Saturday, July 30, 2011

Koji Traded to the Rangers

I just saw that Koji has been traded to the Texas Rangers for Chris Davis and Tommy Hunter. While I'm not surprised, I'm still sad. Koji was having a hell of a year and has been one of the few bright spots during a season of disappointment. Hunter is a pretty good pitcher and Davis looks like he could be the Orioles' first baseman of the future. He definitely is now their top 1B prospect, that's for sure. Looks like Brandon Snyder may either be on his way out, too, or may need to shift positions. That may be a little early, but the way it looks now is that Davis will be ahead of him in the pecking order.

I really hate to see Koji go. Good luck in Texas, Koji!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ebay Pickup - 1933 Goudey Rick Ferrell

I used what was left on my Ebay gift card to pick up this 1933 Goudey Rick Ferrell. This is the first Goudey card that I have picked up, so I wanted to make it a Hall of Famer.
Rick Ferrell (b. 1905 - d. 1995) played in the majors from 1929 to 1945 and 1947 for the Browns, Red Sox and Senators. He had 1,692 hits, 28 home runs and a .281 batting average. He was an All Star 7 times. I'm still a little baffled as to why he is a Hall of Famer, having been elected via the Veterans Committee in 1984. I'm assuming it is because during his era, the catching position wasn't known for much offense? Maybe someone can shed some light on that for me.

Ferrell is a native North Carolinian; he was born in Durham and grew up outside of Greensboro in Guilford County.

After doing a little more research on the card, I found out that this is, in fact, Ferrell's rookie card. So, it appears that with a $25 Ebay gift card, I was able to knock out two Hall of Fame rookie cards. A former Oriole and St. Louis Brown. Not too bad.

Rookie Card Pickup - Jim Palmer

I got a $25.00 Ebay gift card from my wife and son for Father's Day and struggled figuring out just what I wanted to get with it. I finally decided to knock a card out that I have been wanting for some time: Jim Palmer's rookie card, a 1966 Topps.

The scan doesn't do the card justice, the centering is really good and there are very few flaws, mainly a dinged corner. I got the card for $13.00 + $3.00 shipping, so I had a little money left over on the gift card for something else.

Palmer (b. 1945) played in the majors from 1965-1967 and 1969-1984. He retired with a record of 268-152, 2,212 strikeouts and a 2.86 ERA. He won 3 Cy Young awards (1973, 75 and 76) and finished second in the voting in 1977 and 1982. He won 20 or more games eight times (1970-1973, 1975-1978). He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1990 with 92.6% of the vote in his first ballot. He played on every Orioles team that reached a World Series (1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1979 and 1983) and won rings in 1966, 1970 and 1983. He was on the winning end of Sandy Koufax's last game in the 1966 World Series, pitching a 4-hit shutout against the Dodgers in Game 2. Palmer prides himself on never having given up a grand slam in his career.

TTM Success - KOJI!

Normally, I doubt someone would be too excited about getting an auto of a pitcher with a career record of 4-7 with a 3.06 ERA and 162 strikeouts...

However, I got this ball in the mail from the Orioles reliever, Koji Uehara yesterday (July 27). I mailed to him on July 20 and got the ball back 7 days later. That's an amazing TAT. Koji is my 23rd TTM success on a ball. As you can see above, the ball looks amazing! Looks like he signed it "Koji".

Initially, I didn't care all that much for Koji. I called him the Snowman because he would melt in the summer heat of Baltimore. He was injury prone and it seemed like all he wanted to do was get on a plane back to Japan. Then, last year he gave up a game winning home run to A-Roid that I was actually able to see a video of. The display of emotion that Koji exhibited when he let his team down showed me that he really cared about his team and that he had a genuine desire to win. After that moment, Koji seemed "lights out: to me.

This year, he has been amazing. Right now, he is one of the few bright spots for the O's in a pretty dismal season. He is sporting an ERA of 1.80 in 41 games (45.0 IP) to go with a record of 1-1. He has 59 strikeouts in those 45.0 innings pitched with only 8 walks! It always seems like the Orioles go for relievers who come into a game and forget how to throw strikes. It's so frustrating. With Koji, however, he comes in and shouts the other teams down.

