Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cal Ripken Jr., 1996 Upper Deck #115

"Young at Heart" was a subset in the 1996 Upper Deck base set that highlighted prominent veterans. If you think about it, it's kind of condescending, though. "Sure, your best days are behind you, but you're only as old as you feel!" The career dates at the bottom of the card (1981 and 1996, in this case) seem like an epitaph. But hey, at least Cal Ripken's card features an awkward photo of him standing at a podium in the middle of the diamond. Harold Baines is also featured in the subset, should you be wondering.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Jeremy Guthrie, 2009 Topps Heritage #12

Jeremy Guthrie is starting Game Seven of the World Series tonight. There's a sentence I didn't ever think I'd type. Of course, the ex-Oriole is taking the mound for the Royals in this evening's winner-take-all contest against the Giants. I'm actually rooting for San Francisco; the Orioles' ALCS sweep at the hands of Kansas City still stings, and many of my favorite non-O's (including Pablo Sandoval, Tim Hudson, Tim Lincecum, and the delightfully gooberish Hunter Pence) play for the Giants. Guthrie's post-Game Three press conference in the ALCS, in which he wore a shirt that said, "These O's Ain't Royal", stirred up a lot of anger in Baltimore because it was considered to be kicking his former club while they were down. Once the smoke cleared, I was actually more disappointed to learn that the phrase on the offending shirt was a parody of a line from a Chris Brown song. Brown, for the uninitiated, is a garbage person. So I'm not going to hold some silly lifelong grudge against Jeremy for a pretty dumb clothing choice, but I'm not exactly going to cheer him on, either. When it comes down to it, I'll be pulling for the team in orange and black. Makes sense, doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Mike Mussina, 2001 Fleer Triple Crown #174

This is a pretty wild photo. Only Mike Mussina's index finger is extended, and it appears as though the baseball is sailing right off of the tip of that finger. It's not a release that I'm used to seeing.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ryne Duren, 1991 Crown/Coca-Cola All-Time Orioles #117

Ryne Duren is one of the numerous early-era Orioles who found his fame either before or after passing through Charm City. Duren had signed with the franchise back when they were still the St. Louis Browns, in 1949. He made his big league debut in the O's inaugural season in Baltimore, relieving Don Larsen after the starter allowed three runs in two innings against the White Sox on September 25, 1954. Duren fared no better, also yielding a three-spot in two innings, though at least one of his runs was unearned. It mattered little, as the punchless Birds were blanked on five hits by Billy Pierce in their season finale, 11-0. It was their 100th loss, a nice, round number.

Duren never pitched another game for the Orioles, and eventually resurfaced with the Athletics in 1957. They traded him to the Yankees later that season, and wouldn't you know it, he had a brief burst of stardom. He was an All-Star reliever in New York in 1958 and 1959, accumulating a 9-10 record, a 1.95 ERA, and 34 saves in those two seasons. He struck out 10.8 batters per nine innings, helping to offset the 5.1 batters per nine that he walked. The bespectacled, hard-throwing righty was never that effective again, as he struggled with alcoholism throughout his career. However, he sobered up after he was through in baseball and spent the second half of his life counseling others about the dangers of addiction. He was 81 when he passed away in 2011.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Hank Foiles, 1991 Crown/Coca-Cola All-Time Orioles #138

It's been a relatively quiet weekend on this blog because I'm on the road again. I'm in Richmond, VA (birthplace of Hank Foiles!) to see a Chikara Pro Wrestling show with some friends. Back to normal tomorrow, I suspect.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Vintage Fridays: Rich Coggins, 1974 Topps #353

This is a card that I intend to upgrade some day, especially since I intend to complete the 1974 Topps base set. You can see the shmutz (technical term) on the left border, and the print is a bit out of focus. I've been staring at the card, and I still can't tell whether it's miscut or if I just scanned it crooked. Like most things in life, a baseball card collection is forever a work in progress.

In 1974, Rich Coggins must have felt as fuzzy as he looks on this card. A year earlier, he had batted .319/.363/.468 (134 OPS+) in 110 games as a 22-year-old rookie. His nine triples were second on the club only to fellow rookie Al Bumbry's 11. He was also the Orioles' first runner-up to Bumbry (.337) in batting average. But the hits didn't fall in for Coggins as a sophomore. He had a brutal April (.154/.241/.250), and things didn't get a whole lot better from there. Aside from a .354 average in July, the outfielder didn't bat above .250 in any single month. He finished the year at .243/.299/.319 (81 OPS+), which didn't really cut it. The year ended on a particularly sour note for Coggins, as he took an 0-for-11 collar in the team's ALCS loss to the Athletics. He did steal 26 bases in 32 tries, combining with Don Baylor and Paul Blair to give the O's a trio of outfielders with at least 26 steals apiece. But Rich wouldn't get a chance to reverse his fortunes in Baltimore, as the Birds shipped him north to Montreal with Dave McNally in exchange for Mike Torrez and Ken Singleton.

As bad as 1974 seemed for Coggins, things were worse beyond Charm City. His major league career had only two more seasons and 103 games left to it, as he compiled a measly .498 OPS (43 OPS+) for three teams. I've read that a thyroid condition was to blame for his abbreviated and downward-trending career. How frustrating it must have been to be robbed of his livelihood at age 25.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rick Krivda, 1996 Collector's Choice #11

Oh no! Rick Krivda is being forced to pitch in front of a giant American flag for some reason! Only you can save him now.