Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Brian Roberts, 2012 Topps #514

I'm home from Sarasota, and it looks like I might have brought some warmer weather home with me. I'll share some photos from Ed Smith Stadium tomorrow, but I didn't want to bury the unexpected highlight of the trip. On Sunday afternoon, I met Brian Roberts.

We were staying with my brother-in-law Robby and his fiance Jordan; they live 15 minutes away from the ballpark. They'd already mentioned that Jordan's family had made the former Oriole's acquaintance. When we arrived on Thursday evening, Jordan told us that his folks would like to meet us, and that his nephew's fifth birthday party was Sunday. He said that Brian Roberts might be stopping by as well, but I took that to mean it wasn't a sure thing.

We stopped by the party site, Bounce Down Under - "Sarasota's largest Aussie-themed indoor inflatable party and play center" - on our way to that afternoon's O's-Twins game. I was busy trying not to look out of place at a kid's birthday party when Robby pointed out that Brian was right in front of us. Jordan handled the introductions, and Brian was very friendly. He asked who the Orioles were playing, admitting that he wasn't keeping close tabs. (Really, who does? It's the Grapefruit League.) I told him that it was our first spring training visit to Sarasota, but that it seemed like a much better venue than Fort Lauderdale, where I'd taken in a few games in 2008 when the Birds were still training there. He assured me that he loved the city itself, but that the Orioles' former facility was "a dump".

My wife, my sister, and I stayed long enough to have pizza and cake, and I debated approaching Roberts again to ask for a photo. However, he was busy with daddy duty most of the time, and I didn't want to impose. But as we were about to leave, Brian actually took notice and said that it was nice to meet us. I took advantage of the opening and asked if he'd mind posing for a picture. As you can see, I might be taller, but Brian has a much better tan. My sister is on the right; my wife was the photographer.
So that's how I met Brian Roberts while standing mere feet away from an inflatable basketball court and an unfortunate person in a furry kangaroo suit.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Brad Pennington, 1994 Fleer Ultra #7

Brad Pennington is a natural for my weird face theme week, since he usually looked like he was going to vomit when he was pitching. I'm sure that anybody who remembers his body of work with the Orioles can sympathize.

Sadly, our theme week ends here. Less sadly, it's because I'll be flying down to Sarasota tomorrow to visit my brother-in-law...and the Orioles, as we're taking in a couple of games at Ed Smith Stadium this weekend. I'll see you next week, with pictures and stories!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Brooks Robinson, 2012 Topps Golden Greats #GG-78

Today's odd Orioles face: Brooks Robinson passes a kidney stone in the midst of the fourth inning. Yes, he still gunned the runner out by two steps. That's why the man was the best at what he did.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Melvin Mora, 2005 Topps Total Silver #565

I haven't done a theme week in a while, so I'll spend this week unearthing action shots with O's players making unusual faces. Yesterday was Mike Young's open-mouthed gape as he ran the bases. Today I present Melvin Mora grimacing in the midst of a jump-throw. It's really quite poetic.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mike Young, 1985 Topps #173

You might think that Mike Young is sending the wrong message by yawning noticeably while taking his lead off of second base, but he's actually playing possum. The catcher thinks he's bored and disinterested and tries to fire a pickoff throw down to the bag to catch the runner unawares, but it's a humid day and the ball slips out of his fingers. Mike's already standing on third base, and now he's laughing.

Sure, Young was a mere 6-for-8 in steals in 1984, but maybe he just knew how and when to pick his spots.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Chris Hoiles, 1992 Upper Deck Ted Williams' Best Hitters of the Future #T16

As hard as it is for me to believe, yesterday was Chris Hoiles' 50th birthday. To celebrate such a significant milestone for one of my favorite childhood players, I thought I'd share some nice things that Ted Williams said about him over 20 years ago:

"Good, solid, quick swing. Excels at my philosophy: get a good pitch to hit, swing with a slight uppercut and be quick. A pull hitter with power and intensity. Confidence about his abilities strengthens his game."

Hey, what could be better than a stamp of approval from the Splendid Splinter?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Vintage Fridays: Mike Cuellar, 1972 Topps #70

Who wants to play catch with Mike Cuellar? He promises not to throw the screwball without warning. He also breaks his promises.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Mike Boddicker, 1988 Topps #725

When I was younger, I don't know if I failed to notice that the player photos were layered on top of the team name in the 1988 Topps design, or if I just failed to appreciate it. Either way, it's one of the best little touches that the company has ever added to its cards. It creates a 3-D effect and draws the attention to the photo, where it should be. I was flipping through my 1988 Topps binder tonight, and each and every base card features a cap or a bat or an arm popping up in front of those bold, team-colored letters. It was such a clever concept that Upper Deck borrowed it five years later.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Gary Roenicke, 1982 Donruss #509

There's no mistaking the fact that Gary Roenicke was photographed in Chicago's old Comiskey Park for this card. It may be out of focus and partially obscured, but Bill Veeck's big ol' exploding scoreboard is the only landmark you need to see. I wish baseball still had at least one owner as creative and irreverent as Bill.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Craig Worthington, 1988 Donruss the Rookies #23

