picking eggs, and participating in an adult Easter egg hunt that was the brainchild of my sister. I found 10 plastic eggs, most of which had slips of paper that could be redeemed for scratch-off lottery tickets or alcoholic beverages. It was a full day, and now I just want to watch the Rangers-Astros opener on ESPN and maybe go to bed.
But first, our card. Bob "Rabbit" Saverine was a utility player for the O's in 1959 and 1962-1964, and he batted .221 and slugged .270 during his time in Baltimore. He actually gave the Orioles a big boost in a June 8, 1966 doubleheader, although he was playing for the opposing Senators at the time. He went 0-for-7 with a pair of strikeouts in the opener, a 6-5 Birds win. In the nightcap, Bob went 0-for-5 with another whiff, as the O's squeaked it out 8-7. The teams combined for 56 hits in the twinbill, yet poor Bob was 0-for-12. He set an American League record for the most hitless at-bats in a doubleheader. No Easter eggs for the Rabbit that day...only goose eggs.
I can't resist cheesy wordplay. Feel free to throw your tomatoes. Or eggs, I suppose.
Sunday, March 31, 2013
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Friday, March 29, 2013
Joe Posnanski over at Harball Talk. So I'll keep it simple here. Obviously, I never saw Gus play; his Oriole career had been over for twenty years before I came drooling and bawling into this existence. But I look at the photo on this card, and I see a strong man taking his stance. His bat is gripped tightly in large, calloused hands. His sleeves are roughly half the length of those on the uniforms of today's players, the better to show off his powerful arms. It may not be Ted Kluszewski and his famous vest, but Triandos' brawn must have been intimidating to many pitchers. He knew it, too. You can see the confident calm in his face as he stares out at the mound. The next pitch is leaving the yard on a line to left field.
Thursday, March 28, 2013
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
1. Check Baseball Reference for today's birthdays. See that Dave Van Gorder is turning 56.
2. Click on Van Gorder's B-R profile. I know that he was a catcher in the 1980s, but that's about it.
3. Okay, he was the Reds' second-round draft pick in 1978 out of USC. Didn't do a helluva lot in Cincy: 171 games, .538 OPS.
4. Finished his career in Baltimore in 1987. A dozen games, 24 plate appearances, 5-for-21 with a homer and three walks. I wonder what the story is with that home run...
5. Check Home Run Log. Look at that, he took Frank Viola deep in a tight game. I wonder if the O's came back to win?
6. Peruse box score for May 12, 1987 game vs. Twins. Holy crow. Mike Flanagan put the Orioles in a 4-0 hole in the third inning. Ray Knight's two-run shot an inning later cut the Minnesota lead in half, and Van Gorder's solo blast in the fifth made it a one-run game. Ken Dixon replaced Flanny in the sixth, and promptly set the pitchers' mound on fire and danced over the ashes. The Birds headed to the bottom of the eighth inning down 7-3. That's when it got really fun.
Van Gorder led off with a walk to chase Viola. Keith Atherton came out of the Twins bullpen and got two quick outs, but couldn't finish the job. Cal Ripken singled and Eddie Murray walked, causing manager Tom Kelly to pull Atherton in favor of closer Jeff Reardon. Fred Lynn welcomed Reardon to the game with a grand slam, finally allowing the O's to pull even at 7-7. Dixon set down the heart of the Twins' order in a perfect ninth, giving Baltimore the chance for a walkoff win.
Cal Ripken Sr. sent Jim Dwyer up to pinch hit for rookie Ken Gerhart, and the veteran specialist delivered a single. Second baseman Rick Burleson also hit safely, moving the winning run to scoring position for...Dave Van Gorder. Not so fast! Senior yanked the unlikely hero from the game, sending up regular starter Terry Kennedy. Kennedy flew out to center field, but Dwyer tagged and went to third. Another fly ball would end the game, so a third pinch hitter was summoned: Larry Sheets, batting for Alan Wiggins. Sheets promptly said "the hell with it" and crushed a three-run, walk-off home run off of Reardon. It was the third of Larry's career-high 31 bombs that year, and it gave the Orioles a wild 10-7 win.
To think that I discovered this buried gem of a game all on account of Dave Van Gorder's birthday.
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
This is probably a good time to remind you that I am prone to flights of fancy, and that Leo Gomez is not in fact a violent psychopath.
Monday, March 25, 2013
Sunday, March 24, 2013
1. The photo negative is reversed. Note the script on Cal's jersey, and the turned-around bird.
2. There should not be a comma after "Cal".
3. There should be a space between the second comma and "Jr".
4. Ideally you would avoid a picture with a blurry half-a-head in the foreground...especially when it looks like the Iron Man is checking out that person's rear end.
