Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Cal Ripken, Jr., 2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites #50

This is yet another photographic oddity from the 2003 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites set. I'm pretty sure that Andy had no idea how interesting these cards were when he packed them up and sent them my way! Unlike the Jim Palmer 1975-style card with the circa 1991 photo, this card matches up well: Topps has paired a 2000 card design with a photo from July 25, 1999. I can pinpoint the date because of the unusual uniform that Cal Junior is wearing. If you don't remember the Orioles wearing a black pullover with silver script text and especially short sleeves, it's because they haven't worn them yet.

Huh?

One of the more poorly-executed ideas in the history of baseball promotions was Turn Ahead the Clock Day/Night, which was sponsored by Century 21. Unlike the regular Turn Back the Clock games, when teams commemorate past glories by wearing vintage uniforms from days gone by, The first Turn Ahead the Clock Day was the brainchild of the Seattle Mariners, who got the Kansas City Royals to play along for a 1998 game and had a lot of fun with it. Read more here. So when the Powers That Be got a hold of the idea and spread it out to twenty other teams the following year, it became much too much. Most of the designs were laughable eyesores, and to make matters worse, they seemed to conform to the same dumb template. The O's actually got off easily. Don't believe me? Check this out. Or this (Nice 'stache, Larry.) How about this? Maybe this? By now you're probably begging for mercy. But the piece de resistance came from the "Mercury" Mets. Sheesh.

After the way the game turned out, it's a wonder the Birds didn't ask to keep the "futuristic" unis in a fit of superstition. Powered by Cal's three hits, including a double and a home run, and a three-homer, six-RBI explosion from the temperamental Albert Belle, Baltimore won an eleven-inning thriller over the Angels, 8-7. It was the team's sixth straight win, as the Orioles overcame a horrendous start by Sidney Ponson (surprise!) with seven innings of one-hit relief. Belle's third homer tied the game with two outs in the ninth inning, and Cal gave the fans a thrill with a walkoff single two innings later.

That's all well and good, but an Orioles uniform without orange? No way.

7 comments:

deal said...

good piece well researched. I am always a fan of being able to pin a card to a specific days.

keep up the good work.

Dinged Corners said...

Excellent. Kevin. Apply for a job at the Smithsonian as a baseball historian.

--David said...

Man, you sure do your research! Kudos!!

Andy said...

True, I had no idea how interesting these FF cards were when I sent them to you--but they are definitely getting the love they deserve in your possession.

thehamiltonian said...

Your card got some love in Paul Lukas's Uni Watch column today!

Check the Uni Watch News Ticker

Kevin said...

Hamiltonian - I was happy to see that! I actually emailed Paul yesterday and brought my blog to his attention, figuring that it would be of interest.

thehamiltonian said...

That's sweet! I love the attention to detail to figure out which jersey it is and when it was worn. Very cool.