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I found a card that has orange, green, and white, just like the flag of Ireland. Have a green beer if you please, or an Irish coffee, or at least some corned beef and cabbage. Slainte!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Boog Powell, 2001 Upper Deck Decades: 1970s #142

In case you were wondering, the American League's Most Valuable Player gets a plaque that looks like this. If I were Boog Powell, I'm sure I'd rather have a sweet trophy like the one depicted on this card. Heck, if it were me, I would rather not accept an award named after a crusty old racist, either. But as I'm not an MVP-caliber ballplayer now, and probably won't be tomorrow, I guess it's a moot point.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Larry Haney, 1991 Crown/Coca-Cola All-Time Orioles #176

Five fun facts about Larry Haney:

1. He was born on November 19. Notable players also born on that date include Ryan Howard, Bob Boone, and Roy Campanella.

2. His son Chris pitched for the Royals and four other teams (1991-2002), going 38-52 with a 5.07 ERA.

3. Larry hit his first career home run on July 27, 1966 at Memorial Stadium in a 7-1 O's win over Cleveland. The opposing pitcher was John O'Donoghue, who would go on to pitch in Baltimore in 1968. (John's son also pitched in the majors, getting a brief turn with the Orioles in 1993.)

4. He was chosen by the Pilots in the expansion draft, and played for the ill-fated club in their one and only season in Seattle in 1969. He batted .254 in 22 games before being traded to Oakland.

5. Haney won World Series rings with the 1966 Orioles and 1974 Athletics, but his only postseason experience consisted of four innings as a defensive replacement in the '74 Fall Classic.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Steve Stone, 1981 Kellogg's #58

It's been a very productive day. I have no basis to say that, except that I just realized that I've got the complete Orioles team set of 1981 Kellogg's 3-D cards. There are only five of them, but that's still a completed oddball set from 34 years ago, and they're great-looking cards. In this case, Steve Stone is popping right out of the frame, his right shoulder facing forward. He might have sparsely-populated bleachers behind him, or fluffy clouds, or perhaps the Atlantic Ocean. Maybe not that last one. Anyhow, I'm so fond of these cards that I might shoot for the entire 66-card set. That's at least my 28th-highest collecting priority, subject to change.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Vintage Fridays: Bob Mabe, 1960 Topps #288

Sometimes I have to pull a card out of the vintage binder and blog about it because I have no idea who the guy actually is. In the case of Bob Mabe, with his crew cut and hastily airbrushed uniform, I feel like I can't be blamed. He didn't debut in the majors until age 28, when he went 3-9 with a 4.51 ERA for the 1958 Cardinals. He was traded to the Reds the following year, and allowed a whopping 28 runs (18 earned) in 29.2 innings in a relief role. The O's picked him up for the 1960 season, and it did not go well. Two games, eight batters faced, only two retired. The other six all scored, though only two were earned runs, thanks to a crucial Jim Gentile error. That still left him with a sky-high 81.00 ERA as an Oriole, and brought an unceremonious end to his MLB career. The B-R Bullpen wiki tells me that Bob spent his post-baseball life working for K-Mart as a sporting goods district manager, serving the tri-state area of West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. He retired to his hometown of Danville, VA, where he passed away at age 75 in 2005. Bob Mabe can say one thing about his brief time with the Orioles, though: it produced a better card than he got with Cincinnati.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

John Shelby, 1987 Donruss #354

Maybe it's just the way the sunlight is hitting his forearms, or the fact that all of his muscles are tensed in mid-swing, but John Shelby of 1986 is looking pretty ripped. As in, Cal Ripken might think twice before sparring with him in the clubhouse.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

John Parrish, 2001 Topps #711

Today the Orioles announced their promotional giveaway schedule for the 2015 season, and you'd better believe that I've already compared it to my 29-game season ticket plan to see where the two intersect. I'm in for a few treats, even before I start switching games to optimize the goodies. How about a pair of Orioles high socks for starters? I think I can make them look at least as good as John Parrish did. If colorful hosiery isn't your cup of tea, how about a Buck Showalter Garden Gnome? I'm glad to see the O's branching out from the standard t-shirt and hat giveaways.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dennis Martinez, 2001 Topps Archives #78

The 2001 Topps Archives set consisted of reprints of classic Topps cards, but they took some creative license with this re-imagining of a Dennis Martinez rookie card. In the original 1977 Topps set, "El Presidente" shared a four-player card with three other rookie pitchers: Mike Dupree of the Padres, Craig Mitchell of the A's, and Bob Sykes of the Tigers. You can see the real deal here. For the Archives card, they just cropped the Martinez quadrant and zoomed in on it. It's funny to see Dennis without his customary mustache, isn't it?

