RSS Feed

Category Archives: Baltimore Orioles

Johnny Oates -1973 Topps #9

Posted on

  Johnny Lane Oates (January 21, 1946 – December 24, 2004) coach, and manager. He played in Major League Baseball as a catcher for the Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees from 1970 to 1981. During his playing career, Oates was a light-hitting player who was valued for his defensive skills and, played most of his career as a reserve player. It was as a major league manager that Oates experienced his greatest success, leading the Texas Rangers to three American League Western Division titles. In an 11 year career, Oates played in 593 games, accumulating 410 hits in 1,820 at bats for a .250 career batting average along with 14 home runs, 126 runs batted in and a .309 on base percentage. A good defensive player, he ended his career with a .987 fielding percentage.
Oates was considering returning to managing when he was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme. Doctors gave Oates only about a year to live, but he survived for over three years—enough time to attend his daughter’s wedding, his grandchild’s birth, and his induction into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame at The Ballpark in Arlington. During the ceremony at The Ballpark, he was given a standing ovation as Oates, weakened by the cancer and its treatment, required the help of his wife Gloria and a cane to walk. During his address to the crowd, he said he hoped it would be his friend, then-Rangers manager Buck Showalter, who would finally lead the team to a World Series victory. This never happened as Showalter was fired after the 2006 season. Oates was inducted into the Virginia Tech Sports Hall of Fame in 1983 and, in 2003, he was inducted into the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Oates succumbed to the tumor at age 58 at Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond on Christmas Eve 2004.
His uniform number 26 was retired by the Rangers on August 5, 2005. It is only the second number retired by the Rangers, following the 34 of Nolan Ryan. During the 2005 season, a commemorative patch was worn on all Ranger uniforms and a sign was hung on the outfield wall in his honor. Prior to Game 3 of the 2010 American League Division Series against the Tampa Bay Rays, his eight-year-old grandson, Johnny Oates II, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. In 2010, Showalter would honor his friend Oates by choosing the number 26 as he took over management of the Baltimore Orioles. Oates was posthumously inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame on August 7, 2010.


Earl Williams – 1973 Topps #504

Posted on

Earl Craig Williams, Jr.(born July 14, 1948) He never played catcher in the minor leagues, he earned the National League’s Rookie of the Year award at that position in 1971. He made his first start behind the plate on June 20 against the Cincinnati Reds. George Foster led off the Reds’ half of the second inning with a single, then proceeded to take full advantage of Williams’ inexperience at his new position. Foster stole second, advanced to third on Williams’ throwing error, then stole home to score the first run of the game. The following day, Williams caught both games of a doubleheader against the Montreal Expos, and caught his first attempted base stealer, Rusty Staub. He ended up appearing in 72 games at catcher, committing eight errors and catching 28% of potential base stealers. On September 10, Williams became the only Braves player besides Hank Aaron to hit a home run into the upper deck at Fulton County Stadium. Aaron was also the first right-handed hitter to do it, and Williams was the second. The feat had been preceded by the left-handed hitters Willie Smith and Willie Stargell. Williams spent most of the 1972 season catching. He had a whopping 28 passed balls that season, mostly due to his inability to catch Phil Niekro’s knuckleball. However, he also had 28 home runs and 87 RBIs. Following the season, he and infield prospect Taylor Duncan were traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Pat Dobson, Roric Harrison, Davey Johnson and Johnny Oates. Many Oriole players, most notably ace pitcher Jim Palmer, were critical of this trade. Ironically, Palmer was 13-5 in games in which he pitched to Williams, and went on to win his first Cy Young Award in 1973. Williams batted .237 with 22 home runs and 83 RBIs his first season in the American League. Williams reached the post season for the only time in his career with the Orioles in 1973 and 1974, losing to the Oakland Athletics in the American League Championship Series both years. His only post-season home run came off Ken Holtzman in the 1973 American League Championship Series.

Terry Crowley – 1973 Topps #302

Terrence Michael Crowley(born February 16, 1947 in Staten Island, New York) is a former Major League Baseball player who now serves as the interim bullpen coach for the Baltimore Orioles. Crowley played for the Orioles from 1969–1973 and 1976–1982. He was a backup player that could play the outfield and first base. When the designated hitter rule was implemented, he was the first Oriole to fulfill this role. However, he was best known during his playing career for being a pinch hitter. As of the end of 2008, Crowley’s 108 career pinch-hits is still the 13th-most all-time, tied with Denny Walling. Crowley has served as the hitting coach for the Baltimore Orioles from 1985 through 1988, the Minnesota Twins from 1991 through 1998, and the Baltimore Orioles from 1999 through 2010. Crowley served as a roving hitting instructor in the Orioles organization in 2011. He is now the interim bullpen coach, following Mark Connor’s resignation and the subsequent promotion of bullpen coach Rick Adair. Crowley attended Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus, before being drafted by the Orioles in 1966.

