Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Monday, March 16, 2009

Billy O'Dell, 1957 Spire #376

A few months ago, I told you about my growing addiction to the online baseball card game known as Baseball Boss. I eventually gave in and decided to purchase one of the more budget-conscious monthly memberships, but even so, I realized that trying to collect all of the cards in their various virtual sets would be a tall order. I'm trying to keep it simple by focusing on certain themes; for instance, I'm attempting to assemble the best possible All-Kevin team (per another recent blog entry). Unsurprisingly though, my main focus is the Baltimore Orioles.

Today, I completed one of my team sets: the premium 1957 Spire 39-card set. I love this design, as it's low-key and uses a darker shade of orange that adds to the retro feel. These cards commemorate an important milestone in team history. In just their fourth season in Baltimore, the young Birds finished at .500 (76-76) for the first time. Paul Richards had laid the groundwork for a future dynasty. By my count, all but four of the players who suited up for the O's in '57 are included, including 20-year-old Brooks Robinson and 18-year-old Milt Pappas. The card I've highlighted is that of Billy O'Dell, one of the most heralded of the "bonus babies" and the most valuable Oriole in the set. He was given this honor based on his 2.69 ERA and career-best 1.04 WHIP.

Now that I've completed this set (and only need four cards from 2007), I can turn most of my attention to the new sets that are rolling off the...um...presses. Last week the 2008 cards hit, with Aubrey Huff and Jim Johnson slotted as the big prizes. The set that I'm anticipating the most is being released tomorrow: 1998. While this season was the zenith of the steroid era (topped off by the McGwire-Sosa home run battle) and marked the beginning of the Birds' lengthy decline, there are lots of great names and notable individual performances to be found in that group of Orioles. Rafael Palmeiro (.296, 43 HR, 121 RBI) ended his first stint in Charm City on a better note than the second one, and Roberto Alomar, Chris Hoiles, and Eric Davis (.327, 28 HR, 89 RBI) also bid farewell to the O's. There are also fan favorites like Cal Ripken, Jr., Brady Anderson, Harold Baines, B. J. Surhoff, Mike Mussina, and Scott Erickson...

If they ever churn out a 1970 or 1983 set, I'm going to be in trouble.


--David said...

I played with the site a little, but never really got the bug for it. I may give it another whirl in a month or so...

Baseball Boss CrashD said...

Thanks again for the post - we'd love to do some sets from the 70s and 80s too. Stay tuned!