1976 SSPC #386: Bob Bailor (Orioles)

1976 SSPC #386 Bob Bailor
Bob Bailor… spent a couple of years trapped in AAA behind the Orioles infield which featured Brooks Robinson, Mark Belanger and Bobby Grich.  Bailor was rescued from Rochester when he was the Blue Jays’ first pick in the 1976 expansion draft (The Mariners took Rupert Jones first overall).  The Blue Jays moved him to the outfield, he hit .310, made the Topps Rookie All-Star team and was the Blue Jays’ Player Of The Year in his first two seasons in Toronto.  He started to struggle in 1979 and would go on to be a utility player with the Mets and Dodgers.

In 1976, Bob… Didn’t play much. He appeared in 9 games with the O’s and 36 with the AAA Rochester Red Wings. On the plus side, he batted .333 with the Orioles; on the downside, that’s over 6 at bats.  As I’d mentioned, he would be drafted by the Blue Jays after the season.

Cardboard Stuff: This is the only card to picture Bob Bailor with the Orioles, and I have to say that it weirded me out a little bit when I first saw it. I think of Bailor as a Blue Jay or as a Met, maybe as a Dodger or even a minor league manager, but seeing him in an Orioles uniform is just plain odd.

Betcha Didn’t Know, Part 1:  He was involved in a trade that brought Sid Fernandez from L.A. to the Mets.

Betcha Didn’t know, Part 2:  Bob pitched three games in the Majors (all in August, 1980).

In his first Major League pitching stint, he faced four Cleveland Indians and retired them all.

In his second appearance, he gave up 2 hits in one inning against the Royals to close out a 9-0 KC blowout.

A week later he faced the Royals in another blowout, but this time they were ready for him;  He’d started in RF, came in to pitch with the Jays down by 6 runs, faced three batters;  all three got on base, two of them scored.

Shea-o-meter: Many of the photos in 1976 SSPC were taken in Shea Stadium; Every team came through Shea because the Yankees were temporarily playing in Shea while Yankee Stadium was being renovated. “Can two Major League teams share a ballpark without driving each other crazy?”

Blue skies, lights over his head and the merest glimpse of a tree.  I think we’re going to have to go with “can’t tell”.  The “custom card guy” in me desperately wants to photoshop-out that bank of lights…
Shea: 51
Pretty sure it’s Shea: 8
Can’t tell: 15
Not Shea: 7

1970’s Census
We’re going to keep track of all the instances of 1970’s facial hair and other 1970’s trends… Sideburns, afros, mustaches, Aviator glasses…

He’s got the sideburns going…  I  don’t know, would you call this “long hair”?  Eh, what the heck, I’m putting him down that way.
Total Cards: 81
1970’s Sideburns: 41
Fu Manchu: 4
Mustache other than Fu Manchu: 25
Afro: 1
Perm: 2
Aviators: 6
Long Hair: 19
1976 SSPC #386 Bob Bailor back

Vintage Cards With Nothing In Common (Other Than The Whole “Vintage” Thing)

If you’re looking for anything cohesive or with a unifying theme, well… Keep looking.

I got this Willie Davis sometime in 2013 and I can’t remember if there was a specific reason for it, or if it was an “it’s cheap and a nice-looking card, what the heck, toss it on the pile” purchase.
1969 topps Willie Davis
For a guy who was as reknowned for his fielding – he won 3 Gold Gloves and frequently lead center fielders in fielding %, putouts and assists – he seems to always be pictured posing with a bat. Just a quick scan through his cards on COMC I find 16 batting poses, 5 batting action shots, 3 on-deck circle poses, 14 portraits, and a Topps insert poster that also shows him running. Doesn’t matter if it’s Topps, Bell, Post, Kellogg’s, Milton Bradley, Transogram, SSPC, TCMA… Ruboffs, stamps, candy lids, Supers, coins… 38 photos but not an outfielder’s glove to be seen. I dunno, I just thought it was interesting.

Also, if one discounts reprints and buybacks, there are damn few Willie Davis cards from the last 35 years.  Memo to the Topps Archives product manager… We want Willie!

I’ve been collecting for over 40 years without ever taking a break (dang, I’m old) and in all that time, I’d never owned a 1954 card until I picked up this one last year.
1954 Topps Roy McMillan
Because I’m primarily a Mets fan, I just never made a huge effort to pick up any pre-Mets cards unless they more-or-less fell in my lap, and I guess no 1954’s ever did.  It may not be the best card to be the sole 1954 in my collection, but it’s got as much of a Mets connection as any 1954 card might have; Roy McMillan played for the Mets, was a coach with the Mets and served as interim manager in August and September of 1975.