It appears that Koji is the best trade chip that the O's have right now, although his past injury history and age (36) has a few teams shying away. Koji has a vesting option for $4 million that will kick in if he has 14 more appearances. For $4 million, he would be worth keeping around even if only for peace of mind that the O's would have at least one reliever who wouldn't be sending Earl Weaver scrambling for another pack of cigarettes.

So, I hope the Orioles hold on to Koji. If not for anything else, just to give me someone to pull for this season since Roberts is out. Also, I am glad to admit that my first impression of Koji was a mistake and I am so very happy to have been able to add this ball to my collection. Thanks Koji!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Card Show Trade With Ryan

I have finally gotten a chance to post the cards I got from Ryan in a mega trade at the card show a while ago. It is always nice to meet a fellow blogger in person, and it was especially nice since he and I both are Orioles fans. Ryan was able to take some old O's cards off my hands and help me create room in my O's box in exchange for some cards of players who I really like.I was able to add some Nolan Reimold cards from early in his career. I'm a big Reimold fan, having met him in person last year. I hope he can realize his potential, but I don't know how much playing time he will get with Felix Pie clogging up a spot on the roster. As you can see, Pie has fallen out of favor with me.

The season has been a lost one for my favorite player, Brian Roberts. I am still going to be adding to my Roberts PC anyway. I didn't have this 2004 Gold Topps Chrome. I think these cards looked awesome, by the way.

Here's another Reimold, this time when he was on Team USA. I had forgotten all about that. Nevertheless, I was glad to add this to my collection.

I'm certain I had this card somewhere, but I loved the way it looked, so I added it to my pile. Cal is always a plus and with this sharp design of 1989 Bowman, I was glad to add it. I know the one I had before was in kind of rough shape, due to the 89 Bowman's exaggerated size, but I immediately put it in a top loader so it would fit in the box with the rest of my collection.

Ryan had a good bit of Manny Machado Bowmans cards in his collection that he was willing to part with, so I added 3 versions of it... The base, the chrome and the gold.

I added this Nick Markakis relic to my collection. Nick has had an uneven season so far, but I think by the time the season is over, his stats will match up with his career numbers. He did collect his 1,000th career hit this season and is one home run away from 100. Not bad for someone who has only been in the league since 2006. I wish he would hit for more power, though.

I got this Frank Robinson patch, which was cool. I have plenty of Brooks' stuff, but not nearly enough of 'the other Robinson.' I believe Frank is underrated among the all time greats of the game, and was overshadowed the past decade as tainted sluggers passed him on the all-time home run list.
Finally, I added a card of Cal, Sr. A baseball lifer, Cal, Sr. embodied what was known at 'The Oriole Way.' A no-nonsense hard-nosed style of play that a lot of O's players could benefit from. I doubt the O's will get back to the level of excellence they had from the late sixties to the early eighties.

As you can tell, I'm still upset over the O's current play as of late. I'll get over it, but it has been a real hard season considering the raised expectations brought on by the end of last season and this offseason's signings. Oh well. There's always 5 years from now...

Thanks for the awesome trade Ryan! I hope to see you again at the next show!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Unfinished Business

I attempted to do a TTM to Emilio Navarro back in April, only for him to pass away while my ball was on its way from NC to Puerto Rico where Navarro had lived.

I thought getting Navarro would be cool because at the time, he was the oldest foemer professional baseball player at 105 years old. He played in the Negro Leagues, but not in the majors.

I was saddened to hear of Mr. Navarro's passing and figured that I'd never see my ball again. A few weeks passed and one of my mailers appeared in my mailbox. I opened it, thinking that it was going to be one of my HOF TTMs, but instead, a blank ball was inside. I wasn't sure what to make of it, but deduced that it was, in fact, the ball that I had sent to Navarro.

I thought about sending the ball out to someone else for TTM, but my friend Matt posed a different idea.

He said I should leave the ball the way it is. The box wasn't RTS, it was physically opened in Puerto Rico. It looks like Navarro opened the box with the intention to sign the ball, but didn't get to. So, the ball can stand as a symbol of Navarro's unfinished business and I will keep it with the rest of my autographed items. It will always have the story of ALMOST making it there in time for him to sign.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Playing Catch-Up - Vintage Card Show Pickups

So, I still had a few cards that I wanted to show from 2 card shows ago; a few beat up old vintage cards that I thought looked cool...

