Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Friday, October 16, 2015

Vintage Fridays: Rick Dempsey, 1979 Topps #593

Yeah, it's only been two weeks and I'm already going through some serious Orioles withdrawal. During the 2015 season, the team added a highlights video to the pregame ritual. As the song "Magic To Do" from Pippin played over the PA system at Camden Yards, clips of O's players and fans both past and present flashed on the center field video board. The first couple of times I saw it live, I rolled my eyes a bit at the schmaltziness of the tune, but ultimately I'm not made of stone. Throughout the video, images of the Birds of the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s were juxtaposed with the current team. I'm a sucker for that kind of thing. You have to know your roots. By the end of the season, I found myself looking forward to watching that two and a half minute video prior to each game. That brings us to this Friday night in mid-October, as I'm vacillating between packing and piddling around on my phone. "Magic To Do" got stuck in my head, completely unbidden, and I had no choice but to see if I could find the video online. I did, and even though it was recorded on somebody else's phone and the sound was somewhat compromised by the chatter of nearby fans, I may have watched it two or three times. And now I'm sharing it with you. No need to thank me.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Jim Palmer, 2003 Topps Record Breakers #RB-JP

Today I had a medium-sized USPS box waiting for me when I got home from work, with the return address of longtime reader Randy. I've had the good fortune to clink glasses (okay, cans) with him at Camden Yards, and I'm sure he won't take it personally when I mention my wife's response to this package full of Orioles cards: "His timing couldn't be any worse." Yes, we're in the process of packing all of our possessions before the big move. No, I didn't let that stop me from ripping the box open and unwrapping all of the carefully-arranged team set bags within. As always, I am grateful for Randy's generosity, and this time in particular he gifted me some real doozies that will make for interesting blog material in the coming weeks and months.

Randy even managed to provide exactly what I was looking for tonight: a new Jim Palmer card to post on the grand occasion of the Hall of Famer's 70th birthday. Not only were Jim's American League-leading ten shutouts in 1975 a team record, but his career total of 53 shutouts are also still 16th-most in MLB history. Just to drive the point home, the O's haven't had ten complete-game shutouts in the past decade...total. Jim Palmer was a once-in-a-generation talent, and it's a different kind of game now. Happy birthday, Cakes, and many more.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Daniel Cabrera, 2004 Leaf #216

With the state of Texas failing all of us, I need to compose the most mature and gracious response I can muster for a Royals/Blue Jays ALCS. Here goes:

Baseball is dumb and we are all dumb for liking it. I didn't want to watch the stupid old ALCS anyway.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Cal Ripken Jr., 1998 Topps #320

One week into the 2015 MLB postseason, I've found a lot to enjoy and celebrate. The Yankees and Cardinals got bounced, so somebody else will have a chance to hoist a World Series trophy; the Blue Jays are the most recent champion among the remaining playoff teams, and they did it in 1993. There have been a lot of tense, back-and-forth games and some standout individual performances. But sadly, I can't say that I've enjoyed Cal Ripken's commentary on TBS' broadcasts. He was a great and intelligent player, but he's just plain awkward in the booth. Last night, he spent an uncomfortable eternity halfheartedly defending Chase Utley's illegal takeout slide from the previous game of the Mets-Dodgers NLDS. I couldn't even tell you what his main argument was, because I was too busy cringing and waiting for Ernie Johnson or Ron Darling to change the subject. I'm not sure why TBS has kept him on the mic for each of the last four postseasons.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Will Clark, 1999 Stadium Club #226

Sometimes I find it hard to believe that Will Clark spent parts of two seasons in an Orioles uniform. It just seems like a weird fit to me. Of course, the O's went 152-172 in 1999-2000, and "the Thrill" missed more than 100 games due to injury in that span, so I guess I'm not going out on a limb here. It's not like the Frank Wren/Syd Thrift teams were stocked with savvy pickups. Take a look at the 1999 roster, and the pitching staff in particular. It's chock full of journeyman and forgotten rookies. Doug Johns, Al Reyes, Jim Corsi, Mike Fetters, Brian Falkenborg, Heathcliff Slocumb, Gabe Molina (?), Doug Linton, a 19-year-old Matt Riley, Ricky Bones...I feel a headache coming on.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Lee Lacy, 1986 O-Pee-Chee #226

I really wish that the Memorial Stadium left field scoreboard was in-focus behind Lee Lacy. I'd like to know what was going on in Baltimore on that particular day in 1985. Were they advertising an upcoming series against Don Mattingly and the Yankees? Maybe giving details on a seat cushion promotional giveaway? Or reminding fans not to mess with Earl Weaver's tomato plants? The possibilities are endless.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Vintage Fridays: Frank Robinson, 1971 Topps #329

I've spent most of my evening watching other teams play postseason baseball, but nobody looked as good doing it as Frank Robinson did with his high, skinny orange stirrups and his contrast-colored, radial-arched name plate. Even home plate umpire Tony Venzon and number five hitter Paul Blair have to give Frank a once-over to take it all in. I hardly need to tell you that the Orioles dispatched the Reds 9-3 in this game, which took place on October 13, 1970 in Memorial Stadium. The O's only outhit Cincy by a 10-9 count, but three of Baltimore's hits left the field of play, and none of Cincinnati's did. Robby and Don Buford each hit a solo homer off of Tony Cloninger, and winning pitcher Dave McNally really blew the game open in the bottom of the sixth with a two-out grand slam off of reliever Wayne Granger. Perhaps buoyed by his rare feat, the Birds' tough lefty went the full nine innings to give his club a 3-0 advantage in the 1970 World Series. The whole thing took just two hours and nine minutes, which probably has something to do with the lack of three-minute commercial breaks between innings. Crazy, I know.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Nick Markakis, 2014 Topps Heritage #106

