Cal Ripken, Jr., Eddie Murray, and Jim Palmer) will be in attendance for a pregame press conference, on-field ceremonies, and to greet fans. Regrettably, I'm not going to be there for it.

I had an inkling last week that I would want to set aside this night to take a trip to the Yard. But there was a possibility that I would have rehearsal; our play resumes tomorrow, and some of the cast was concerned about getting rusty. But it wasn't until yesterday afternoon that I found out those plans were scrapped due to incompatible schedules. With barely twenty-four hours' notice, I sent out an email to some friends from high school, trying to drum up interest in the game. I got two maybes and two nos. But by this afternoon, it was three nos and I hadn't heard back from the remaining maybe. In the meantime, it had started to rain and I still had things to do before the rapidly-approaching weekend. You know, boring grown-up things like laundry, groceries, what have you. So I took a rain check, and I'll have to wait for another day to rub elbows with the heroes of yesteryear.

I'm not sure if Joe Altobelli will be on hand. I imagine that his time in Baltimore didn't work out the way that he'd hoped or expected, either. Given the unenviable task of replacing the retired Hall of Famer Earl Weaver, the former Giants skipper piloted the Birds to a World Series win (their first in thirteen years) in his first year on the job. However, the team got old in a hurry, as an emphasis on established free agents over farm system development hastened the Orioles' decline. With the team languishing in fourth place in 1985, Joe was fired just 55 games into the season and replaced by none other than Earl Weaver, making it seem as though Altobelli had never even been on the O's bench. So tonight, take just a moment to remember a man who made the most out of a difficult situation.

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