Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Dave Ford, 1991 Crown/Coca-Cola All-Time Orioles #140

With all of the commotion about Brian Matusz last night, the second superlative start of Mike Wright's young career may have gotten lost in the shuffle. The rookie from East Carolina University turned in seven more scoreless innings, limiting the Marlins to three hits and three walks (two intentional), while striking out four. He even delivered the Orioles' only hit with a runner in scoring position, singling through the infield, although he was denied the RBI (and possibly the win) when Marcell Ozuna threw out Travis Snider at the plate.

If you're keeping score, Wright has yet to allow a run in 14.1 innings over his first two starts in the big leagues. The last Baltimore pitcher to begin his career with so many goose eggs was righty Dave Ford in 1978. Ford tossed 15 shutout innings that September, then allowed a first-inning run to the expansion Mariners in his first start of 1979. Elbow and shoulder pain wound up limiting the Cleveland native to five wins, eight starts, and 51 total games pitched in his career. The rest of Mike Wright's story has yet to be written, though.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Brian Matusz, 2011 Topps Allen and Ginter Mini #317

Apparently Brian Matusz is such a freaking sad sack that he can't even cheat successfully. The oft-snakebitten O's lefty was ejected in the 12th inning of a scoreless game between the Orioles and Marlins tonight after the umps determined that he had an illegal substance on his right arm. Buck Showalter was forced to bring in T. J. McFarland, who allowed a walkoff single to Martin Prado with the bases loaded and two outs an inning later, as the Birds wasted another gem of a start by Mike Wright and an impressive debut in relief by Navy's Oliver Drake (three scoreless innings with a putout at home plate of Adeiny Hechavarria as he tried to score on a pitch that bounced).

Incidentally, I'm sorry for my unannounced absence this week. Wednesday Janet and I flew down to Sarasota for her brother's wedding, and I was so busy prepping for the trip that I didn't get a chance to post on Tuesday. I'll just say that our stay in Florida was much more enjoyable than tonight's 13-inning shutout loss.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Adam Jones, 2011 Topps Heritage #145

Yesterday represented an impressive collision between two of my favorite pastimes. I attended yesterday's Orioles game with my wife and my sister, since they were interested in the wristlet giveaway. With the freebies, the O's Dugout Club promotion for kids, and probably a handful of time-travelers from the future who wanted to see starting pitcher Mike Wright dominate the Angels in his big league debut, there was an impressive crowd of 41,733 packing Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Consequently, by the time I parked in one of the auxiliary lots and made it through the gates, Wright was taking his warmup pitches to the tune of 1990s WWF star Razor Ramon's entrance theme. I thought that was just excellent taste on the rookie's part, but it just so happens that the Birds were celebrating the presence of World Wrestling Entertainment in Charm City for last night's Payback pay-per-view. Unfortunately, I missed WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins throwing out the ceremonial first pitch to Adam Jones. But I was still greatly entertained by the wrestling theme playlist that the Orioles put together for their at-bats and pitching warmups. The rest of their choices:

-Manny Machado - the Rock
-Jimmy Paredes - Rey Mysterio
-Adam Jones - Real American (Hulk Hogan), John Cena
-Delmon Young - Sexual Chocolate (Mark Henry)
-Chris Davis - Big Show
-Steve Pearce - Mick Foley
-J. J. Hardy - Kurt Angle
-Travis Snider - Chris Jericho
-Caleb Joseph - I couldn't figure his out. They only played it for one of his three AB's
-Brad Brach - Brock Lesnar (genius!)
-Zach Britton - Tazz

Just as I was wondering why nobody went with Stone Cold Steve Austin's iconic theme, Britton sealed the win by striking out Johnny Giavotella, and the shattering glass of Austin's theme came blaring through the PA system. Well played, O's.

With the rest of his Sunday free and a day off today, Jones showed up in the first row at the Royal Farms Arena for WWE Payback last night, complete with a replica of the World Heavyweight Title slung over his shoulder. The New Day stable (Kofi Kingston, Big E, and Xavier Woods) earned the ire of the crowd by acknowledging Adam and quickly pointing out that the Birds are in the midst of a 32-year World Series drought. Jerry Lawler claimed that J. J. Hardy and Steve Pearce were at the show with Jones, but I don't think they were the guys sitting next to him on camera.

So yeah, this was all extremely relevant to my interests...your mileage, as always, may vary.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mike Devereaux, 1993 Upper Deck #167

I need a distraction, since the Orioles are now four games under .500 and their bats are missing in action. So I've turned to the excellent 1993 Upper Deck set to see if I can pinpoint the date that this photo was taken. Go figure - it's an Orioles-Angels game, though it's in Anaheim, unlike the current weekend series in Baltimore. Lance Parrish is catching, Mike Devereaux is batting, and there's a Caucasian runner edging off of third base. With Parrish behind the plate, we've narrowed it down to either June 1, 1992 or June 3, 1992. Devo batted with Billy Ripken on third base in both of those games, but only the Wednesday, June 3 game was played in the afternoon hours. So that is our game, and unfortunately the Birds suffered a walkoff 4-3 loss in 10 innings. However, there was a positive outcome from this particular at-bat in the top of the seventh inning. Mike greeted reliever Mark Eichhorn with a single, scoring Ripken and giving the O's a short-lived 3-1 lead. Bob Milacki served up a tying two-run homer to Gary DiSarcina in the bottom of the inning, and it stayed tied until Rene Gonzales scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Lee Stevens in the bottom of the tenth. So it goes.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Vintage Fridays: Kiko Garcia, 1978 Topps #287

Here's a fun, meaningless tidbit that dawned on me last night: both Chico Garcia and Kiko Garcia played for the Orioles. Vinicio "Chico" Garcia was a star player and manager in his native Mexico, but his only big league experience came with the O's in 1954. The 29-year-old played sparingly at second base for Baltimore, batting .113 (7-for-62) with eight walks, two triples, and five RBI in 39 games. You might be more familiar with Alfonso "Kiko" Garcia, the California-born shortstop who plied his trade in Charm City from 1976 through 1980, batting .232/.278/.317 with nine homers and 78 RBI. His claim to fame was his performance in the 1979 World Series, when he collected eight hits in 20 at-bats for an even .400 average against the Pirates. He drove in six Oriole runs and scored four others, accounting for a sizable chunk of the team's total output of 26 runs.

In a nutshell, that's the story of Chico and Kiko.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Harvey Haddix, 1991 Crown/Coca-Cola All-Time Orioles #172

If Harvey Haddix didn't have the most leathery face of any player in Orioles history, I can't imagine who has him beat. He looks like somebody left Don Knotts out in the sun.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sidney Ponson, 2005 Donruss #114

Last night was one of the dog-ugliest Oriole games I've ever had the misfortune of seeing in person, which is saying a lot. I've lived through the days of Sidney Ponson, Daniel Cabrera, Radhames Liz, and the rest. But rarely have I seen the O's carry a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning, only to lose 10-2. Back-to-back four-run innings will do that. Overall, the home team had as many miscues as hits (five of each). Three errors, a passed ball, and a wild pitch. Oh, and two hit batters. Thankfully, neither of them was Jose Bautista, so there weren't any fisticuffs or shouted profanities. I'll say one thing: traffic leaving the stadium was incredibly light, so I guess I'll thank the Birds for getting me home by bedtime.

The merciful thing about baseball is that you get 162 chances to play each season. Tonight's game is looking more like the Orioles I expect to see, as they're up 6-1 on Toronto with three outs left to get. Two out of three ain't bad.