“McMillan!  Mmmmmmmm!”  (Let’s see if anyone gets a “Beyond The Fringe” reference)

1957 is a funny set.  I like the design in theory, but it’s in the execution where so many 1957 cards fail.  This Bob Boyd card is a fairly good specimen in that there’s fairly decent contrast between the text and the photo.
1957 Topps Bob Boyd
1957 was a breakout year for the 37-year-old Boyd, who’d spent most of his career in the Negro Leagues and in the minors. He finished fourth in the AL in batting average, lead the league in putouts, was second on the team in runs scored and was the first Oriole to hit .300 over the course of a season.

Felix Mantilla was one of the better players on the 1962 Mets… this card wasn’t so much “I want a Felix Mantilla!” as it is “I want a 1964 card and here’s a Mantilla, that works”.
1964 Topps Felix Mantilla

Since I can’t think of much else to say about this Mantilla, I’m going to share a Top 5 list of songs that contain “Easy” in the title.  There’s a reason behind “Easy”, but it has nothing to do with nothing and you might as well consider it completely arbitrary. The songs are in the order in which I found them – see, that’s arbitrary as well!

“Take It Easy” – The Eagles
“Nothing Is Easy” – Jethro Tull
“It Don’t Come Easy” – Ringo Starr
“Easy Livin’ ” – Uriah Heap
“Easy Money” – Billy Joel

Honorable (and not so honorable) Mention:  “It’s So Easy” – Linda Ronstadt (or Buddy Holly, if you prefer);  “Easy To Crash” – Cake;  “Pure And Easy” – The Who;  “Over Easy” – Booker T & The MG’s;  “Peaceful, Easy Feeling” – The Eagles;  “Easy Target” – The MEN; “Easy To Be Hard” – Three Dog Night;  “Easy Lover” – Phil Collins & Philip Bailey;  “Easy” – Barenaked Ladies;  “Easy” – The Commodores;  “It’s Easy” – Boston

In The Blogroll Penalty Box
A little over a week ago I angered the Blogroll Gods by absent-mindedly using a 3.3MB Jpeg as my “primary image”.  Blogger could be heard muttering “…and the horse you rode in on” and since then my blog has been taking many hours to appear on blogrolls.

I’ve been posting every day since this happened, so if you think I’ve been quiet lately, you might want to scroll through the recent posts and see if you’d missed anything.

1976 SSPC #392 – Brooks Robinson (WooHoo! I’ve Got SSPC Orioles!)

In my biggest 1976 SSPC purchase since my initial purchase in May of 2013, I recently picked up the Orioles team set on eBay.

For those who weren’t with me at the time, my SSPC quest began when I bought a box containing 1,200 1976 SSPC cards… You can read about that purchase here, and over here you can read about how I had determined that these cards should be called “1976 SSPC” despite the 1975 copyright on the back.

The box I bought had been picked through by the time I got to it, so there were almost no stars, just one Yankee, and absolutely no Orioles, Phillies or Red Sox.  Since then I’ve made an effort to add cards to the set without spending too much on them… I enjoy the heck out of this set, but it is unlicensed and I collect it as if it’s junk wax and worth nothing to anybody but myself… Because it may very well be worthless. Hell, for all I know this set has been “reprinted” far beyond it’s original 1970’s print run. Having not even seen most of this set in person until 2 years ago, It’s not like I could tell the difference between the original and a counterfeit.


The honor of being the first SSPC Oriole I’ve featured in this esteemed blog falls to the guy who indirectly caused an entire generation of Maryland boys to be given the name “Brooks”…
1976 SSPC #392 Brooks Robinson
Brooks Robinson… I’ll just touch the highlights for the Human Vacuum Cleaner… Hall Of Fame, 16 consecutive Gold Gloves, 15-time All-Star, 1964 MVP and RBI leader, .

In 1976, Brooks… was 39 and winding down his career, playing 71 games at third for the season and being replaced by Doug DeCinces at third. 1976 was the first season since 1959 that Brooks Robinson did not win a Gold Glove award.

