Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Orioles Yearbook Is Here!!


I ordered this thing online from the O's before the season even started. They sent the Media Guide back in April I think. But I was beginning to wonder about the yearbook. I was going to try and track down someone to email about it when the big yellow envelope showed up in the mail on Tuesday. Happy happy joy joy.  I love yearbooks the same way Night Owl loves minis!!

This year's addition edition has one of the better covers the Orioles p.r./media folks have used in a long time. Front and center is the Orioles' 60 year anniversary logo surrounded by current popular Oriole players and Buck Showalter. But lurking in the background are the Orioles six Hall of Famers. The same six who were honored last season with bronze statues.

Pretty standard stuff on the inside/ i can't (won't) put this thing through a scanner so I had to take a few pictures. Not very satisfying but here are just a couple.


You get the usual front office bios, support staff pics a team directory, some ads and then color spreads on Showalter, the coaches and the full time players. 





There are several pages of prospects and minor leaguers. Yes, that's Carl Yastrzemski's grandson Mike on the page below. He's tearing up the Orioles minor league chain. He has moved up the ladder to Bowie this year having made two jumps in competition since the season started.


Then there are pages of 'behind the scenes' stuff, community affairs and then....


.. the promotional schedule.  It begins in July and given the players that are included in the photo/bio sections I'm guessing that the book was put together fairly recently. For example Nick Hundley who came over from the Padres in late May has a full spread.


Finally there is the full schedule and Camden Yards info, plus more ads.


I keep an excel file of all my publications. It's nice that I can change that annoying 'P' (for' pending') into an 'X' for 'Got it!' in the little box in the yearbook column next to '2014'.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

RIP Robert Newhouse


The 'Big Man On Campus' when I arrived at the University of Houston back in 1970 was running back Robert Newhouse. And I mean 'big man' in every sense of the word. He was the Coogs' top running back, and despite the fact that his numbers his first year or so were not spectacular, he was a fan favorite for the incredible power with which he ran. He had a waist of maybe 32 inches but his thighs were about 44 inches. He just plowed through blocks.

Known by everyone as 'House' he passed away a week ago at the age of 64. He had had heart problems for quite some time and was awaiting a transplant but was never well enough to undergo the surgery.

In his senior year he set a UH rushing yardage record that still stands. And it wasn't known by many that he was playing with a painful broken pelvis. Those were the days before 'redshirting' and if he had sat out he would not have had another year of eligibility. I was working at the Athletic building then was able to talk to House a few times. Truly a nice guy. He was inducted into the UH Athletic Hall of Honor in 1977.

And to underscore the difference that 40 years has made...when he was picked by the Cowboys in the 1972 draft he wasn't aware of it until my buddy Sam bumped into him at the University Center and told him about it. And House was a second round pick!

I had picked these cards up on eBay for a buck apiece. That's a 1977 up top, a 1981 below. He played for the Cowboys through the 1983 season. The Cowboys' website posted a nice tribute to 'House' after his death.


One of the highlights of Newhouse's career was throwing a TD pass to Golden Richards in Super Bowl XII in 1977. 


There is no card of Newhouse as a Houston Cougar that I'm aware of so I threw one together just because. I have neither the talent nor software to do a proper job so this will have to do for now.



And this is as good a time as any to post my NFL patch. It's my newest addition to my most casual of all collections. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Morning Quarterback #21 Donovan McNabb 2007 Donruss Gridiron Gear



In this ongoing series of posts I am going to feature cards from my fantasy football player collection, specifically the 117 quarterbacks I've had on my team's roster since 1980. I have one selected card for each player in my All-Time Flyers binder. Through the years I've tried to use as many different card varieties as possible while holding on to my preference which is: a card issued in a year I owned the player showing him in the proper team uni in a vertical format. Card availability and my whims have had a big impact on that standard as we will see. 

NFL Info: Philly fans booed McNabb when he was taken by the Eagles with the 2nd overall pick in 1999. No surprise there, Philly fans would boo Jesus. McNabb played football and hoops at Syracuse. He played on a reserve on the SU team that lost the NC game to Kentucky in 1996.

McNabb's Eagle teams played in seven different postseasons during his eleven years with the team. They lost to the Pats in the 2004 Super Bowl XXXIX game 24-21 and McNabb's play was the subject of endless debate including the question of whether or not he was sick. He had an up and down 11 year run in Philly making 6 Pro Bowls and yet never quite shaking the shadow of criticism that came with being a high choice in the spotlight of a demanding town.

He was finally traded to the Redskins where he spent a year and then to the Vikings where he spent his last one, 2011. He was traded for Alfred Morris in that deal. He currently works as a media voice and has a new gig with NBC Radio.


Fantasy Impact: I had McNabb for one and only week in his final NFL season, 2011. I picked him up on waivers and threw him into the lineup after my regular starter, Ben Rothlesberger had a lousy eight point performance in Week 4. Of course Big Ben had 31 the week I benched him while McNabb had 14. I proceeded to cut McNabb so his time as a Flyer was about as brief as it could get. The whole scenario is pretty typical of my greatest fantasy football faults, lack of patience and roster micromanagement. Over-reaction to a bad week has cost me dearly through the years. It's like an addiction in that I know I have a problem and yet I can't fix it.


