Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Bob Saverine, 1991 Crown/Coca-Cola All-Time Orioles #402

If you and your people celebrate Easter, I hope you have had a happy one. I spent the day with my family, eating lots of junk (and a little ham and green beans that probably got mixed in by accident), 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.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mike Bordick, 2001 Upper Deck MVP #73

In 2001, Mike Bordick kicked off his second stint with the Orioles by batting .249 with 7 home runs, 30 RBI, and a .314 on-base percentage in 58 games. That may not seem very impressive, but it's downright inspiring when you consider that he lost his right arm in a logging accident during the previous offseason.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Vintage Fridays: Gus Triandos, 1962 Topps #420

You might have heard by now that Gus Triandos passed away yesterday, dying in his sleep at age 82 after spending the past decade suffering from congestive heart failure. So it is that on the cusp of Opening Day, the Orioles say goodbye to the team's first true star, a slugging, slow-footed catcher who was rescued from the sprawling Yankees farm system by the savvy Paul Richards. He rewarded Richards and the Birds with seven strong seasons as the club's primary backstop, and was a four-time All-Star in his prime (1957-1959; this includes both All-Star Games in the latter year). Gus has already been eulogized quite expertly by 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

Eddie Murray, 1986 Donruss 3x5 All-Stars #13

I've spent much of the past week helping my girlfriend move all of her worldly possessions into my little rowhouse. So this place is in even greater disarray than usual, my body is bruised, and I'm resorting to that old fallback: lookit this slightly oversized Eddie Murray card! It's huge! (Compared to an Allen and Ginter mini parallel, maybe.) No one else could make those bright orange wristbands work, especially considering that they don't even match the shade used elsewhere in the Orioles' uniform. Thanks, Eddie. You're always here for me in a pinch.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dave Van Gorder, 1991 Crown/Coca-Cola All-Time Orioles #467

Here's the circuitous route that I took to today's blog entry:

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

Damon Buford, 1993 Score Select Rookies and Traded #149T

It's a good thing that Damon Buford's bat is clearly labeled "BUF" on the knob. There's no telling what would happen if he were to accidentally pick up one of Leo Gomez's bats. I hear that Leo had a hair-trigger temper, and was capable of beheading another man with the simple flick of a wrist. Better safe than sorry.

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

Wady Almonte, 1997 Fleer Ultra #510 and 1997 Fleer Ultra Gold Medallion #G510

This is the first ever Orioles Card "O" the Day Double Feature. Until I recently came across a large amount of 1997 Fleer Ultra, I had no idea that the Gold Medallion parallels featured completely different photos from their corresponding base cards. But it is so, as ably demonstrated here by Throwin' Wady Almonte and Swingin' Wady Almonte. Wady Almonte, Wady Almonte, Wady Almonte. There. Now I've said his name five times.
Wady Almonte.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Cal Ripken, Jr., 1995 Star Cal Ripken, Jr. #28

Let me count the ways this card could have used an editor:

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

Memorial Stadium, 2004 Maryland Lottery #41

I can only imagine the frenzy that surrounded the Orioles' first Opening Day in Baltimore nearly 60 years ago. Of course, I'm sure that the team's 2013 home opener will be a raucous scene as well. The Birds are coming off of their first winning season and playoff berth since 1997, after all. I'm happy to say that I will be there for my second straight opener and third overall. Today I hauled myself out of bed at 8:00 (on a Saturday...scandalous!) and drove down to Oriole Park at Camden Yards for the team's Tag Day event. After careful consultation with my sister, I picked out a pair of seats in section 340, Upper Reserve, behind home plate, and locked us in for a 29-game partial season ticket plan. Of course, I'm hoping that the next time I'm looking out on the field from my seats, it's not 36 degrees with gusting winds as it was this morning. That's not baseball weather.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Vintage Fridays: Earl Weaver, 1970 Topps #148

What's better than a classic "Earl Weaver being a confrontational crank" story? How about a classic "Earl Weaver being a confrontational crank" story that features the great manager butting heads with former O's GM Lee MacPhail?

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

Miguel Tejada, 2006 Topps Opening Day #99

Congratulations to Miguel Tejada, Pedro Strop, and the rest of 2013 World Baseball Classic-winning team from the Dominican Republic. The Dominicans went 8-0 in the WBC, capped by a 3-0 win over Puerto Rico in Tuesday night's final game. Miggi appeared in seven games, batting .316 (6-for-19). He also bailed out Strop in the finale, making a nifty falling-backwards catch on a foul pop down the left field line to strand two runners in the seventh inning. Pedro didn't need a whole lot of help during the WBC, as he allowed no runs on three hits in six and two-thirds innings. He was the winning pitcher in three of his six appearances, and struck out seven batters while walking none. So although Adam Jones and Team USA didn't make it to the Final Four, there was still significant O's representation at the end of it all.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Jack Voigt, 1995 Donruss Press Proof #327

Oh, mid-1990s Donruss. You're so precious, with your specially-stamped parallels of base cards. I guess we're just supposed to take your word for it that this Jack Voigt card was one of the very first 2,000 Jack Voigt cards to come tumbling off the printing press, since there's no authentication provided. Not even a serial number to be found. This isn't just any Jack Voigt card, it's a very limited and super-special Jack Voigt card, unlike the rest (give or take 1,999). We might as well operate under the honor system, because a card company would never manufacture scarcity to drive interest in its product, right?

