Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Leo Gomez, 1990 CMC Minors #311

Snazzy glasses there, Leo Gomez. I'm pretty sure that my dad had a pair just like them. In my hazy memories, there were maybe three or four sets of frames for glasses in the 1980s. You didn't have much of a choice, so you usually got stuck with a pair that swallowed up half of your face. It was not a good time to have vision problems. I'm just grateful that my eyes tolerate contact lenses, so I don't have to worry about these fashion faux pas...any more. There are pictures from my childhood and adolescence that I need to go bury in the bottom of a deep, dark hole.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Gregg Olson, 1991 Donruss #393

Valued reader Zach left a comment on yesterday's blog entry requesting the zesty green border of 1991 Donruss Series 2, which solved my daily dilemma of which card to post. The base cards in this set are enough of an eyesore, with their neon Trapper Keeper stripes and splotches in the margins, but the MVP subset cranks it to 11. The goofy clip art baseballs in the background of the photo are reminiscent of Donruss' 1987 set, and the bold yellow "MVP" wordmark on top, complete with rainbow gradient drop shadow, complete the sensory overload.

As for Gregg Olson: with all due respect to the Otter, the fact that Donruss tabbed him as the most valuable player for the Orioles in the just-concluded 1990 season is emblematic of the team's tumble to fifth place in the East. The Birds' sophomore closer was very good, with a 2.42 ERA, 37 saves, and 74 strikeouts in 74.1 innings. But if the standout player on your club is only on the field for the equivalent of eight-plus games, there are probably some everyday players who didn't meet expectations.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Eddie Murray, 1997 Pinnacle #65

It's rare that I go a full weekend without posting unless I'm out of town, but for the past two days I was busier than Eddie Murray at an ass-kicking contest. On Saturday I put my new home brewing kit to the test and started making my first homemade beer, an IPA. I did not expect it to take six hours. All that, and it still won't be ready to drink for another four weeks. The next time I buy a six-pack from the store, I'll be a little more appreciative of the convenience for the price. We spent all afternoon on Sunday doing some much-overdue cleaning around the house. I can neither confirm nor deny that we left our Christmas decorations up for a full month after Christmas. Then last night, I made the 90-minute drive up to Philadelphia with a couple of friends to view WWE's Royal Rumble live from the Wells Fargo Center. So that's why I was missing in action...not that you asked.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Vintage Fridays: Don Buford, 1970 Topps #305

There you have it: photographic proof that the Orioles briefly led the 1969 World Series, coming out on top in the opener in Baltimore. Don Buford homered off of Tom Seaver in his first ever Fall Classic at-bat, and Mike Cuellar went the distance in a 4-1 victory over the Mets. This picture is of course the aftermath of Buford's trip around the bases, as the left fielder is greeted by a grinning bat boy and a dugout full of jubilant teammates and coaches. Brooks Robinson stands to the left, shouting for joy and holding his arms open to receive the hero of the moment.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chris Richard, 2001 Upper Deck MVP #68

Here we see Chris Richard employing the rarely-used and since-discredited "Itsy Bitsy Spider Technique" for fielding ground balls. The Orioles fired their infield coach later that night.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Johnny Oates, 1991 Crown/Coca-Cola All-Time Orioles #340

Today would have been Johnny Oates' 69th birthday. It's hard to believe that he's been gone for ten years, his life cut short by brain cancer. Just a few weeks ago, I visited Oates' birthplace of Sylva, a quiet town in the mountains of western North Carolina. I didn't make the connection at the time; my wife and I were visiting her favorite haunts from her undergrad days at Western Carolina University. But it was a fine place, fitting for such a beloved man. I hope he's in an even better place now.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Javy Lopez, 2004 Donruss World Series #WS-18

The January 20 weather report from Baltimore: Gray. Chilly. Rainy. But I took an important step towards Spring this morning my booking a flight for Sarasota. At the end of March, my wife, my sister, and I will be spending a long weekend on the west coast of central Florida. We're staying with my wife's brother while we're down there, and catching a Grapefruit League game or two at Ed Smith Stadium. I'll be counting the days over the coming weeks until I can see for myself just how much the Orioles have improved their spring training situation since I last went south in 2007. Back then, the Birds were still hosted by Fort Lauderdale, where the home park was across the street from a ramshackle soccer stadium and down the road a piece from a Wendy's with an ant infestation. As you can see, Javy Lopez put on a brave face in 2004 for his first preseason in Lauderdale, but it must have been a shock to his system after previously training with the Braves at Disney World. The O's might not have digs at the Happiest Place on Earth, but at least they're not doing their weight training in a tent in the parking lot any more. (Yes, that really happened.)