Monday, April 23, 2012
Oriole Player Postcards Rudy May & Mike Flanagan
The Orioles, like many other teams, produced player postcards that were originally intended for use as 'mailouts' by players who received autograph requests. The Orioles still produce and sell the postcards. I've seen some of the newer one featured on autograph collector sites such as The Great Orioles Autograph Project and Eutaw Street Cardboard and others.
I collected the postcards from the mid 70's though the late 80s. Most of the ones produced during that time-frame are similar to the ones above, outdoor shots with Memorial Stadium in the background or studio shots with blue backgrounds. There are lots and lots of variation, even among the 'same' card of the same player. Different cropping, font size and such varied from one year to another.
The earliest cards, circa 1954, were issued in black and white. There were specialized issues such as 'Health' series which featured safety messages, etc. One collector who cataloged the Oriole cards reported variations as minuscule as the amount of white space between the name and the picture itself. There were cards with 'postcard' backs (address line, stamp 'here' boxes and a message area) but the majority of mine are of the blank back style. Ed Allen has a site that is devoted to Oriole postcards and he has a 'book' available with photocopies of all the cards.
For a long time I tried to collect all the variations and bought bulk lots of the postcards sight unseen hoping to find some different cards. As a result I have multiple boxes and binders of them taking up closet space. I also have some that are autographed and some I received via player requests.
Like the Tadder photos these combine to show a timeline of personnel and uniform changes through the years. I'll through a few up on the blog from time to time.
Rudy May came to the Orioles from the Yankees in a huge June, 1976 trade that also saw the O's acquire Rick Dempsey, Tippy Martinez and Dave Pagan. May won 29 games for the Birds in a season and a half before being traded to the Expos after the '77 season.
Mike Flanagan was a star for the club in the late 70s and early 80s and won three postseason games for the Birds. He was the AL Cy Young winner in 1979. He won a total of 141 games in Baltimore and 26 more for the Blue Jays late in his career. He's a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame. He served as pitching coach, broadcaster and General manager for the Orioles following his retirement. Flanny died in 2001.