The Card: I never relate Donruss to football cards but obviously they did produce them. Too much going on in this card...bigazz Donruss logo, action pic, multiple boxes containing name, team, etc. And what's up with the huge "X"? Maybe it makes sense in terms of the set, I don't know because this is the only card I have like this. Whatever it means, it's dumb. So dumb that I've decided I hate this card and have a a bid group set up for some 'McNabb as a Viking' cards using my snipe program. If I win one, this card gets bounced out of the FF binder.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

1959 Topps Campaign Headquarters!!



Robert at $30 A Week Habit has been running a Topps vintage set tournament over the last month or more to try and determine the blog community's favorite set. (Actually, it will determine which set he will build) Starting with 16 sets the contest in now entering the quarter finals, eight sets remain. The 1959 set of which I am a great fan is pitted against the very outstanding 1965 set. With Vegas giving the edge to 1965 I thought it was incumbent on me to do what I could to drum up support for the '59.

Just look at Willard Schmidt's card at the top. Isn't that terrific? And if you need further proof of the '59 set's greatness just scroll through these: 












So what are you waiting for? As they have always said in Chicago...



You say you're a '65 guy? C'mon man!



Baaaaaa


Because I was in Target the other day and I didn't have much at home to blog about I went ahead and bought two packs of A & G. So I scanned some and here they are. just like they are on everyone else's blog.

Don't get me wrong. The set is pretty good. It's different at least. For two years I bought a box for Gint-A-Cuffs and had fun with that. But both times i finished scanning and posting them and put them back in the box knowing I'd never look at them again. If I'm going to buy a box of cards I should at least have the intention of completing a set. But modern card sets are impossible to complete, or so it seems to me.

Here are the cards of the players I've heard of, the minis, the non-people cards and well, someone else. My two favorites are the Machado and the Eckersley. If I was going to chase cards of a current player Manny Machado would be the guy. And I saw Eckersley the other day doing TV color for someone (Red Sox?/ESPN?) and he looked like he could still come out of the bullpen and give a good inning or two.


Two minis. Brett and Wheeler. I'd rather have the full size Brett, it's a neat artsy portrait.


I read that the Phils are looking to trade Ryan Howard. I went and looked at his stats, I guess he's been hurt the last few years because his numbers have really fallen off. He's not that old, just 34 so maybe he has something left.

Now the special set cards. This is the only Air Supremacy card I've seen and I like it. Maybe I'll look for the others.


Natural Wonder cards and stuff like that don't excite me much.


I knew that Jose Abreu was a hot player this year and I see why. 29 homers. Pretty stout. I seem to get better horizontal cards than vertical ones.


And then there was this card.


I could have lived without this one.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Some Sort Of Photographic Harmonic Convergence

So yesterday morning I post some circa 1975 B&W spring training snapshots taken of Orioles stars of the time. Obviously I love off-the-wall stuff. It's kind of nice having things that not many other collectors have. (The fact that very few folks would ever want some circa 1975 B&W spring training snapshots taken of Orioles stars of the time is besides the point).



But within a few hours of the post hitting the net I find an envelope in my mailbox from Mike McKay, a Chicago area collector and blog reader, who has sent me some really neat and unique items in the past year or so. And in the package are some terrific shots that Mike took last July when the O's went through Chicago.

A couple of things are obvious. First of all Mike routinely gets much better seats than I normally do. And he has a better camera/better eye for pics. I only wish I had some skill at making homemade cards like so many other bloggers do. These pics would make some really nice ones!

Mike took the shots on July 2 of last year, a game the Sox won 5-2. That's my man Manny Machado up top. He flied out and singled in the game among his four at bats, this looks like the fly out.

Next we see Nick Markakis. He had three singles that night, two to left field. This looks like a single to left.


Chris Davis hit 50 something dingers last year. But he got the collar in this game.


Adam Jones went 1 for 4.

Matt Weiters went 0 for 4. But he looked good doing it, didn't he?


And finally starter Jason Hammel. He didn't pitch well in this one, nine hits in seven innings and he wlaked off the field with an ERA over 5 for the season. The Cubs signed him as a FA and he was pitching pretty well it seems and then was part of the big Jeff Whateverhisnameis trade. In two starts with the A's... well, it has not been pretty. The Orioles rocked him last Saturday.


Thanks once again, Mike. Great stuff.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Further Proof That I Bought Anything (pt2)


Pictures. Yes, I bought someone else's pictures. These are Orioles Spring Training snapshots. I'm sure I didn't spend much, at least I hope not. The first four feature Brooks Robinson (and a batboy).





These last two are of Kenny Singleton and Paul Blair. I'm guessing they were all taken by the same person. There are notations on the reverse of each one, all in the same handwriting. If they were taken on the same day it must have been either 1975 or '76. Those were the only two seasons that Brooks, Blair and Singleton were all together on the Birds. 


That's a Yankees pitcher in the last shot. I've blown it up as much as I could and I'm still not sure who it is but maybe a Yankee 'expert' can help. I actually saw the Orioles and Yankees play a spring training game in the mid 70's. But it wasn't this game because I saw them in Fort Lauderdale and these pics were taken in Miami since the O's are the home team. EDIT...because I'm waaay too anal. I went back into my Media Guides and narrowed the game date down to either March 9, 1975 or March 14, 1976. Those were the only two day games the Orioles hosted against the Yanks in those spring camps.


EDIT: I believe Mark Hoyle has puzzled out our 'mystery' Yankee pitcher. I've tried to nail it down with newspaper archives but some many of them are pay sites now that I couldn't make any headway.