A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Sunday, March 31, 2013

All-Time Saves Leader


Alma 7:14 -  Now I say unto you that ye must arepent, and be born again; for the Spirit saith if ye are not born again ye cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven; therefore come and be baptized unto repentance, that ye may be washed from your sins, that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world, who is mighty to save and to cleanse from all unrighteousness.

Happy Easter to all of those who are blessed enough to know that Rivera isn't the all-time leader in SAVES.

Sorry if it sounds corny, but if you can't talk about Jesus on Easter, when are you gonna do it?

A Few Updates

It's been a crazy busy week here in central Texas.  My 5th graders are getting geared up for the STAAR tests, an assessment of how good they are at... taking tests.  The pressure is not just on for the kiddos, but for the teachers as well.  Last year in 4th grade, less than half of these kids passed the tests, but now in 5th, if they don't pass it, they get "retained" in 5th grade (they'll have another chance before the year ends, and then another one after summer school).

So, anyways, gearing up for that has been brutal, everyone in the school is on edge.  Fun times.

Due to that, along with other Easter festivities, I'm trying to catch up on some trades that have come my way in the past few days/weeks, all in one post.  I think this should take care of most of them...

First up, a PWE that came from Robert at $30 A Week Habit.  Chase Headley has been given pretty lavish treatment from the Heritage set - there are nine different versions of his base card, which is a high numbered short print.  I don't normally care for things like that, but since it happens so rarely, and I think Chase is a great guy and a great player, I'd like to see if I can track 'em all down.  Two down (this one and the chrome version)... seven to go...

Next up, another PWE from Victoriano, the Wax Captain.  He sent me the last two cards that I thought that I wanted from this year's Topps set, two of my favorite non-Padres, a White and a Red Sock.  Just don't wash 'em together.  Since looking over the cards online, I've decided that there are a few others that I'd like to get ahold of, check out the want list and if you've got 'em, I'll take 'em.

He also sent me this sweet looking CQ card.  Dude has got some serious hair in this picture, giving Joe Mauer a run for his Head & Shoulders endorsement.  I'd be lying if I didn't say that me an my thinning hairline weren't just a little bit envious.

 Next up is a few cards from yet another PWE, this one from Brian, a reader in Pennsylvania.  He actually took the time to look at my Heritage trade list and sent me a few off of my Heritage want list!  Novel idea, right?  He also gave me the sweet bonus of a few random Padres, including this John Flaherty card.  This is my first of him in catcher's gear for the Padres, which is awesome.

The last part of the post shows some cards from Weston over at Fantastic Catch.  I pulled a Jason Motte jersey relic from this year's Heritage set, and he said he needed it.  In return, he sent me a decent stack of Friars, including three Tony Gwynn cards that I didn't already have.  These were two of them, the other one will make it onto a GWYNNsday post at some future date.

The gem of the package that Weston sent was this Yonder Alonso card from 2008 Topps Debut.  Yonder's rocking the Louisville Bats uniform here, and it looks pretty cool, in my opinion.

Weston also sent a few coins of some retired Friars, which I thought were pretty cool.  It seems pretty weird to put them in regular binder pages, but it'll havta do for now.

Anyways, thanks to all of theses great people for the trades!  Now that I have some of those off my back (although I still have two more that are in "draft" mode), I can try to catch back up on "The Other 29" posts, finish my Spring Training 2013 post, detail my second ever card show (first since last year), and post part two of Dave's (my father in law's) Big Box: The Attic.  I know, cliffhanger, right?  Stay tuned.

Oh, and Happy Easter to everybody out there!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Forty-six Down, Seven To Go

At the beginning of the year, I made some collecting goals (because apparently that's something that cardbloggers do).  One of them was to finish a vintage Padre team set.  I'm not a huge fan of the 1970 or 1972 designs, so I set my sights on the sets from 1969, 1971, and 1973.  I didn't want to get too ambitious, so I just said that I wanted to finish one of them, whatever ended up happening first.

