Wednesday, April 6, 2011

#48 Baltimore Orioles Team

I've only posted a few times with 'a purpose', that is selected a card for a specific reason. The first two posts (Brooks and Bob Gibson) and the Duke Snider post are about it. But here we have another one. The Orioles 1959 team card with first series checklist on the reverse. I need to get this one posted before they lose a game and spoil my mellow.

As a lifelong Orioles fan I've had my shares of ups and (lately) downs, but I keep plugging along. What else can you do... change to another team? Not going to happen.

But the 4-0 start to the season has really peaked my interest. I'll be the first to admit I don't follow the game as I used to, I can't name every teams rotation or every Oriole's number and hometown like I could in the 60's. Hell, I don't even remember the Os' closers name, but I do know that the Birds have good young pitching arms and that goes a long way towards building a firm foundation. I heard on the radio the other morning that if you started a season the day Buck Showalter arrived to manage the O's they'd be 4 and a half games up on the entire league, only the Phils have a better record in that time frame. Wow.

The 1959 Orioles finished 6th in the A.L. at 74-80 under Paul Richards. Speaking of young arms, the '59 O's had Milt Pappas and Jerry Walker in their rotation. They were joined in 1960 by Chuck Estrada and Steve Barber to form a starting staff known as the 'Baby Birds'.

Yes, that's Brooks Robinson's signature on my team card. I remember picking this one up at a show way back when I was putting together all the Orioles Topps and Bowman team sets. That was a fun project that I finished by obtaining the elusive 1967 Mark Belanger/Bill Dillman rookie card. I continued putting together Oriole team sets until some time in the early 90s when the rookie/variation/error card shenanigans turned me off to the hobby.

The checklist on the reverse of the Oriole team card appears to have been filled in by a kid with visual impairments.

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