I saw this Marty Marion and picked it up because I wanted to have a card that went with the TTM success I got of him a few months before he passed away. I like the old Browns cards and I also really like the 1952 Bowman set. I have a friend who wants to sell me some, so I need to get some money together so I can relieve him of them and maybe start considering putting that set together.
I got another 1952 Bowman, this time it was of Eddie Joost. I wasn't as lucky trying him for TTM. I got a return to sender and he died maybe a week later. I like the navy blue A's colors here, a far cry from today's green and yellow.

Here is a 1951 Bowman Joost as well. I really like the A's colors on this one. I love the old bowman cards and how they are pretty much works of art. Anyone can look at the 1953 Pee Wee Reese and agree with me.

Finally, I got this 1964 Topps Tony Oliva RC for $2.00 from the same vendor. Oliva was a solid major leaguer. I doubt he ever gets into the HOF, but he was solid nonetheless. I love the 1964 set and will definitely try to put that one together sooner than later.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Just Not Feeling It?

Its that time of year. The O's seem to have mailed it in. No TTMs have come in lately. Can't afford to buy any boxes at the moment (more on that later). Therefore, the blog has suffered. Oh, I have plenty of stuff to scan. I have cards from the last 2 card shows still to show off. I have to discuss my awesome trade with Ryan (didn't forget you, man).

BUT> I'm just not feeling it right now.

Here's why:

Over the last 4 months, I have been slammed at work. I mean SLAMMED! Things are slowly catching up, but, man, I'm feeling it. I am physically and mentally exhausted. I'm not complaining, because I enjoy my job, but the heat lately has been awful!

Also, I got some awesome news that my cousin Andreas in Germany is able to come and visit this summer when we originally thought he wasn't going to make it this year. I have rearranged my vacation plans to insure that he is able to come along. So, I will be taking a vacation from July 26 through August 10. Have no fear! There will be several "Blog on Location" posts to come as I am going to a place where I have always wanted to go... Not going to spoil the surprise though, haha.

Sad thing is, though, because I am going to this location, I will be unable (for the moment at least) to make my annual trek to Baltimore. It doesn't look like they'll miss me, seeing as they have played terribly lately. I might try to head that way in September for my birthday.

Speaking of later on in the summer, the biggest thing of all - DAY CARE RAISE! Yep! As of August 25, Chris will no longer be in day care! So, theoretically, I will be $165 a week richer! Woo! Hopefully, that means a few more cards will come in!

So, I'm not taking a break like I did last year. I'm not ready to jump off a bridge. I didn't expect the O's to be in 1st place (although I didn't expect them to be this bad). I'm just tired. A vacation is what I need. I'm going to enjoy the crap out of it, that's for sure!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Taking a Look at my Man Cave - A Work in Progress

So, I thought it would be a good idea to show everyone what I have finally been able to do with my 'man cave.'

This room is the first room that you step into if you are coming from the driveway into our new house, so it was a staging area for boxes for the first few months that we have been here. We finally were able to get rid of a bunch of stuff via a yard sale (and plan on having another very soon). I had a free weekend this weekend, so I hung a bunch of stuff up.

Bear in mind that the room is still taking shape, so there are boxes and stuff still piled in certain areas. I hope to get rid of several boxes at subsequent card shows, but for now, I wanted to show how things have been coming along...

As you come into the room from our living room, you'll see a few of the movie posters, etc that I have. I hung up the Family Guy Blue Harvest and Scarface posters first, but I have a few other movie posters that I would like to hang up as well. There is a beat up china cabinet against the wall that will be sold at the next yard sale because I don't have time to restore it (or a hutch to put it on). Once it gets out of there, I'll have more room, haha.

Our good friend Babe-O-Licious gave my wife the awesome NHL All Star banner from Atlanta for Christmas. We went to that All Star game, so it is awesome that we were able to get our hands on one of the banners.

Here you can see some event posters that I have collected over the years. The 1938 World Series poster is a replica of course. The two wrestling posters came from the grocery store I used to work at. They would put the posters up on the Pepsi machine that we had outside and my manager let me have them when the event was over. The pom poms came from Babe in a collection of Panthers gear that she gave me for Christmas one year.