Well, it turns out that through some thrifty eBay lots and some generous trades, I've been able to get a pretty good start on the '71 and '73 sets.  It's only the end of March, and (as you can tell by looking at the "Cards I Collect" counter on the sidebar) I have 87% of the '71 Padres taken care of, as well as 87% of the '73 Friars.  As the title of the post might lead you to believe, of the 53 cards in both sets, I only need seven left to complete both.  All are of the high-numbered short print variety, so we'll see how it goes tracking those down.

The four most recent additions to the vintage sets came from a reader and Giants fan named mrhavercamp.  I'd heard of him from trades with Adam from the Arpsmith blog.  He emailed me and said that he had some vintage Padres that I could use, and I sent him some mini's and a handful of Giants in return.


From looking at his stats, I first thought that Gary Ross might be an Original Padre (from the 1968 expansion draft).  However, upon further review, he pitched in two games for the Cubbies in 1969 before being traded to San Diego for Dick Selma.  That year, he pitched a semi-decent 4.19 ERA, to go along with a miserable 3-12 record.  Wikipedia tells us that he set a Padres record for losing 11 consecutive decisions.  

Ron Slocum, however is an Original Padre.  Though a California boy, he was signed by the Pirates circa-1964, though never made the big club.  The Padres took him with the 55th pick in the expansion draft.  He got his first taste of the big leagues the following year, playing in 13 games in 1969, and hit a respectable .292.  He didn't improve in 1970, hitting .141 in 60 games, and he was sent down to AAA in 1971 after going hitless in his first 20 plate appearances.  He wouldn't make it to the majors again.

Man, those were kind of depressing bios.  Let's see if the additions to the 1973 set will lighten the mood...


Mike Caldwell was drafted by San Diego in 1971.  While he wasn't known for being over 400 pounds and doing backflips during his magic act (that was a different Mike Caldwell), he did pitch for the Padres for three years ('71 to '73) and compile an ERA of 3.80.  His win-loss record, however, wasn't much better than Ross', as he went 13-25 during that stretch.  He was traded in 1973 to the Giants, in a trade that brought Willie McCovey to the Friars.  That's pretty good, right?

Plus, on a good note for Mr. Caldwell, he went 22-9 in 1978, winning the AL Comeback Player of the Year award and coming in second to Ron Guidry in the Cy Young balloting.

DING DING DING DING DING!  Steve Arlin is another Original Padre, taken with the 57th pick in the Expansion Draft.  A quick glance at his stats suggests that if I'm looking for greatness, I've probably come to the wrong place; in 1971, he led the league with 19 losses.  Ouch.  Ok, everybody's entitled to a bad year.  How did he follow up the next year?

He topped his loss total by losing a whopping 21 games!  Not only that, he also led the league in walks (122) and wild pitches (15).  Double ouch.  Once again, wikipedia enlightens us by informing the world that he took up dentistry during his playing career, and became a dentist after his playing career.  I wonder if it was a suggestion by somebody with the Padres organization?

It wasn't all bad for Steve, however.  He biggest claim to fame is that in 1972, he came within ONE STRIKE of what would've still been the only Padre no-hitter, when he gave up a single to Phillies hitter Denny Doyle.  Padres third baseman Dave Roberts had been told by manager Don Zimmer to play shallow to anticipate a bunt, but Doyle hit a high chopper over the head of Roberts to notch the first Phillies hit of the day, a ball that  Roberts would've normally been able to get to.

So, does knowing about Caldwell and Arlin make me feel better or worse about these cards?

Well, I'm not an idiot, so I already knew that the history of the Padres wasn't littered with All-Stars.  It's characters like these four that are important parts of the intricate tapestry that make up the fabric of my beloved Padres.  These are of course needed acquisitions to the collection, and they are also pretty cool in my book.  Thanks a lot Jim!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Other 29: Indians


As a countdown to the 2013 season, I'll be doing a feature on each Major League team.  This has been done before - probably better - in other places by other people.  I'll try to mix it up as much as I can though.  I am listing the teams in order of proximity to my current location; central Texas.  I'll be doing one of these posts (hopefully) every other day sporadically, with the last post featuring the Padres on Opening Day. Enjoy!