Mickey Scott – 1973 Topps #553

Ralph Robert Scott(July 25, 1947 – October 30, 2011) was a left-handed specialist pitcher in North American Major League Baseball (MLB) who played in portions of five seasons with the Baltimore Orioles, Montreal Expos and California Angels from 1972 to 1977. He was born in Weimar, East Germany. Scott was selected out of Newburgh Free Academy by the New York Yankees in the 17th round of the 1965 Major League Baseball Draft. He was the first high school baseball player drafted out of the Mid-Hudson region of the Hudson Valley by any MLB club. He was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Pete Ward on December 18, 1969. He also spent nine seasons in the Minor leagues, mostly for the Rochester Red Wings of the International League. In 1971, he collected a 9-1 record with nine saves and a 3.38 earned run average in 54 games for manager Joe Altobelli’s pennant-winning and Governor’s Cup winning-team. He had an even better season for Rochester in 1974, when he was 8-2 with 17 saves and a 0.99 ERA in 57 games. In a nine-year minors career, he posted a 60-32 record with 46 saves and a 3.20 ERA in 297 pitching appearances. He was elected to the Red Wings Hall of Fame in 1998, along with Allie Clark, Frank Horton and Al Weber. Scott died in Binghamton, New York, at the age of 64.

Brooks Robinson – 1974 topps #160

Posted on

Brooks Calbert Robinson, Jr. (born May 18, 1937) is a former American professional baseball player. He played his entire 23-year major league career for the Baltimore Orioles (1955–1977). Nicknamed “The Human Vacuum Cleaner”, he is generally acclaimed as one of the greatest defensive third-basemen in major league history. He won 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards during his career, tied with pitcher Jim Kaat for the second most all-time for any player at any position. Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983. In his playing career, Robinson was selected for the All-Star team in 15 consecutive years (1960-74), and played in four World Series. He compiled a .267 career batting average with 2,848 hits, 268 home runs and 1357 runs batted in. Robinson led the American League in fielding percentage a record 11 times, and at the time of his retirement, his .971 career fielding average was the highest ever for a third baseman. His totals of 2870 games played at third base, 2697 career putouts, 6205 career assists, 8902 career total chances and 618 double plays, were records for third basemen at the time of his retirement. Robinson’s 23 seasons with one team set a new major league record, since tied by Carl Yastrzemski. Only Yastrzemski (3308), Hank Aaron (3076) and Stan Musial (3026) played more games for one franchise. Robinson also hit into four triple plays during his career, a major league record. He commented, “I wouldn’t mind seeing someone erase my record of hitting into four triple plays.”

Earl Weaver -1974 Topps #306

Posted on

Earl Sidney Weaver (born August 14, 1930 in St. Louis, Missouri) is a former Major League Baseball manager. He spent his entire 17-year managerial career with the Baltimore Orioles (1968–1982; 1985–1986). Weaver was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. Weaver was ejected from games at least 91 times during the regular season (98, according to one source) and several more times during post-season play. He was ejected from both ends of a doubleheader—three times. He was ejected before a game started twice (both times by Ron Luciano). Luciano alone ejected him from all four games of a minor-league series and eight games in the majors. He also received four multiple-game suspensions. He was well known for the humor that often accompanied his ejections. During one particular tirade with an umpire, Weaver headed to the dugout screaming, “I’m going to check the rule-book on that” to which the umpire replied, “Here, use mine.” Weaver shot back, “That’s no good – I can’t read braille.” He once told an umpire that he could appear on What’s My Line? wearing his mask, chest protector and ball/strike indicator and still nobody would guess he was an umpire. Weaver had a penchant for kicking dirt on umpires, and for turning his cap backwards whenever he sparred with umpires in order to get as close to them as possible without actually touching them. His rivalry with Luciano was legendary, to the point where the AL rearranged umpiring schedules for an entire year so that Luciano would not work Orioles games. In the third inning of Luciano’s first game in Baltimore a year later, he ejected Weaver—who then publicly questioned Luciano’s “integrity” and received a three-game suspension. Still, Weaver had respect for Luciano, calling him “one of the few umpires that people have paid their way into the park to see.” Marty Springstead was one of Weaver’s least favorite umpires. On September 15, 1977, in Toronto, Weaver asked umpire Springstead to have a tarpaulin covering the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen area removed; the tarp was weighed down by bricks and Weaver argued that his left fielder could be injured if he ran into the bricks while chasing a foul ball. When the umpire refused to order the Blue Jays to move the tarp, Weaver pulled the Orioles off the field, forcing the umpire to declare a forfeit: the only forfeit in Orioles history. On another infamous occasion, in Cleveland, Springstead watched as Weaver tore up the rule book and tossed it into the air. One of Weaver’s most infamous tirades came on September 17, 1980 in a game against the Detroit Tigers. First base umpire Bill Haller, who was wearing a microphone for a documentary on the daily life of an MLB umpire, called a balk on Oriole pitcher Mike Flanagan. Weaver charged out of the dugout and began screaming at Haller, who was already angry at Weaver for publicly questioning his honesty by suggesting he be prohibited from working Tigers games because his brother was the Tigers’ catcher. After Weaver was ejected, he launched into a profanity-filled argument with Haller that was duly recorded. Weaver’s contempt for umpires was often mutual. One night in 1973 Weaver threw his cap to the ground and began a vehement argument with Luciano. Luciano’s crew-mate Don Denkinger walked over to Weaver’s cap, stepped on it with the sharp cleats of both shoes, and slowly twisted back and forth.