Shea-o-meter: Many of the photos in 1976 SSPC were taken in Shea Stadium; Every team came through Shea because the Yankees were temporarily playing in Shea while Yankee Stadium was being renovated. “Can two Major League teams share a ballpark without driving each other crazy?”

That might be the Shea batter’s eye over Brooks’ shoulder, but there’s really not much to go with.  I’m going to flag this as “Can’t tell”.
Shea: 49
Pretty sure it’s Shea: 8
Can’t tell: 12
Not Shea: 7

1970’s Census
We’re going to keep track of all the instances of 1970’s facial hair and other 1970’s trends… Sideburns, afros, mustaches, Aviator glasses…

Brooks has got the sideburns going, but not much else.
Total Cards: 76
1970’s Sideburns: 38
Fu Manchu: 4
Mustache other than Fu Manchu: 23
Afro: 1
Perm: 2
Aviators: 6
Long Hair: 16

1976 SSPC #392 Brooks Robinson back

Four Orioles Of Varying Degrees Of Oddballitude

Today’s four cards will go from “Not an oddball” to “pretty durn odd”.

We’ll start with this 1970 Topps Curt Motton. Motton was a 4th outfielder and pinch hitter with the Orioles from 1967 to 1971, and also had brief cameos with the O’s in 1973 and 1974.
1970 Topps Curt Motton
Motton was traded twice within a year for a pitcher named Reynolds. In December, 1971 he was traded to the Brewers for a PTBNL who ultimately became Bob Reynolds. In May, 1972 the Brewers traded him to the Angels for Archie Reynolds.

This next card was a tiny, little white whale for me. Back in 1994, Topps had the “ToppsGold” parallel set… but rather than make a gold foil parallel of the checklist cards, they introduced several new players into the ToppsGold set. Mike Cook is one of those, and it took me a couple of years to track this one down.
1994 Topps Gold Mike Cook
Appearing on a ToppsGold card is probably the most impressive thing to come out of Cook’s time with the O’s. He pitched 3 innings over two games in 1993, striking out three, walking 2, giving up one hit and no runs. His cup of coffee in 1993 came 4 years after his previous Major League games and ended up being the end of his Major League career.

In 2004, as part of the 50th anniversary of the Baltimore Orioles, the Maryland Lottery issued a set. I’ve shown a couple of these before, here’s the Rick Dempsey that I got earlier this year.
2004 Maryland Lottery Rick Dempsey
The first time The National was in Baltimore I saw a guy sitting at a booth and I thought “That guy looks like Rick Dempsey”. I took a closer look at the guy and at the booth and realized it was Rick Dempsey.  If I remember correctly, the booth was there to raise money for the Rick Dempsey foundation.  The things you see at The National…

Buddy Groom appeared in 330 games for the Orioles over 5 years, all of them in relief. During that period, he became a favorite of mine, but since middle relievers don’t get that many cards, I’ve been limited in the number of Buddy Groom cards I can acquire.
2004 MLB Showdown Buddy Groom
This card is from the 2004 MLB Showdown collectable card game.

Hot Stove: Cruz, Markakis & Miller View Baltimore Through Their Rear-View Mirrors

Last week was not a good week for Orioles fans.

I expected Nelson Cruz and Andrew Miller to go elsewhere… But to lose both of those guys AND Nick Markakis, the guy who had the longest tenure of any Oriole?  All within the span of 6 days?

Last week was not a good week.

But we must soldier on…  Perhaps we must, to beat a dead meme even more than it’s been beaten, “Keep calm and make customs”.

For those new to this blog, the following are all custom baseball cards based on the 1974 Kellogg’s set, and all three players in today’s post were “Photoshopped” into their new uniforms.  (Although I actually used Paint Shop Pro)

First we had Nelson Cruz head to the Pacific northwest.  Later, Cruz.  Front door, backside.
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #10 Nelson Cruz
I kept my emotional distance from Nelson Cruz last year. The guy signed a below-market one-year contract late in the offseason, so I figured there were two ways it could go… 1) Cruz would have a good season and take off for bigger piles of cash than the Orioles would pay, or 2) Cruz would be worthless without the PED’s and the Orioles wouldn’t want him back. Either way, the guy was clearly a short-timer. I’ll miss his offense, I won’t miss him.

For what it’s worth, the Nelson Cruz custom was made before the official announcement, and was a means of killing time while I was on hold with my internet provider’s support line.