Well, today is March 25, and by my watch, there are only six days until Opening Day.  I’ve been slacking on “The Other 29” posts, but with vacation and then a slew of trade posts to get through, I won’t be close to finishing by April 1 (March 30 is not Opening Day, the season starts when the Padres take on the Mets). 

However, this is team #17, so we’re at least past the midway point.  I just may finish this thing.

On to Cleveland!

DISTANCE?
1,345 miles.

DO I LIKE 'EM?
Meh.

SHARE MY FEELINGS?
Things that come to my mind when I think of Cleveland:  Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, Drew Carey, Betty White,  Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, and angry mobs burning LeBron jerseys.  Then the Indians.

For what it’s worth, I like that they’re still called the Indians and haven’t caved in to any “politically correct” groups calling for a name change because they think it’s racist.  Maybe it’s just because I’m an insensitive non-Native American, but it doesn’t bother me.  “Redskins” still kinda surprises me, though.

In my last year of Little League, my team was the Indians.  We were pretty lousy.

My two favorite Indians are Omar Vizquel and Asdrubal Cabrera.  Have the Indians had a bad short stop in recent history?

FRIAR CONNECTIONS?
Joe Carter is the first player that comes to mind who played for both teams, though he had the most success with the Blue Jays.  I seem to have a few Josh Barfield cards that show him in a Padre uniform, but have an Indians logo on them, since he was traded to Cleveland for Kevin Kooooooouzmanoff.  Damian Jackson, who reminded me a lot of Josh Barfield, was drafted by the Indians and later made his way from the Reds to the Padres when we traded away my man Greg Vaughn.

FAVORITE PLAYERS?
Former: Omar Vizquel
 

Current: Asdrubal Cabrera
 

LEAST FAVORITE PLAYERS?
Former: Albert Belle

Current: Nick Swisher?  But maybe it’ll rub off now that he’s no longer a Yankee.

FAVORITE CARDS?
I don't have very many "good" Tribe cards.  I would consider these to be my favorites.  The middle card of Sandy Alomar is one of my favorite non-Padre cards of all time.  I like Tom Candiotti, and finding cards of him not in a Dodger uniform is always a bonus.  I love Asdrubal Cabrera, and that is a very shiny card of his, though I prefer shots like the one at the beginning of the post, since he's mostly known for his glove.

The obligatory 1992 Pinnacle portion of the post.  Jim Thome was one of the big rookies from the set.  Felix Fermin has a pretty awesome photo in this one, I'm assuming he was jumping on a trampoline during this shot.  And that would be Kenny Lofton driving the lane in the middle.

A couple of horizontal cards here, displayed vertically.  Why did I do that?  I don't know.  I do know that that is a pretty snazzy card of Carlos Baerga, and the Aaron Cunningham card from last year's Topps set is pretty great as well.  They are also both former Padres, so I probably should've mentioned them in the "Friar Connections" section.

PREDICTIONS?
Michael Bourn keeps doing his thang as a member of the Tribe, while Trevor Bauer has some rocky moments, showing flashes of brilliance in the American League.  Chris Perez continues to look like a character from a Geico commercial, and Carlos Santana still doesn’t play the guitar as well as the other guy named Santana.

Missing Home


Does anybody else like 2004 Studio cards?  While some of Studio's past issues have been a little rough on the eyes for me, I'm a fan of this particular edition.

Ok, scratch that, I only have one card from that set.  It happens to be the above card of Aki Otsuka, which I got from Tim over at Home of the Toddfather.  What can I say, I've been home for less than a week, and I'm already thinking of San Diego again.  But just look at the skyline!  Sun setting, boats on the water... what else do you need?