Naturally, I type with tongue placed firmly in cheek. "Press Proofs" are incredibly tame when compared to the Monopoly Holder's 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

Zach Britton, 2011 Topps Diamond Duos #DD10

A lot has changed in the year-plus since Topps produced this card featuring two of the most notable rookie starting pitchers of the 2011 season. Most obviously, Michael Pineda was traded from the Mariners to the Yankees prior to the 2012 campaign, with one-time New York mega-prospect Jesus Montero going to Seattle. But it's also an example of how quickly a young pitcher's fortunes can change. Pineda sat out all of last year after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, and the Yankees are hoping that he will be able to make his debut in pinstripes this coming May or June. Zach Britton also dealt with injuries in 2012, though his were less severe. A left shoulder impingement kept him off of the Orioles' roster until mid-July, and he looked rusty when he finally did return. In 11 starts and a single relief appearance with the O's, Zach posted a 5.07 ERA and walked 4.8 batters per 9 innings (up from 3.6 BB/9 in 2011).

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

Joe Orsulak, 1993 Fleer #549

Alright, I'm back after a very necessary sick day yesterday. Trust me when I tell you that I barely had the energy to take a shower. But now that I'm on the mend, I bring you Joe O and one of the dullest card designs known to man. Still, there is a kernel of goodness on this otherwise ho-hum card. As Joe Orsulak jogged back to the dugout from his defensive position, the photographer captured a larger scene reflected in Joe's mirrored sunglasses. You can see the infield grass and the dirt of the basepaths, as well as one of the other Orioles preceding Orsulak off of the field. It's far more interesting than the primary scene on the card.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Delino DeShields, 2001 Upper Deck Vintage #76

Was I the only one who never knew that Delino DeShields went by the nickname "Bop"? I don't remember ever hearing it during his career. But it was a name from Delino's childhood in East Seaford, Delaware. I can't seem to track down any more information about the significance of the moniker. Does anyone else have a clue?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Vintage Fridays: Mike Cuellar, 1975 SSPC #375

This is an outstanding photo. From the dusky sky in the background to the faraway grimace on an aging Mike Cuellar's face...that face. The lines are so numerous and so deep that you could probably count them to determine the veteran screwballer's age. You know, like the rings in a tree. Assuming that Mike didn't fudge the numbers when he left his native Cuba, he would have been 38 years old in this picture. It seems to me that most of today's players don't age quite so visibly. Of course, they have the time, money, and resources to take better physical care of themselves than players of Cuellar's era. Is it any wonder that Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz wear their years better than he did?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

David Segui, 1993 Upper Deck #792

In my times of greatest need, I know that I can always turn to other card bloggers for inspiration. If the things that they inspire me to do are wildly impractical and unusual, all the better! In this case, we're talking Frankensets.

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

Will Clark, 1999 Donruss #37

It's Will Clark's 48th birthday...for five more minutes, at least here in the Eastern United States. Since I'm pressed for time, I'll leave you with this fact: On July 20, 2000, Will the Thrill hit home runs in both ends of a doubleheader against Boston. In 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

Ken Singleton, 1984 Donruss #610

I don't like to repost cards that I've already featured, but the first time that I posted Ken Singleton's 1984 Donruss card, it wasn't autographed. This is a new-to-me copy of the card, courtesy of longtime reader and occasional trade partner Alan Diddle. Back in January, we arranged a swap: 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

Jim Palmer, 2005 Donruss Throwback Threads Century Stars #CS-17

On this date in Orioles history, one of the most entertaining Spring Training storylines reached its sad (though predictable) conclusion. On March 11, 1991, Jim Palmer pitched in a Grapefruit League game against the Red Sox. The righthander was 46 years old and was attempting a comeback seven seasons after the O's released him and prompted his retirement. Moreover, he had just been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame the previous summer. As exciting as all of this was, it just wasn't meant to be. "Cakes" was touched for five hits and two runs in two innings, and pulled a hamstring to boot. He officially re-retired the following day. Any Baltimore fans who might have been dreaming of a rotation that included Jim Palmer, Ben McDonald, and Mike Mussina had their hopes dashed.