…And then there’s Nick Mar-kick-ass. For a long while it seemed that re-signing with the Orioles was a mere formality. Then talks slowed down. Then they stopped. And the next thing you know, I’m digitally putting Markakis into a Braves uniform.
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #11 Nick Markakis
This just looks wrong, and I’m not talking about my work on the card. Nick is supposed to be an Oriole, what’s he wearing that damn tomahawk for?

For his troubles, Markakis is going to have to switch numbers; his customary #21 was retired for Warren Spahn, so he’s switched to #22.

Before we move on to the third custom, I’ll point out that the Braves will be playing in Baltimore in late July. Should be interesting to see how Nick is welcomed back.

Finally, Andrew Miller went to the Yankees… and you can’t even say he went just for the big payday, because the Astros offered him more. Frankly, I probably would’ve gone to the Astros – More money, and possibly a brighter future than you have in the Bronx (but that’s probably wishful thinking on my part).
2014-15 TSR Hot Stove #12 Andrew Miller
Useless information: I adapted Miller’s Yankee jersey from an image of Ichiro. I think it’s fairly safe to say that in real life the 6’7″, 210 lb. Miller would not be able to wear the jersey of the 5’11”, 170 lb. Ichiro… But that’s the magic of digital photo manipulation!

I decided to combine the heavy shadow on Miller’s face with a nighttime Yankee Stadium background, thus creating my first night card for the 2014/15 Hot Stove set. You’re welcome, Night Owl.

So there you have it… Three former Orioles moving on.   Hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m making customs of guys coming to the Orioles.

A Few Cards From The 2004 Maryland Lottery Orioles 50th Anniversary set

I felt like showing a couple of oddballs, and these Maryland Lottery cards from 10 years ago certainly fit the description.

2004 Maryland Lottery Brady Anderson

These standard-sized cards were sold in packs of four with a $10 lottery tickets, and was part of a contest where the first 100 people to collect all 50 cards would win a prize.  Cards 46-49 were short-printed and card #50, Babe Ruth, was “shorter-printed”.

2004 Maryland Lottery Rich Dauer

I’ve never liked the fact that Babe Ruth was included in an Orioles 50th anniversary set, chase card or not.  While Ruth did start his professional career with the International League’s Baltimore Orioles in 1914, he had absolutely no connection with the team we now call the Orioles.  When the Major League Orioles played their first game in 1954, Babe Ruth had been dead for over 5 years.

2004 Maryland Lottery Terry Crowley

The cards themselves are glossy on both sides and are greener in color than they show up in these scans.  These five cards are all I have from the set, I got them at an Orioles Fan Fest a number of years ago.

2004 Maryland Lottery Tippy Martinez

I might pick up more of these, but while I consider myself an Orioles fan, I’ve only been one for 15 or so years, and I don’t have a huge emotional attachment to the Orioles that came before I started going to Camden Yards.  I appreciate them as players and individuals, but I don’t get all gushy thinking about them.

I’ll admit, I wouldn’t mind getting the Reggie Jackson card from this set just so I can have one card of Reggie with the Orioles.

2004 Maryland Lottery Al Bumbry

I have to admit, as a Mets fan I’m jealous of sets like this… The number of regional or team-issued Mets sets are pretty small, and many of them are not the greatest.

I’d be curious to know if anybody out there bought these cards with the lottery ticket.  Did you win anything?

You Can’t Spell “Korea Baseball Organization” Without A Couple Of O’s

Is it just me, or has the quality of baseball players going over to Korea significantly improved this winter?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like the Kia Tigers had discussions with Robinson Cano, but it seems like the names involved are a bit more notable this year… From a baseball card perspective, there will be players in Korea who have been appearing in Topps sets fairly regularly in the past.

It could be that it just seems notable to me because I’ve seen several of the players when they played for the Orioles.

The most notable former Oriole to go to Korea is Luke Scott, who will be playing for the SK Wyverns.
2012 Topps Luke Scott
Luke peaked in 2010 and has been on the downslope since then, but since when does a guy with 9 years of MLB service, a guy who was a Major League regular for several years, go to the KBO?

Most Orioles fans will remember Josh Bell. He was obtained from the Dodgers in the George Sherrill trade, and was supposed to be the Orioles’ Third Baseman of the future, but he never batted better than .214 in the Majors.2012 Topps Josh Bell
Josh Bell will be playing for the LG Twins next year.

Incidentally, LG is the electronics company. Like Japanese baseball, the teams are owned by corporations which promote themselves through the teams.