Anyways, onto the highlights of the rest of the goods sent from the Volunteer State...

A sweet looking pair of Gwynns.  I'd never seen this 1992 Stadium Club "All-Stars" card of Capt. Video before, so I emailed him and snatched it up off his "trade bait" page.  The Goodwin Champions card is also cool because it's part of the "Preview" set, and looks a lot better than the card that came in the actual set.

Here's the back of the Stadium Club card.  Not sure when it was released, but seeing as how it's a card from 1992, and it has his first half stats from that year, I'm guessing it was near the end of the year.  And look, his home is Poway, my hometown!

I've seen this Hoffman card on other blogs a handful of times before, and I'm glad to say that I've got my own copy now.  Oh Trevor, what a cut-up.


Here is a quartet of cardboard that's making it way into my Player Collection binder.  I need to create a master list of Archi Cianfrocco cards.  I have 31 total, and besides fancy parallels, I have to think that I'm getting pretty close to a complete set.  The Skybox Finley is marred by an note that says he signed with the Diamondbacks in the offseason.  Don't remind me...

Last but not least, a Pacific card of my all-time favorite Angel, Darin Erstad.  The card looks decent enough, but a closer look shows that this vicious hack is actually just a harmless foul ball, as the ball is just below the "S" in his last name.  Oh well.

Anyways, a great set of cards, some that make me a little homesick, but I'll be fine.  The hardest part of any activity post-vacation is getting back into the swing of things at work, so once things settle down there, I'll be back into a groove in my life in good 'ol Texas.  Thanks again for the cards, Tim!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Look At These First!

When I package up some cards for a trade, like most people, I use those little plastic "team" bags that are so nifty.  If there are some cards that I think the receiver will really like, I usually put them in the middle.  I always assume that if any of the cards are going to be damaged, they're going to be the ones on the sides.

Upon arriving home from vacation last week, however, I found a package from Dustin (from the Vealtones blog, and the newest - only? - doctor in cardblog-land) that utilized a different strategy: the primo cards were the very first ones looking at me in the front of the team bags.  How did he know which ones I would like the most?  I guess I might be more predictable than I thought.  Let's check out the four "first" cards in each of the team bags.

This was in front of the first team bag I ripped into.  Can't ever go wrong with Archi Cianfrocco cards.  Even if I already have 'em, I hold onto 'em.  Fortunately for me, this was one that I didn't have.  I really dig first editions of Topps' gold cards, and fortunately I've gotten a few of them in trade packages, because all the ones that I have from packs are of some pretty... unimpressive players.  Never anybody as spectacular as Archi.

The next one I opened was even better.  Looking right at me (or, I guess looking above me) was a Fred McGriff card from good 'ol back-in-the-day Triple Play.  Right off the "Most Wanted" list!  How can you not love a card that has the players name in small cursive letters at the bottom, with his awesome nickname in a big, shiny foil font at the top?  CRIME DOG!

Then there was cool Cam Maybin, just hanging out like there wasn't a care in the world in the front of team bag numero tres.  Probably enjoyed the ride from Michigan to Texas; sitting in front is like riding first class.  Dustin had given me a bunch of sweet looking cards to choose from as my "hit", since I had sent him some pretty decent cards on from my end, if I do say so myself.  This was the one I chose.  I think bat relics are cooler than jersey ones, and this is bat relic numero dos in my collection, right next to Martin Prado.

BOOM!  Tony Gwynn rookie!  Dustin had mentioned he was sending this one as well, because, in his words, "You don't have a Gwynn rookie, right? Well, you need one, sir."  Well, I couldn't agree more with him.  At the time of our first email, I had zero Gwynn rookies, and now I have two.  He had mentioned that it "wasn't pristine", but the little ding in the top right corner is a small price to pay for an awesome card of Mr. Padre.

On top of those four great cards, those four team bags were filled with other great Padre cards...

Does anybody watch "Prime Nine" on MLB Network?  Pretty good show.  The only thing I don't like about the "Gold Leaf All-Stars" is that, since they're double sided, all of the necessary trademark logos are printed on the picture of the player.  Some guy named Don Mattingly is on the flip side of this McGriff.  As if it ever needed to be flipped over.

I LOVE these Benito Santiago cards.  The one from the '91 All-Star Game in Toronto is awesome, and the only mark against the Triple Play card is the Marlin's logo on the bottom right.  Why Benny, why?

Here are a bunch of older Padres.  A top row full of Hall of Famers, including a sweet card of Ozzie that I'd never seen before.  The bottom row, however, is even more interesting.  Steve Swisher, shown in the rocking' eye-black, is Nick's dad.  Clay Kirby will go into the Original Padre section of my binder (trying to put together a set of players who were taken as part of the inaugural draft in 1968).  And Billy Almon is a former Friar first round pick in 1974.

Some late 90s Padres, great photos all.  Hitchcock was the man in 1998, blowing past the Astros and Braves to lead the Padres to the World Series.  Greg Vaughn was a beast that year as well, and Langston was a veteran in the rotation.

I think these are my first cards from the Ted Williams Company.  Nate Colbert and Randy Jones are Padres greats, so it's cool to see them given some props here.  Love Nate's sideburns and Randy's gold and brown uniform.

Thought I'd throw these up here as well, Ben Davis was a big prospect bust for the Padres, but he's got some decent cards, and this is my first Homer Bush card.  The coolest one of this bunch, though, is Jake Peavy in the middle.  A pitcher that's bunting, plus the card is serial numbered to 250.  Not too shabby at all.

Overall, a most excellent group of Padres!  This batch caused me to max out my "Misc. Padres" binder, and run out of pages as well.  There have been worse problems.  Thanks, good doctor!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dave's Big Box


Like I teased earlier, here are the goods that I plucked from a few boxes that Dave, my father-in-law, had stashed in his attic.  Made an already great vacation even better!  Without further ado, let's dive right in...

This is a popular card among bloggers, but I didn't think I'd ever get ahold of it, since I don't get many non-Padres in trades, and I didn't want to go out and buy it when there are so many Padre cards out there to get.  When I saw this one, I grabbed it immediately.

Don't worry, though, there were plenty of cards that took care of my player collections as well.  A few Cianfrocco's and Finley's that I didn't already have, which were awesome.  This is my first Hoffman card from his Reds playing days.  There were a bunch of Gwynns, and even a small handful that I needed.  These were my favorites, since Tony was a "90's Dominator", and on the other card, he's wearing Reggie Sanders' jersey.  Kinda weird.

There weren't a whole lot of regular old Padres that I needed, but these were three that will fit into my binders nicely.

I thought it was cool to see a bunch of future former Padres in the box as well, show's that me and Dave have similar taste.  Sorry the shot is blurry here, all of these pictures were taken with the camera on my phone.  I love the action shot of John Flaherty in catchers gear from '92 Fleer Ultra, and I also love the randomness of the shot of Scott Livingstone, swinging in front of what is probably the shed in his backyard.

 There were a bunch of cards from the 1992 FanFest, which was held in San Diego.  He didn't have the whole set, so I didn't feel bad cherry-picking a few for my mini-player collections.

 Here are some more cards for my "second-tier" player collections.  I thought the Gossage/Ryan card was especially cool, one that I hadn't seen before.

One more shot of random cards that will make their way into the binders.  The Marcus Allen was the lone football pickup - what can I say, I guess you gotta make exceptions for your namesake.

Here are a few items that I thought were especially cool.  The promo sheet for 1992 Pinnacle and Score is a little worn on the corner of the Mattingly card, but is still in pretty good shape.  I've seen these before, but they were always out of my price range.  Now it doesn't matter.  Also, a complete set of Padre cards from 1993 Mother's Cookies.  I like these sets, and already have the 1984 set, so that's cool.