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

Brad Pennington, 1994 Leaf #177

I am reasonably sure that Brad Pennington suffered a simultaneous brain aneurysm and hiatal hernia while in the process of delivering this pitch. Maybe that would explain the 25 walks he issued in 33 innings for the 1993 Orioles.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Fernando Valenzuela, 1993 Leaf #472

Adam Jones and the rest of Team USA had a rough debut at the World Baseball Classic last night, falling to Team Mexico by a 5-2 score. Nobody on the American side did much hitting against Yovani Gallardo and the Mexican bullpen, all of whom are being coached by former Oriole Fernando Valenzuela. Jones went 0-for-3 with a walk in his first-ever WBC game. Fortunately, the U.S. has an immediate shot at redemption, as they face Team Italy (featuring ex-O's farmhand Mike Costanzo) at 9:00 this evening.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Vintage Fridays: Boog Powell, 1964 Topps #89

Firstly, I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to yesterday's blog post. I wasn't fishing for compliments, but you were all very forthcoming with them anyhow. I can certainly identify with GCA's sentiment; I know that when I read something that I enjoy, I don't often go out of my way to comment if I don't have much more to say than "nice job". I just wanted to make sure that I was still giving you something that you wanted to read. I'll do my best to keep it that way.

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

Chris Sabo, 1995 Topps #137

Folks, it's time for some real talk. I've noticed a near-total lack of feedback in the form of comments on this blog in recent weeks. At the same time, I've felt my own interest in writing these posts start to flag. I've been updating Orioles Card "O" the Day on a near-daily basis for five years, two months, and six days, and that comes out to 1,874 blog entries in all. I'm sure that I still have things to say about the O's, and the cards on which they're featured, but more often than not it seems like I'm forcing myself to carve out a few minutes just to pluck a card out of the box or binder, scan it, say the bare minimum, and be done with it. It's somewhat disappointing, like Chris Sabo without his customary Rec Specs. That's not really providing any benefit to me or to you, and considering how lackluster my recent writing feels to me,  certainly don't blame anyone else for not having any comments to add. So I'd appreciate it if you could answer a few questions for me:

-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

Jose Leon, 2003 Upper Deck #3

Upper Deck was pretty fast and loose with the word "Star". Jose Leon was a former 22nd-round draft pick of the Cardinals who was traded to the Orioles in mid-2000 for Will Clark. He wound up playing 88 games for the O's from 2002 through 2004, batting .225/.262/.321 with 5 home runs and 18 RBI. He was last active in 2009, when he played 51 games for the Independent Camden Riversharks and 15 games for the Mexican League's Olmecas de Tabasco. Of course, Jose had his moments. In 2006, he hit 17 homers with a 1.096 OPS in only 47 games for another Mexican team, Piratas de Campeche. Somehow I get the sense that this wasn't what Upper Deck had in mind, though.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Eli Whiteside, 2003 Bowman #323

It's been a while since I've posted a player's card just so I could make a lame wordplay on his name. But there's snow in the forecast for this evening and tomorrow morning, and I desperately want a snow day. Let's take a walk on the Whiteside.

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

Cal Ripken, Jr., 1992 Donruss Diamond Kings #DK 5

I'm experiencing something of a love-hate relationship with my favorite hobby right about now. For the past 10 months, I've been sitting on a massive backlog of cards that need to be sorted, catalogued, and then consolidated with the rest of my collection. I've been chipping away at it in bits and bites all along, but I've finally gotten sufficiently tired of the chaos and clutter and picked up the pace. That's led to several frustrating moments, in which I think I've got all of the cards for a particular year organized and logged into my personal card database, only to discover an orphaned stack of cards in a previously-overlooked box. Just when the finish line starts looking closer, it gets pushed back another quarter-mile. Ultimately, it's most frustrating because I know that I'm the one responsible for letting it all get so muddled in the first place. There's no buck to pass.

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

David Hernandez, 2010 Topps Gold #45

Adam Jones has left Orioles camp to join Team USA for the World Baseball Classic. None of his current teammates will be there - Matt Wieters and Jim Johnson declined their own invitations - but he'll still be rubbing elbows with some familiar faces. Yesterday former O's pitcher David Hernandez (now with the Diamondbacks) was named to the American team as an injury replacement for Indians closer Chris Perez. The right-hander is coming off an excellent season in which he put up a 2.50 ERA in 72 games out of the Arizona bullpen and struck out 98 men in 68.1 innings. So if you were holding off on supporting Team USA, maybe this will give you that last push you needed.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mike Mussina, 1994 Upper Deck #102

I usually don't post scans of card backs, but this one has a great view of Camden Yards that you don't often see on cards. As Mike Mussina rushes to cover first base, we can see straight through to the center field picnic area and the double-deck bullpens. The sign behind Moose is advertising the Giant Foods supermarket chain, and from the loose way that the Maryland flag hangs, it's apparently a windless day. Just looking at this photo makes me wish I was sitting in the bleachers along Eutaw Street.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Vintage Fridays: Grant Jackson, 1974 Topps #68

Some stray observations:

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.