Here is a better view of that corner. My wife's octopus from the Red Wing games is what is sitting atop my curio cabinet. Inside the cabinet are all baseballs that I had signed in person at various minor and major league games. A few notable baseballs in this curio are Don Zimmer, Mike Bordick, Chris Hoiles and a team signed ball from the Charlotte Orioles (possibly 1984) that a friend from work gave me.

Here you can see Chris in his PJs pointing at old pictures of my Dad's race cars. The china cabinet to the left is one of my prized possessions. Inside it are all of my HOF signed baseballs as well as balls signed by star players, MVPs, Cy Young winners, etc. Please forgive the pile of mess on the table, this is everything I had loaded up for the last card show. I wanted to keep it all in one place in case I decided to do the July show. I decided not to and need to put the stuff away somewhere. I'll get around to it.

Also inside the china cabinet is my dad's helmet from his championship seasons of 1992 and 1993. You can see a connecting rod signed by my dad to the right of the helmet and a piston signed by fellow racer Bill Kuhlmann (given to me in 1993). Inside the helmet is a burnt piston signed by my dad.

To the left are baseballs signed by Orioles (Brooks, Cal, 2 Brian Roberts and obscured by the door frame is Jim Palmer). This shelf houses my HOF balls. The shelf above has Cy Young/MVP winners and other notable players such as Don Newcombe, Marty Marion and Bryce Harper. Not sure if you can make it out, but there is a Phillie Blunt tin box that belonged to my great grandfather. The copyright date on the tin is from the 1920s. My mom rescued it from my dad's shelf in his race shop.

Finally, here is the newest china cabinet that I got last weekend. It came from an elderly couples house that my grandparents purchased in 1989-1990. They bought the house with the intention of moving my great grandmother in, but she, instead lived her final years in their spare bedroom. My parents had the china cabinet in their 'brooder building' (where they have been breeding their exotic birds). I was able to thoroughly clean it with Murphy's wood oil. It looks awesome.

Inside it are my die cast Shirley Muldowney dragsters. My brother Philip picked me up 3 of them while my wife bought the fourth one. I also have my bobbleheads in here (Cal Ripken, Jim Thome and 2 generic Orioles). My Nolan Reimold bobblehead is on my file cabinet in my office at work.

There are plush mascots of the Lansing Lugnuts and Montgomery Biscuits.

There are two additional die cast cars: Blaine Johnson (mom got it for me after Johnson was killed in 1996) and Mark Thomas' Ethanol Funny Car (Mark gave it to me in the mid 90's - he is an awesome man). I walked up to him in St. Louis in 1989 and got his autograph. The next day on the way to the track, he met my parents at the gas station and gave them a stack of signed cards because he remembered us from the day before. Since then, we have kept in touch. He is also the winningest pro driver in IHRA (International Hot Rod Association) history.

So, there you have it. I have a lot more to hang on the walls and organize before I consider the room complete. Of course, it will be an ever evolving endeavour, so things will always be moving in and out of it. I hope you all enjoyed the glimpse into our new house. I plan on adding another post once I consider the room more toward completion.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Jim Thome Bobblehead

We decided to go to another Kinston Indians game last night so I could take advantage of their year-long promotion of honoring past Kinston Indians players. They were giving away Jim Thome bobbleheads at historic Grainger Stadium, and since I am a huge Thome fan, I didn't want to miss it.

I wasn't happy, however, when I was about halfway to the stadium when I realized that I had forgotten my new camera. I was seriously looking forward to trying it out at a game. Oh well, I'll have plenty of time on my vacation to do that.
I don't know why the bobblehead came with 2 bats, as there is only one spot for the bat. Maybe it is an extra, in case one gets lost. Also, there was supposed to be a little sign by his feet, but it had come off of this one. We ended up with 3 bobbleheads. I'm keeping one in my collection, putting one up in Chris' room and we will probably sell the other.

I love the promotions that minor league parks have. I wish I had the time to take advantage of more of them.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Got a New Digital Camera

I was complaining last night about how my digital camera was on it's last legs. Well, I went to Best Buy today and got a new camera. I figured it was about time, since the one we were using was purchased about 7 years ago. A little outdated maybe? I got one that has a lot of awesome features, which I think will be cool to use when taking pictures for this blog.