Getting to more of the high end cards here, here is a 1983 Cal Ripken and a 1993 Derek Jeter SP.  Apparently, the Jeter is still selling for pretty big bucks on eBay.  Hmm...  For now, it's mine, and the Ripken card definitely isn't going anywhere.

Speaking of Mr. Ripken Jr. here is the crown jewel of the box.  A Cal Ripken Jr. Rookie card!  I almost felt bad taking this one, until he told me that he had another one in the box!  Definitely a great piece of cardboard, another card that I never thought I'd own.

Anyways, since I told Dave about the blog, he gave me a few other things to use for trade bait, but I'll detail those later.  Who knew that my biggest card pickups of the vacation would have been in a house that I've been visiting for the last decade?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Vacation Recap

Whew, we're back in Texas!  What a great trip!  As much as I love living in Texas, it's always a little bittersweet having to leave San Diego.

Just to recap a bit, we flew into Oakland and were picked up by my brother-in-law James.  He took us immediately to In-N-Out, and then to his apartment in Vacaville.  The next day we went to the Train Museum in Sacramento and met up with more in-laws and stayed with the McGuire's in Manteca.  I got to meet a niece for the first time and see how much bigger my other niece and nephew looked.  Took family pictures in a beautiful almond orchard and played in a splash park with the kiddos.

Also got to hang a lot with my brother-in-law Nate.  Played a few soccer games with him at Big League Dreams (an awesome sports park that has replica major league stadiums) and a few basketball games with some of his buddies from church.  Glad to add some more memories with him, since the only time that we've ever really hung out was when we were shivering under a blanket at the Poinsettia Bowl a few years back.  Hey, it gets cold in San Diego sometimes!


The kids were having so much fun playing with each other that we stayed in Manteca for a day longer than we planned.  We made our way back down to San Diego on Wednesday afternoon, and on Thursday, we went to...

Disneyland!  My daughter had an absolute blast, I feel bad for her, since the rest of her life will only go down from here.  She didn't go on many rides, but was so excited to see all the characters.

There was no time to rest after Disneyland, because on Friday, I headed out to Peoria, AZ with my dad, a brother, and a cousin.  I'll give that trip it's own post, but it was way fun.  And way hot.  But mostly way fun.  Got to take a few cool action shots with my dad's fancy camera (though I didn't realize how cool it was until the later innings, when most of the good players were taken out), and scored a few autographs as well.

As far as baseball cards go, I was able to stop by the card shop nearest to my in-laws house in Escondido.  Apparently, all the other shops in North County are closed, so while I'm not the biggest fan of this one, at least it's still open.  I dug through the "discount" box for a while and was able to come up with a few decent finds.  Nothing that I would consider a "steal", but all good additions to my collection, and all Hall of Famers.

Starting off with a pair of Hall of Fame pitchers.  Goose looks super young without the 'stache, almost didn't recognize him.  Not sure why Topps decided to go with this shot of Bert, but it's the main reason that I picked it up; haven't seen much bubble gum on cards from the 70's.

This was the big pick up of the trip.  I've been wanting a Harmon Killebrew card from his playing days for a while, and even though he's sharing the space with Bob Allison, I thought this was a pretty slick looking piece of cardboard.  The only other card from 1967 Topps is Willie McCovey, but at least it's got company now, and this one was considerably cheaper and in better condition.

I also picked up a cheap jumbo pack of one of my all time favorite sets, 1991 Fleer.  It was the first set I ever ripped, so it's got a special place in my heart.  Joyner, Vaughn, and Guillen are all players that I collect, so those were cool to get.  The Vizcaino card features a sliding Bip Roberts in the foreground, and I really liked the background of the Ken Williams card, who is currently the White Sox general manager.

Also got to spend time with the rest of my family, including seeing how big my nephew Watson is and hanging out with my sister Hannah before she leaves for Italy.  All good times, and not enough time to see enough of everybody.