Monday, March 9, 2015

Jorge Julio, 2006 Topps Orioles Team Set #BAL12

I've spent the last two days laid low with my second severe cold of the past month, which is about as welcome as Jorge Julio coming out of the bullpen to protect a one-run lead against the Yankees. I generally like to be able to breathe from both nostrils at the same time, thanks. If you need me, I'll be alternating between sleeping and mainlining vitamin C.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Armando Benitez, 1995 Fleer Major League Prospects #4

...And then somebody at Fleer said, "You know what? It's getting late. Just slap the words 'Major League Prospects' on the background about 50 times and let's get the hell out of here."

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Rocky Coppinger, 1997 Pinnacle Museum Collection #175

Cards with heavy amounts of foil, chrome, and all of those other bells and whistles usually don't transfer well to the scanner, so I was pleasantly surprised by how this one turned out. A bit of Googling tells me that the effect Pinnacle used for their Museum Collection parallels was "Dufex", aluminum lined paper sprayed with transparent UV inks and hand-etched. Rocky Coppinger is the only guy I've got handy, but I wouldn't mind tracking down the rest of the team set.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Vintage Fridays: Wally Bunker, 1966 Topps #499

2015 Topps Heritage is in stores now. As it borrows its design from the unfathomably dull 1966 Topps set, I don't have any burning desire to collect it. I mean, just look at the card above: even Wally Bunker is bored to be a part of it. Block letters, straight lines, sickly lime green...pass. Still, I like to put my money where my mouth is, so I picked up a 20-card pack from Target tonight. For my money, Heritage is still the nicest-looking set Topps puts out on a yearly basis, but yeah, I'm sitting this one out. It's just as well, since I haven't completed last year's Heritage set...or 2008's, for that matter. Whoops.

Oh, and I'm still 0-for-2015 on Orioles cards. It's like Topps is trolling me at this point.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Manny Machado, 2014 Topps Tribute #69

Tonight baseball season seemed much closer than it has yet this year. At 7:05, I tuned in to MASN to see the Orioles field their regular starting lineup against the Blue Jays. Well, Ryan Lavarnway was catching, but Matt Wieters still pulled DH duty as he continues to work his way back from elbow surgery. But there were plenty of positive things to see, like Manny Machado playing a spring training game after late-season knee surgery and delivering a couple of hits from atop the batting order. Chris Davis blasted a three-run homer to center field, and later Jonathan Schoop added a two-run shot. Miguel Gonzalez started and tossed a pair of scoreless innings, and seven relievers each added a shutout inning of their own: Brian Matusz, Darren O'Day, Zach Britton, Tommy Hunter, Brad Brach, Chris Jones, and Mychal Givens. All but the last two figure to be regulars again in 2015, and they got in their work in a 5-0 victory. Cal Ripken was even there to throw out the first pitch. So we're one day closer to the games that matter.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Tony Batista, 2001 Upper Deck SP Authentic #187

Tony Batista looks like he's standing in the middle of a whiteout, thanks to Upper Deck's artful presentation. The weather forecast for tomorrow calls for a good chunk of snow in Baltimore, and I'm hoping that comes to pass. Sure, it's March now, but after a long, rainy, crappy winter, I won't look a snow day in the mouth. I've only had one this year, and with my wife's already got her second unscheduled day off this week. I wouldn't want her to be bored at home without me to keep her company, you know? That's just the kind of selfless guy that I am. So I've got the pajamas on inside out and backwards, and I'm ready for a mini-blizzard. Bring it.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Jonathan Schoop, 2014 Panini Donruss #268

The good news: there was an Orioles game today. The bad news: they got smoked by Detroit, 15-2, with Ubaldo Jimenez failing to complete two innings. The good news: It doesn't count. If the season started today, I'd go out on a limb and say that Buck Showalter wouldn't have written out this lineup:

1. SS Everth Cabrera
2. 2B Jonathan Schoop
3. RF Nolan Reimold
4. DH Matt Tuiasosopo
5. LF Travis Snider
6. 3B Jimmy Paredes
7. C J. P. Arencibia
8. CF David Lough
9. 1B Christian Walker

Yep, that's a Grapefruit League away game lineup if ever I saw one. But Opening Day is a month from Friday!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Jeff McKnight, 1991 Topps #319

I just learned that Jeff McKnight has died of leukemia at age 52, which is a really unfortunate occasion for posting my first card of the former utility player. According to his family, Jeff had been battling the disease for the past decade. The Arkansas native played 45 games for the Orioles between the 1990 and 1991 seasons, seeing time at first base, second base, shortstop, left field, right field, and DH. On September 12, 1990, he hit his first big league home run at a very opportune time. In the bottom of the eighth inning, he led off at Memorial Stadium with a game-tying blast off of Jack Morris, breaking the Detroit starter's shutout. Later in the inning, Cal Ripken delivered the winning run with a bases-loaded single.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Cal Ripken Jr., 1995 Upper Deck #365

I'm sharing this card just because the photo is amazing. Cal Ripken sliding into home at Camden Yards, kicking up a cloud of dust and gazing expectantly at the home plate umpire to see if he was safe. To the right, the catcher (Mariners, I'm thinking) holds up his glove, pleading his case. If this picture was taken in 1994, there were only two potential plays at the plate involving Cal, and he was safe both times. Take that, Dan Wilson!