Don Baylor -1974 Topps #187

Posted on

Donald Edward Baylor (born June 28, 1949) is a Major League Baseball coach currently the hitting coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and a former player and manager. During his 19-year playing career, he was a power hitter who played as a first baseman, outfielder, and designated hitter. He played for six different American League teams, primarily the Baltimore Orioles and California Angels. He later managed the expansion Colorado Rockies for six years and the Chicago Cubs for three. In 1979, he led the American League with 139 RBIs and 120 runs and was an AL All-Star. He won the AL’s MVP award and led the Angels to their first AL Western Division title ever. He reached the World Series three times in his career, in consecutive years with three different teams (one of two players in history to accomplish this feat, Eric Hinske is the other)—the Red Sox in 1986, the Twins in 1987, and the A’s in 1988—and was on the winning side in 1987. Baylor was a power hitter known for crowding the plate. He set the Red Sox’ team record for most Hit by Pitches in a season (35 in 1986); in his career, he was hit by pitches 267 times, 4th most all time. Baylor retired with 285 stolen bases, 2,135 hits, and 338 home runs. In the book Planet of the Umps, umpire Ken Kaiser said the hardest ball he ever saw hit was by Don Baylor. Kaiser said the ball glanced off the third baseman’s glove and over the outfield wall for a home run.

Jim Palmer – 1974 Topps #40

James Alvin “Jim” Palmer (born October 15, 1945), nicknamed “Cakes”, is a former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. He played his entire 20-year baseball career for the Baltimore Orioles (1965–1984). He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990. In a 19-year career, Palmer compiled a 268–152 record with 2,212 strikeouts, a 2.86 ERA, 521 games started, 211 complete games, and 53 shutouts in 3,948 innings. Palmer’s career earned run average (2.856) is the third lowest among starting pitchers whose careers began after the advent of the Live Ball Era in 1920, behind only Whitey Ford (2.75) and Sandy Koufax (2.75), and miniscually ahead of Andy Messersmith (2.861) and Tom Seaver (2.862). He never allowed a grand slam in his major-league career nor did he ever allow back-to-back homers. In six ALCS and six World Series, he posted an 8–3 record with 90 strikeouts, and an ERA of 2.61 and two shutouts in 17 games. His final major-league victory was noteworthy: Pitching in relief in the third game of the 1983 World Series, he worked methodically through the Phillies’ celebrity-studded batting order, giving up no runs and contributing hugely to a close and crucial Oriole win. In 1999, he ranked No. 64 on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

Cal Ripkin – 1991 Donruss #223

Posted on

Calvin Edwin “Cal” Ripkin,Jr. (born August 24, 1960), nicknamed “Iron Man”, is a former Major League Baseball shortstop and third baseman. He played his entire 21-year baseball career for the Baltimore Orioles (1981–2001). Ripken is perhaps best known for breaking New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played, a record many deemed unbreakable. He surpassed the 56-year-old record when he played in his 2,131st consecutive game on September 6, 1995, between the Orioles and the California Angels in front of a sold-out crowd at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. To make the feat even more memorable, Ripken hit a home run in the previous night’s game that tied Gehrig’s record and another home run in his 2,131st game, which fans later voted as Major League Baseball’s “Most Memorable Moment” in MLB history. Ripken played in an additional 501 straight games over the next three years, and his streak ended at 2,632 games when he voluntarily removed his name from the lineup for the final Orioles home game of the 1998 season. His record 2,632 straight games spanned over seventeen seasons, from May 30, 1982, to September 20, 1998.

Frank Robinson – 1972 Topps #100

Posted on

Frank Robinson (born August 31, 1935), is a former Major League Baseball outfielder and manager. He played from 1956–1976, most notably for the Cincinnati Reds and the Baltimore Orioles. He is the only player to win league MVP honors in both the National and American Leagues. He won the Triple crown, was a member of two teams that won the World Series (the 1966 and 1970 Baltimore Orioles), and amassed the fourth-most career home runs at the time of his retirement (he is currently tied for eighth). Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. Robinson was the first African-American hired to serve as manager in Major League history. He managed the Cleveland Indians during the last two years of his playing career, compiling a 186–189 record. He went on to manage the San Francisco Giants, the Baltimore Orioles, and the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals.

%d bloggers like this: