Before Orioles fans get a peek at their current team as it takes shape in spring training, they can revisit the past and remember better times. Leave the sunscreen at home.
Members of the Orioles' 1983 World Series championship team, including Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray, will sign autographs this weekend as part of Baseball's Best memorabilia show at the Baltimore Convention Center.
The event, believed to be the first of its kind in the area, begins today and concludes Sunday. Seventeen members of baseball's Hall of Fame will be there, along with 27 participants of the 1983 World Series and more than 60 dealers with collectibles to sell.
Ray Schulte, president of Ironclad Authentics, a memorabilia company and affiliate of Ripken Baseball, spent much of yesterday setting up for the event.
"It's been crazy, but it's a fun crazy. Everyone is excited," he said.
"There hasn't been anything like this in Baltimore. The closest thing would be in 1993 with the All-Star FanFest, but I don't think there's been anything of this magnitude."
Other Orioles from the organization's last championship team who are scheduled to attend include manager Joe Altobelli, Jim Palmer, Al Bumbry, Rick Dempsey, Ken Singleton, Tippy Martinez, Rich Dauer and current executive vice president Mike Flanagan.
Brooks Robinson will greet fans and sign autographs as part of the "Retired Orioles" group that also includes Frank Robinson, Doug DeCinces and Harold Baines. Former Orioles manager Earl Weaver will join a group of fellow Hall of Famers.
Four current Orioles -- Hayden Penn, Nick Markakis, Melvin Mora and Chris Ray -- also will appear.
"The main reason we've been able to pull this together is everyone wants to pay their respects to Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn," Schulte said.
They'll also pay for signatures, with the price depending on the players' stature and the item being autographed. For example, it'll cost $199 to obtain Frank Robinson's signature on a bat or jersey, but only $12 for any item handed to Bobby Bonner of the 1983 team.
When -- Today through Sunday
Where -- Baltimore Convention Center
Cost -- Admission, $10; prices for autographs range from $10 to more than $200.
Who -- Among those expected are former Orioles Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr., plus baseball Hall of Famers including Rod Carew, Johnny Bench, Steve Carlton, Carlton Fisk, Bob Gibson, Paul Molitor, Gaylord Perry, Mike Schmidt and Tom Seaver.
Online -- baseballsbest2007.com