5. I would copy-edit the back of the card, but the first sentence features the following apostrophe abuse - "Oriole's". Ugh. I'm done.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Friday, March 22, 2013
I owe a debt of gratitude to Camden Chat's j.q. higgins (if that IS his real name...) for unearthing this gem, which unfolded on this date back in 1981. The O's had been scheduled to play an exhibition game against the Royals a few days prior, and Earl had gone and gotten himself into an argument with the umpires over the lineup card. As he was wont to do, the Orioles skipper got so incensed that he pulled his team off of the field and forfeited the game. In stepped MacPhail, the American League President at the time, to levy a three-game suspension from Grapefruit League contests.
Yes, Earl even managed to get himself into hot water when the games didn't count.
There's a Sarasota Herald-Tribune article posted on the Google News Archive. I would recommend reading it just for the quotes. MacPhail is as even-handed as you would expect a league authority to be, but Weaver can't resist needling a higher authority. He threatens to treat his suspension as a "sit-out", a peaceful means of protesting the shabby work done by the A. L. prez and his staff. The money quote from Earl:
"[My sit-out] is in support more or less of President Reagan's program. He wants more productivity and wants us to eliminate stupidity, waste, bureaucratic uselessness, and red tape."
We miss you already, Earl.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
short-printed base card variations and Internet-only, $100-a-pop Heritage update sets. Which reminds me: Nearly three months into 2013, I have not bought a single Topps retail product. I don't even really miss it. Well done, guys.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
The jury is still out on Pineda; shoulder injuries are lagging behind elbow problems as it relates to advances in surgical treatment and repair. But Britton still has a decent outlook for 2013. The overall improvement of the Baltimore rotation in 2012 has pushed the lefty into an all-out competition for the fifth and final starter's slot, but he's healthier than he was a year ago and (HUGE grain of salt alert) he's gotten good results in Grapefruit League action: only two earned runs allowed in eight and two-thirds innings so far, with a pair of walks and six strikeouts. As the rest of the baseball world expects the overachieving O's of 2012 to take a step back towards the pack, a resurgence by Zach Britton would do much to help them stay competitive.
Monday, March 18, 2013
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Friday, March 15, 2013
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Put simply, a "Frankenset" is a card set that is pieced together from multiple years/brands/what have you, but still numbered sequentially. It's usually housed in a binder, because that's just the best way to organize and gawk at your cards, you know? The first example of a "Frankenset" I came across was Ben Henry's "The 792", which made an entirely new set out of spare parts from all of the Topps base sets of the 1980s, with one card for each number from 1-792. A few of my other favorite hobby bloggers, Night Owl and Cardboard Junkie Dave, have each put together 350-card Frankensets of Allen and Ginter minis. Night Owl also has a night card Frankenset, and now Dave has a 2000s Topps Heritage Frankenset. This is where I say, "Me too!". But I'm not content mooshing together a bunch of half-finished Topps sets. Oh, no.
I'm making a 792-card Orioles Frankenset.
I've been wanting to put my O's collection in a binder (or binders...there's a lot of them, you know) for quite some time, but I couldn't decide how to sort them. If I put them in order by year and set, I'd drive myself to madness trying to rearrange them any time a new card came home with me. Instead, I'm just going to show off a hodgepodge cross-section. All years, all brands, everything is on the table. It's going to be murder winnowing down the low-numbered cards, but I look forward to the challenge. Some decisions have already been made; David Segui will anchor the set, as this card is my only #792. As far as the odds of completing the set, a quick check of my database shows me that every number from 1 through 500 - and most cards from 501 through 700 - are already covered. It gets a bit hairier in the 700s. I'll seek out those numbers that are missing. And if any card number doesn't match up to any Oriole, I've got a potential workaround. I'll seek out serial-numbered parallels or inserts where the serial number matches the missing card number.
Though I've got the groundwork laid, I won't actually be compiling the Frankenset just yet. I still have sorting and consolidating to do for my collection as a whole, and I'm really trying to stick to one thing at a time right now. But for the short term, I've got the idea, and I've gotten at least one blog post out of it. That's a start.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
the first game, his first-inning grand slam off of Ramon Martinez briefly gave the O's a 4-2 lead. (They lost 11-7, because Sidney Ponson was, is, and will forever be the worst.) In the nightcap, Clark gave Baltimore some insurance with a solo shot leading off the fourth inning. That made the score 7-3, and the Birds salvaged a split with a 9-4 final.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
this Mike Devereaux card for ol' Singy here. I'm happy to add another O's autograph to my somewhat-leisurely collection. I don't put a lot of effort into gathering signed cards, but when the opportunity arises, why not? If someone is making a public appearance, or I get a trade offer, or (and this has happened exactly once) I pull one from a pack, I'll welcome that John Hancock Special into the fold. At present, I've got 32 O's autographs on cardboard, which is more than I would have guessed! Imagine how many more I'd have if I were trying hard. But there are only so many hours in the day, you know? Anyhow, thanks, Alan!
