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Here at Krrb Classifieds we love a good collection, especially one that’s unique. From where the collection began to the most significant item, we want to know the story behind it all. So we’re reaching out to collectors everywhere to find out what they collect and why!
Today, Todd Hannel joins us to discuss his collection of official Orioles memorabilia, how it all started and his stadium chair!
Hi Todd, first off, why did you start collecting official Orioles memorabilia?
I started following the Orioles when I was 7, and to me, collecting memorabilia was a way to connect with the team. My collecting started with baseball cards and I would trade with friends in order to get only Orioles cards. I started very slowly – you don’t have a ton of money to spend on memorabilia when you’re a kid. I gradually ramped it up in the early 80’s, and my collecting really took off during the Orioles’ championship season in 1983. When I started going to Baltimore to see games in 1985, that was it. I was hooked. I did some serious damage to my credit card on those trips!
What’s the rarest Orioles item you have in your collection?
In my opinion, the rarest item is a Sports Illustrated from 1987 that features all 3 Ripkens (Orioles) on the cover. What makes this rare is that I got it signed by all 3 Ripkens while at Spring Training in Miami. I have only seen 1 or 2 of these on online over the years. I had it framed several years ago, and it’s hanging in my office. A close 2nd would be a baseball signed by the entire Orioles’ team from the late-80’s
Which Orioles item has the most significance to you and why?
Without a doubt the item that holds the most significance to me is a game ball from the late 1980’s. My Dad and I traveled to Baltimore almost every year to see 2-3 games and have some bonding time. One game, we were sitting in the upper deck behind home plate and a foul ball came back. A bunch of hands went out for it. As I was sitting down (figuring someone in front of me had caught the ball), my Dad leaned over and said “put this in your pocket”. He had caught the ball! It’s special for 2 reasons: 1) It’s the only game ball I ever got and 2) it reminds me of my Dad (who passed away suddenly 10 years ago) and all the great times we had on those trips to Baltimore. It has a special spot in my office and my memory.
What do you look for when adding Orioles’ items to your collection?
I will occasionally look for items that compliment what I have displayed currently. I have so much memorabilia in boxes that I don’t get to enjoy them, so I would only get something that I could display. I’m also running out of room, so I really need to be selective these days. I also like items that could be displayed and are functional. The best example of this is when I bought an authentic stadium chair from Camden Yards when they were going through renovations a few years’ back. Not your typical piece of furniture. I put it in my office so that when someone comes in, they have a place to sit.
Where do you go to find Orioles’ items and what’s the most unique way you’ve obtained an item?
My collection has grown so large, that I really don’t hunt for Orioles’ memorabilia like I used to. Occasionally, I’ll go online just to see what’s out there. Sometimes when you’re not really looking to buy more items, something just jumps out at you. My daughter came across a beautiful poster of Earl Weaver (longtime Orioles manager) at a thrift store in Maryland and had it framed for my birthday. Another daughter bought me a brick from the Orioles’ old ballpark (Memorial Stadium) which I thought was different and really cool.
The most unique way I’ve obtained an item was not through my efforts. Back in the late 1980’s, the Orioles were playing an exhibition game in Rochester, NY. A friend of mine told me that her brother was going to be the Orioles’ clubhouse attendant for the game. A couple of weeks later, I received a baseball autographed by the entire team! My friend knew that I was an Orioles fanatic and had asked her brother to get the ball signed as a gift for me. That was an awesome surprise and is still sitting on my desk.
Where do you store or display your collection?
My home office is where I display a good portion of my collection. Since I spend a lot of time there, it’s nice to have it close by. I try to keep it from looking too cluttered and also have pictures of my family in here to keep perspective of what really matters in life. I have the balance in a couple of large boxes in my basement storage room.
Any other thoughts or things to add ?
Some people don’t understand why I’ve collected over the years, and that’s ok. I take pride of my efforts in building a collection that has many unique pieces, and almost everything I have has a memory attached to it. I like to think my collection is diverse – not limited to 1 particular ‘category’. I have even collected (and read) more than 30 books on the Orioles. During a mid-life moment a couple of years ago, I even took my ‘collecting’ and support of the Orioles to a different level and got a tattoo of an old-time Orioles logo. So I have to thank my wife for her patience and support of my Orioles’ ‘hobby’ during our 25 years of marriage!