I haven't been buying many cards lately, because we're moving to a new house at the end of the month (way to bury the lede, Kevin), and all of this cardboard really adds up. But Target went and slapped a $12.99 sticker on a blaster box of 2014 Heritage, and I still haven't wrapped up that ding-danged set yet, so I didn't put the box down after it threw itself into my hands. I didn't do too badly, either. I got a dozen base cards that I needed, and though the few short prints in the blaster were dupes for me, maybe they'll serve as trade bait if anyone else is still working on this set. What's more, each and every one of the eight packs featured a Purple Refractor parallel. I didn't get any personal favorites, so the shiny purple versions of Carlos Santana, Strasburg, Sale, Cano, Arenado, Kimbrel, Josh Hamilton, and Carlos Gomez are also all available for the right offer. One other rarity I pulled was a black-back parallel of the Michael Brantley card. Supposedly every card in the set has a parallel version with this variation, but I couldn't find a listed insertion ratio; it seems that they're pretty rare. Maybe I'll just hold on to that one. At any rate, I certainly got more than I expected out of a marked-down blaster.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Rich Dauer, 1984 Fleer #4

Congratulations to the Houston Astros, who have a date in Kansas City for Game 1 of the ALDS after dispatching the Yankees in the Wild Card Game by a 3-0 margin. There are no former Orioles on Houston's postseason roster, since Scott Feldman is injured and L. J. Hoes spent most of the season cooling his heels at AAA Fresno. But there are still some familiar faces in the navy blue and orange. Rich Dauer mans the first base coach's box for the 'Stros, after spending the previous two seasons managing San Diego's AA San Antonio Missions club. Ex-O's infielder Enos Cabell is a special assistant to GM Jeff Luhnow, and one-time Baltimore pitcher Dyar Miller is the Houston organization's minor league pitching coordinator. It goes without saying that I'll continue moonlighting as an Astros fan in the Division Series; there's no way I'm letting bygones be bygones so soon where the Royals are concerned.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Glenn Davis, 1993 Stadium Club #326

Alright, Astros. Let's lay our cards on the table here. You win tonight, and I'll forgive you for your part in the Glenn Davis trade. I need to know that I can enjoy the rest of the postseason without having to see Joe Girardi's puckered lemon face. You have that power. You can make it happen.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Gregg Olson, 1993 Bowman #465

I hope that the person who chose the photo for this card made a deliberate choice to create the illusion that Gregg Olson was hurling the Bowman logo toward home plate.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Baltimore Orioles, 2004 Topps #641

I wouldn't have thought it possible a week ago, but today the Orioles ended the 2015 season on a five-game winning streak, allowing them to break even at 81-81, good for third place in the American League East. Despite the fact that the O's have collected the most wins in the A. L. since the beginning of 2012, thoughts of the dark days of 1998-2011 (fourteen straight losing seasons) are never that far from my mind. So for all of the challenges that the Birds faced this year, I'm really grateful that they made it back to .500. Now, then...

182 days until Opening Day. What do I do now?

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Brooks Robinson, 2004 Maryland Lottery #44

Brooks Robinson's career high in home runs was 28, coming in his MVP season in 1964. Eddie Murray, who racked up 504 homers in his Hall of Fame career, never hit more than 33 in a single season. Cal Ripken peaked at 34 four-baggers, a number he reached in 1991 en route to his second MVP award. Tonight I braved the cold damp weather and bitter October winds to see Manny Machado (who, I feel the need to remind you, is only 23 years old) hit his 35th home run of the year - his fifth in the last four games - as the O's wrapped up a doubleheader sweep of the Yankees with a 4-3 win in the nightcap. A win in tomorrow's season finale would allow the Birds to end 2015 with a five-game win streak and a break-even record of 81-81. A victory tomorrow afternoon would also possibly deny the Yanks home-field advantage in their wild-card playoff game on Tuesday; they are one game ahead of the Astros, and Houston holds the tiebreaker. If you can't go to the postseason yourself, you might as well play spoiler.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Vintage Fridays: Paul Blair, 1967 Topps #319

In 1969, Paul Blair became the first Oriole to join the 20-20 club - 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Yesterday, Manny Machado hit a pair of home runs and stole two bases in the Birds' 6-4 win over Toronto, giving him 33 homers and 20 steals (both career highs by leaps and bounds). Manny joins Brady Anderson as the only players in team history to go 30-20. Next year's team might look drastically different, but as long as #13 is around, the O's have a good foundation.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Kevin Gausman, 2013 Panini Hometown Heroes #226

I saw a fantastically entertaining game last night at Camden Yards. It breezed by in two hours and 23 minutes, thanks in large part to Kevin Gausman's dominant performance. He struck out 10 Toronto hitters in eight innings, allowing a solo home run to Darwin Barney (out of pity, I suspect) and no more. For the first six innings, the Baltimore hitters made their own contribution to the brisk pace by scraping together a scant two hits against Blue Jays starter R. A. Dickey and reliever Ryan Tepera. But in the home seventh, the Birds broke loose. Manny Machado led off with his 31st home run of the season, and Chris Davis made it back-to-back blasts with his 44th of the year and his career 200th. A J. J. Hardy RBI single and a two-run double by Nolan Reimold capped the five-run inning. The milestones kept coming in the bottom of the eighth. Davis went deep again - his 159th as an Oriole, moving him past Melvin Mora for tenth-most in team history. Two batters later, Matt Wieters crushed a two-run homer, the 100th of his career. Altogether, it added up to an 8-1 trouncing of the front-running Jays.

There was another game earlier yesterday, but I don't remember what happened in that one.