Wait, These Guys Were Baltimore Orioles?!?!
Jeremy’s recent article got me thinking about Sammy Sosa, and thus, I was reminded of this strange, but true fact…
…I was at the game when they gave away the Sammy Sosa O’s free t-shirt early in the 2005 season. In his one year in Baltimore, it was the first time since 1994 that he didn’t hit 35 home runs in the season. Good job O’s. He hit .221 with 14 homers and 35 RBIs with a club that went 74-88 and also featured, get this, Rafael Palmeiro, Miguel Tejada, and Brian Roberts. Yummy, yummy steroids. Also, Sidney Ponson, named by ESPN the least valuable pitcher of the 2000s. And his issue wasn’t steroids…
That’s him looking a tiny bit bigger than Curt Schilling.
Dudes and dudettes, it is, indeed, true. All these guys I’m about to show you, below, were Baltimore Orioles. Enjoy this first of thirty installments, because we here at 8384Baseball, well, we are dedicated to the cause of useless, mildly humorous factoids about a sport that is, well full of useless, mildly humorous factoids.
And really, that’s why we love it so, is it not?
Yup, that’s Adam Jones with… Jim Thome. He hit .257 with 3 homers and 10 RBI in, to be fair, at age 41 in his final half-of-a-season in 2012.
And that, my friends, is Vlady. Yes… Guerrero. Vladimir Guerrero. The year before Thome finished his career an O, Vlad finished his own hitting a healthy .290 (so perhaps this pic is a little unfair to him) with 13 homers and 63 RBIs in 2011. Like Sosa, however, he was only 36.
And, last but not least, to reach deep into the grab bag of Orioles one-year-wonder Hall-of-Fame sluggers, how about this guy?
Nope, that’s not a doctored image. Reggie Jackson finished 16th in the MVP voting playing in the prime of his career, his age-30 season, swiping a career high 28 stolen bases, and actually leading the AL with a .502 slugging percentage and 155 OPS+. Not that anyone actually paid any attention to those two statistics in 1976. But he only led the league in the former two other times and the latter three other times, so all-in-all it was a pretty decent year with the Orioles, though it was the only one in fourteen straight years that he did NOT make the All-Star team. Doh. Also, between 1971 and 1982, Jackson’s teams made the playoffs 10 times. One of the two he missed? With the O’s, of course.
He was traded by the Athletics right at the beginning of the season and refused to even report to the Orioles unless they raised his salary from $165,000 to $200,000. Yes, you are reading those numbers correctly. Not exactly Giancarlo Stanton money. He missed the first 16 games of the season as a result, and then finished his banner year by actually serving as a color commentator in the 1976 ALCS between the Royals and Yankees while still a member of the Orioles. He had this memorable exchange with Howard Cosell about then Bronx Bombers owner George Steinbrenner…
Jackson: Always amazes me how somebody that’s never played the game can tell somebody how to play it.
Cosell: Don’t be bitter.
Jackson: I’ll keep it in.
Cosell: Gonna have to.
Jackson: Don’t come down to the Oakland clubhouse or the Baltimore clubhouse and tell me what to do.
Jackson was celebrating a World Series in pinstripes the VERY NEXT SEASON.