Still, it's good to be back where I belong.

As a teaser for an upcoming post, my father-in-law let me rummage through some cards that he acquired during the early/mid 90's, when he got a little bit of the collecting bug.  Here is one of the boxes he had.


There was some really good stuff in there.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Other 29: Orioles

As a countdown to the 2013 season, I'll be doing a feature on each Major League team.  This has been done before - probably better - in other places by other people.  I'll try to mix it up as much as I can though.  I am listing the teams in order of proximity to my current location; central Texas.  I'll be doing one of these posts (hopefully) every other day sporadically, with the last post featuring the Padres on Opening Day. Enjoy!

Well, I guess it was a little more ambitious than I thought, trying to post every other day about the "Other 29" teams.  Unless my calendar is lying to me, I'll have to be working double time in order to crank it all out by Opening Day.  I might just have to move it to the end of Opening Week (that's a thing, right?) so that I don't overload on these posts.  Still, the next few have plenty of cards to look at, so at least it won't be much ado about nothing (sorry Rays).

As I write this, I am actually wearing a bright orange Orioles shirt that I bought at a thrift store in San Diego.  One of my favorite shirts, actually.

DISTANCE?
1,323 miles.

DO I LIKE 'EM?
Yes!

SHARE MY FEELINGS?
In Little League, my Minor B team was the Orioles.  We didn't have the fancy uniforms that said "Orioles" across the front, so we could've been called whatever we wanted to.  But my dad was the coach, and if we had orange uniforms, we had to be the Orioles (well, I guess we could've been the Tigers as well, but I liked the Orioles better).  I wore number 8 for Cal Ripken Jr., since I was going to be the star shortstop.  Except for that year we needed a catcher, and my dad made be play behind the plate.  I remember being really upset and probably even crying, because, who wanted to be the catcher?

Well, turns out that I loved it!  Good move pops.

Oh, the real Orioles?  How could you not be a Cal Ripken Jr. fan in 1995?  Plus, orange is my favorite color, and the first glove that I remember buying had Jim Palmer's name on the inside.

FRIAR CONNECTIONS?
Jerry Hairston Jr. was an Orioles prospect who went on to play in San Diego, and Miguel Tejada was a great player for the O's for a few years.  He wasn't so great with the Friars.

FAVORITE PLAYER?
Former: Cal Ripken Jr.


Current: Chris Davis


LEAST FAVORITE PLAYER?
Former: Miguel Tejada

Current: Nick Markakis - no real problems, but got suckered into drafting him on one too many fantasy teams.

FAVORITE CARDS?

 Man, check out the jersey that Moose is rocking!  Love the orange!  Arthur Rhodes is probably still playing somewhere, despite the fact that baseball reference.com says his last game was in 2011.  Anybody remember the hype around Ben McDonald?  Those were the 90s...

 This is probably the last time that Jerry Hairston Jr. will be on the same card as Cal.  I LOVE the "Ripken Baseball Family" card here.  No Donruss logos or anything, just the ugly border and happy family.  Great card.

Of course, it wouldn't be a favorite cards section of the post if I didn't post a few Ripken's, right?  I don't go crazy trying to track down all the Ripken's I can, but if it's cool, I hang onto it.  These are a few of my favorites.

Finishing it off with some more recent Orioles.  Well, I guess Davis (a former member of the Round Rock Express) is the only current O here, but at least Guthrie and Lindstrom were there not too long ago.  Guthrie was actually traded for Lindstrom, making it the first time (probably) in recorded baseball history that two former Mormon missionaries were traded for each other.  Won't be holding my breath to read that on the back of a baseball card anytime soon.

PREDICTIONS?
Picking against the Yankees or Red Sox just seems dumb.  However, I have rarely been accused of being intelligent, so I'm going to say that the Orioles jump past them and secure a wild card spot as the second place team in the AL East.  C'mon O's, don't let me down!