Monday, January 18, 2010

Making Up With Mike

What is a collector to do when someone offers them an autograph of a player they once loved, but now hate? I found myself in this exact situation last week when Brian, of Play at the Plate offered up a Mike Mussina Orioles autograph as part of a trade we were working on. What I decided to do was bury the hatchet, and welcome Mike Mussina back into my collection. The reasoning behind my feelings was flawed to begin with, and all stemmed from Mike's decision to leave Baltimore after the 2000 season, so he could run off to New York and pitch for the much hated Yankees.

Now that a decade has passed, I am able to look at the facts. Anyone would rather play for the Yankees than the Orioles, and as a professional, you have to go where the money is. If I was offered the same job I hold down now, in a new location, for a competing company, and they were offering me almost twice what I am currently making, you'd better believe I'd blow town in a hot minute, and never look back.

When you really think about it, the only way Mussina really benefited by leaving Baltimore was monetarily. Perhaps he picked up a few more wins playing for a team that routinely has a beefy offensive lineup, and scores a lot of runs, but I speculate that his numbers would have been pretty similar if he simply stayed put right here in Bmore, where he was adored by the fans.

Mussina still spent a little more than half of his career in Baltimore, and it's not like he won a World Series while pitching for the Stankees. How can I NOT feel bad for a guy who spent 8 seasons on a perennial contender, and didn't win a ring. That in itself wouldn't be so bad, but seeing his former team finally get one last season, the season he chose to retire had to hurt. Am I doing a good job at talking myself into burying the hatchet?

Welcome back Mike! I can officially admit that you were not only once an Oriole, but one of the team's best players throughout the 90's. I will no longer grunt when coming across a card of yours while sorting through the Orioles box, and I promise not to use your cards as coasters, or draw mustaches on them from this day on.

Let's take a look at what Brian sent my way. First up is the card responsible for this sudden change of heart:

2000 Fleer Focus Mike Mussina Fresh Ink autograph

Believe it or not, this card wasn't even the centerpiece of this trade. The card below was the one I had to have.

2009 Topps Heritage Brooks Robinson "Flashback" Memorial Stadium relic

Another chunk of Memorial Stadium goodness. While my first baseball game may have been at Shea (shhh... don't tell), my second was taken in at Memorial Stadium, and this time I was old enough to sort of understand what was going on.

2008 Topps Stadium Club Dwayne Bowe gold photographer's proof #'d /50

The only item on my Ravens off-season wish list is a big WR. This guy is my #1 choice. For some reason he seemed to be in the doghouse for most of the past season in KC, and rumor has it he is on the trading block. Get on that for me Ozzie!

2004 Topps Chrome Warren Harding Presidential Pastime refractor

I've wanted this card since the day it was pulled, or at least the day that it was posted. Contrary to popular belief, and sometimes my own opinion, I like President cards, especially ones that actually have a baseball theme, which this set does. If anyone out there has any Presidential Pastime refractors, let's talk trade. I've got thoughts of going for the set, but it would probably take YEARS to complete.

Thanks for the great trade Brian. You are personally responsible for salvaging my relationship with Mike Mussina, which may or may not be a good thing.


  1. I'm glad you are coming around on him. I consider Mussina an Oriole. And, that's the hat he should be wearing when he goes into the Hall in a few years.

    I still have nightmares of facing him in the 1997 ALCS when he started 2 games and struck out a combined 8 million Indians.

  2. Nice score on the Robinson.

    Mussina is a stud. Whether for the Yanks or the O's, the guy was always a solid pitcher. It's good you can accept him back into the fold.

  3. Nice Harding card. I may try for the non-refractor set some time. I like most of the president cards I have seen. The only set that I don't care for was the series 1 campaign cards where it was just the candidate on the card. I like the cards that have a purpose. The Campaign match-ups, the first couples, and these cards. They all have a story to tell, and the card themselves are designed well. I feel I can pull the set out with my kids and make history feel fun.

  4. I'm all about being a peacemaker. I'm glad the cards found a good home.