The final former Oriole in our trilogy is Félix Pie, will be playing for the Hanwha Eagles…
2011 Topps Felix Pie
Pie was a former top Cubs prospect and even though he’s spent much of the last two seasons in the minors, he had been on the Pirates 40-man roster and asked for his release so he could play in Korea.  I think that’s what started catching my attention – the fact that a couple of the guys going there weren’t castoffs, but guys who were on the 40-man.

The Hanwha Eagles have a pretty cool logo;  I’d wear a cap with this on it:

Hanwha Eagles Logo

It’s not just former Orioles going over to Korea; Jorge Cantu, who has a couple of 100 RBI seasons on his resume, is going to the Doosan Bears.

2011 Topps Update Jorge Cantu

By the way, over on MLBTradeRumors.com there was an interesting interview with C.J. Nitkowski, who’s pitched in the Majors as well as Japan and Korea.  You can link to it here.

CRY – 1, STK – 0

While we’re on the subject of non-North American leagues, my new favorite game on the weekend is to turn on the English Premier League match and try to figure out the two teams just from the three-letter abbreviation use for the score at the top of the screen.

While I enjoy watching soccer, I’m far from a fan.  Most of my knowledge of the EPL comes from British TV, music and other bits of popular culture. I know the “biggies” like Manchester United and Arsenal, but my expertise goes rapidly downhill from there.

This morning’s score threw me a bit. I guessed that “STK” meant Stoke City, and I turned out to be right… But “CRY”? What the heck is “CRY”?

The match was in the 85th minute, so I waited it out to find that the final score showed Stoke City losing to…

…drum roll please…

Crystal Palace. D’OH! I should’ve gotten that.

Sugar-Frosted Black Friday: Some Kellogg’s Cards I Got From COMC

Even though I grew up in the 1970’s, I never got any Kellogg’s baseball cards.  That didn’t bother me at the time, because I didn’t view them as “real” baseball cards, but recently I’ve been trying to make up for lost time on my Kellogg’s collection.

This is the first 1973 Kellogg’s card I’ve ever seen in person.  You know what’s unique about the 1973 Kellogg’s set?
1973 Kelloggs Jon Matlack
They’re “2-D”!!!! That’s right, they’re just baseball cards, no extra dimensions involved. I can just imagine the disappointment of kids pulling these out of a box of Sugar Pops and wondering why it isn’t 3D.

For 1974, Kellogg’s came to their senses and added the third dimension back in.
1974 Kelloggs Felix Millan

Felix Millan takes that third dimension very seriously.  “The third dimension is a significant part of a nutritious breakfast!”

Just to wander off-topic for a moment, I’m already trying to figure out what oddball design to use for next winter’s “Hot Stove” custom cards, and one idea I’ve had is to use a Kellogg’s design, possibly the above 1974 design… Anybody have any thoughts on that idea?  When the time gets closer I’ll probably share a few prototypes, maybe even do a vote.

Here’s a 1976 Kellogg’s card, and of course 1976 = Red + White + Blue.
1976 Kelloggs Ken Singleton

I always liked Kenny Singleton, even though his time with the Mets came a few years before I started following the team. It says volumes about him that his 16 years in the Yankees TV booth are not held against him.

Another Jon Matlack card, this one from 1979, this time with the Rangers and this time with a huge facsimile autograph.
1979 Kelloggs Jon Matlack
Matlack went to Texas in a confusing 4-team trade which also involved the Pirates and Braves. O! The carnage! Players flying everywhere! From a Mets-centric standpoint, they gave up Matlack and John Milner and in return got Willie Montanez, Tom Grieve and Ken Henderson. Other notables in that deal were “Circle Me, Bert” Blyleven and Al Oliver.

Ed-die! Ed-die! Ed-die! What can I say about Hall-Of-Famer Eddie Murray that isn’t rehashing what you already know? Well, he lead the league in intentional base-on-balls three different years. How about that?
1981 Kelloggs Eddie Murray

In the early 1980’s, Hubie Brooks was among the young Mets players that every Mets fan had hoped would lead us out of the dismal mess the team was in. He was a good player, but one could argue that the biggest role he played in Mets history was being one of four players traded to Montreal for Gary Carter.
1982 Kelloggs Hubie Brooks
He played with Bob Horner at Arizona State University; in 1978 the Braves drafted Horner first overall and the Mets drafted Hubie third overall.