I used my Robin Yount autographed baseball to quickly show off a couple of the features. I will be taking a vacation later in the month, so it is nice to practice some of the techniques now, so I can fully understand them by the time I head out on said vacation...

This first picture is of the Yount ball using the Vivid Colors feature. As you can see, the signature really pops off of the ball. I think this autograph in particular works like this because he signed it so bold in the first place.

Here is the ball with the Vivid Colors feature when i forgot to turn the flash off... It still looks pretty awesome, though.

I thought I'd give Black and White a try. Its sad that my old camera didn't even have a B&W feature (tat I know of), since I have always loved depth and shading dating back to my art class days. I used to draw pen and ink very well and always enjoyed the various shading techniques. Yeah... I'm very partial to Black and White.

Now, this is a really awesome feature. The color filter feature where you can select one color that you want shown while everything else is black and white. I chose Red, since I thought the stitches would be the most contrasting thing that would show up vs. the black and white backdrop. Pretty cool, right?

Finally, here is a normal shot of the ball with the new camera. Looks so much better than when I took the picture of the ball with my old camera (here).

So, I think, with my baseballs at least, I'm going to try the Vivid Colors feature for blogging purposes. I can't wait to try the camera out at the Kinston Indians game that I'm planning on going to on Friday. We'll see how some of the other features look.

What do you guys think? Its about time I got an updated camera.

Monday, July 4, 2011

July 4th, 2011 Kinston Indians Vs. Frederick Keys

Happy July 4th to everyone out there. I spent the day enjoying my day off... playing Wii with my son and then going to the final 4th of July game at historic Grainger Stadium in Kinston, NC. As you all may know, the Indians are leaving Kinston at the close of the 2011 season. While I am sad that this is happening, I'm not surprised. I'm holding out hope that another team will be taking their place, but who knows if that will happen.

Last year, I took the family to Kinston and left with a game worn 4th of July jersey (read about the game here). This year, the team did a similar promotion, but the jersey was in honor of the military and the numerous nearby military bases, so this year's jerseys were camouflage.

Pretty epic, right? I bid on and won the jersey of Kinston first baseman Jeremie Tice. Tice was drafted in the 38th round of the 2006 amateur draft by the Florida Marlins, but did not sign. He was, then, drafted in the 6th round of the 2008 draft by the Indians.

Tice went 1 for 4 tonight with a single. He is currently batting .252 on the season. The coolest thing about this jersey, and the reason I went for it was because he got it nice and dirty for me! I'm definitely going to keep it as is and display it in that fashion.

Also, Tice autographed the jersey after the game, so I was pretty happy about that.Unfortunately, my digital camera is on it's last legs, so I was only able to snap a few pictures of the game with my handy-dandy cell phone. As you can see here, plenty of people came out to enjoy the smoke filled historic Grainger Stadium (there is an on-going wildfire to the southeast of this area, and the smoke has lingered about for weeks, now). The smoke was pretty harsh tonight, and I still smell like it. Uggh.
Another cool thing about the game was that the Indians were playing the Frederick Keys. I was able to get a baseball signed by Orioles #1 draft pick from the 2010 amateur draft - Manny Machado. I now have baseballs signed by 5 Orioles #1 picks - Manny Machado, Matt Hobgood, Matt Wieters, Billy Rowell and Brandon Snyder.

I hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th of July. I sure did!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Need Help - Who's Autograph is This? (UPDATED)

My parents are in the process of purging a lot of things from their house and I came across this autographed baseball on my mom's shelf in her room. The ball holder had a LOT of dust on it and I cleaned it off. I was thinking that this might be Roger Clemens, initially, but I doubt it now. She would have gotten the ball between 1993-1995, I think. She thinks she has a COA somewhere, but she can't remember where she put it.

So, I am challenging all of you: Does anyone have an idea of who's auto this is? I would greatly appreciate some info. I'm sure it is someone pretty obvious, I mean, if my mom bought it, then it had to have been a star...

I appreciate your help!!!

**UPDATE - Blog readers Greg, Jim and Babe-O-Licious all were helpful and let me know that the auto is of Ryan Klesko. I imagine mom bought it back in the day because Klesko was very popular (and had a solid career in the majors). Thanks everyone for your help!