Monday, March 11, 2013
Speaking of Mussina, I think it would be a real kick if he tried this sort of thing. He's only been retired for four years, going on five, and unlike Palmer, Moose went out on top with a 20-win season in 2008. Mike is only 44, so maybe he'd have a little more in the tank than Jim did in his last-gasp try. It's too late in the spring to whip a middle-aged pitcher into form by Opening Day, but maybe the Birds could count on him as a mid-season addition like the Yankees did with Andy Pettitte last year. After the Orioles won 93 games and narrowly missed the ALCS in 2012, I'm willing to believe in anything.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Saturday, March 9, 2013
Friday, March 8, 2013
Moving on, I think there's no finer way to start the weekend than by checking in with Boog Powell. I once read an anecdote about the Orioles' scouting and signing of Boog as an amateur. According to Rob Neyer and Eddie Epstein in Baseball Dynasties: The Greatest Teams of All Time, both the Orioles and the Cardinals were very interested in procuring the services of the teenaged Booger back in 1959. Of course, baseball scouts and executives have always looked to cut costs wherever they can, especially in the days before the players' union. So the scouts for the O's and Redbirds made a gentleman's agreement to avoid a bidding war for Boog's rights. Instead, they settled matters the old-fashioned way...with a coin flip. Baltimore came out on top, and probably resisted the Cards' pleas of "best two outta three!". When building a winning team, it doesn't hurt to be lucky.
Thursday, March 7, 2013
-What type of posts would you like to read on this blog? Shorter-form player biographies, oddball tangents about unusual card designs or photos, snapshots of a single Orioles game from the past, themed posts (i.e. the history of the team's top draft picks, or the best Maryland-born players?), or maybe something else?
-How much is your enjoyment of the blog tied to the daily updates? Would you rather read one or two longer posts per week, or quick tidbits every day?
-Any other suggestions? (Cosmetic makeovers, additional widgets, a transition to 100% dinosaur-related content...speak now or forever hold your peace.)
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Groan. Go ahead and toss your tomatoes.
Here in Baltimore, we've spent the entire winter being teased by Mother Nature. Nothing more than an inch of the good stuff this season, and that's just enough to wreak havoc on my morning commute. Last week, we had the worst of both worlds...rain AND temperatures in the 30s. Are you kidding me? It's time to straighten up and fly right, you mystical weather forces. I expect to wake up at 6:00 AM, see nothing but blinding white, and be able to turn over and go right back to sleep. Wednesday, March 6 shall be a day for flannels, snowmen, hot drinks, Netflix...and yes, organizing cards. Always with the organizing cards. Is that so much to ask?
Monday, March 4, 2013
Similarly, after weeks and weeks of procrastination, I found myself putting the finishing touches on the last post for my 1965 Topps blog last Friday. After nearly five and a half years, I'm more than ready to put that particular blog to rest...and probably launch a new one, because I haven't learned my lesson. So prior to publishing the final card, I decided to go to my checklist page/table of contents and clean up the hyperlinks. In doing so, I discovered a full dozen cards that I never scanned, wrote up, and posted. Chalk up another win for chaos and absent-mindedness.
So, we regroup, and set a new goal, and publish it here so that you can point and laugh when it all goes sideways again. Let it be decreed: by the end of March, THIS March, I will have my collection completely organized. That goes double for the O's team collection...any new Orioles I've gotten since...oh, let's say 2009 have not been properly sorted along with the rest of my cardboard birds. Moreover, I will finish posting the Dirty Dozen holdouts on The Great 1965 Topps Project. Any time I start to dawdle, or lose hope, I'll just let the stern, off-center face of Cal Ripken, Jr. be my motivation.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Saturday, March 2, 2013
Friday, March 1, 2013
1. Fashion-wise, today's ballplayers are missing out. When was the last time you saw a card with a player who had to flatten his hair to make his cap fit? I've always imagined that when Grant Jackson or Bake McBride (or yes, Oscar Gamble) took off their caps, their hair would spring back into shape. That might not be entirely true, but it's certainly one way in which life should be more like cartoons.
2. This is not even remotely the most badly miscut card in my half-completed 1974 Topps set. On a few, you can read a mismatched team name and position at the bottom. When you're grabbing from the dime boxes, there are no regrets.
3. Over Grant's right shoulder, there is an ad for milk. Over his left shoulder, there is an ad for Yoo-Hoo. That's kind of like an ad for Angus beef being juxtaposed with an ad for Spam.