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Orioles All-Time "Last Gasp" Team, Part 2 (OF/DH)

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Thanks for all the great discussion and suggestions after Part 1 (C/IF), I definitely missed some good ones but tried to incorporate them if possible! I also tried to avoid guys who may have had a few good seasons and definitely stunk as Orioles late in their career, but were never really perennial stars in the first place (Lew Ford, Colby Rasmus, etc)

Onto the OF and DH, and stay tuned next week for pitchers!

LF: Tim Raines, 2001

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The lightning-fast Hall of Famer and 7-time Expos All Star has perhaps the most heart warming story on this list, staving off retirement to play four games for the Orioles at 41 with his rookie son, Tim Raines Jr., in 2001. On Oct. 4, they became just the second father-and-son duo to play as teammates in a Major League Baseball game after Ken Griffey Jr. and Sr. in 1990. The senior Raines managed three hits, including a home run, and five RBIs in those four games with error-free defense, proving that he still had some gas in the tank, which he depleted on one final season with the Marlins the following year (.191 AVG, 4 XBH in 98 games).

Career Highlights: 2,500+ H, 700+ XBH, 950+ RBI, 800+ SB (Top 5 all time), .290+ AVG, 7-time All-Star (1987 MVP), 2017 Hall of Fame, 1986 NL batting and OB% title, 4-time stolen base champ, 1986 Silver Slugger, 2-time World Series champ, played in 4 different decades (70s, 80s, 90s, 00s)

Orioles Last Gasp: .273 AVG, HR, 5 RBIs in 4 games

CF: Joe Carter, 1998

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The Blue Jays legend came to Baltimore in 1998 as a 38-year-old with little left to prove in his career, having won two world championships (including one on a walkoff home run in 1993) and five All Star selections. Unfortunately for the Orioles--who paid more than $3 million for his services--Carter performed in an Orioles jersey like a player with nothing to prove. In Baltimore, Carter batted a middling .247 with 11 home runs and 34 RBIs in 283 at-bats before the Orioles had seen enough and sent the former No. 2 overall pick to San Francisco for Darin Blood, a pitcher who never appeared in the bigs. Carter fared a little better in San Fran (.884 OPS in 40 games), but was out of the bigs himself after the season.

Career Highlights: 2,100+ hits, 396 HR, 881 XBH, 1,445 RBIs, 231 SB, 5-time All Star, 2-time Silver Slugger, 2-time World Series champion, 1986 AL RBI champ

Orioles Last Gasp: .247 AVG, 11 HR, 34 RBI, 4 errors, in 85 games

RF: Sammy Sosa, 2005

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Ahh, now we’re talking. The mere sight of Sosa in an Orioles uniform is enough to turn the stomach of most Orioles fans, reminding them of an era of futility and misguided investments in past-their-prime former superstars. And Sosa was the epitome of a former superstar when the Orioles traded for him for a trio including Mike Fontenot and Jerry Hairston (paying more than $10M of his $17M salary), coming off of his seventh All Star season as a Cub. While Sosa had the stink of steroids and corked bats on him, there was reason to believe that he could at least be a productive bat for the Orioles, as he was coming off of a 35 home run, .849 OPS season. But after six consecutive losing seasons and a string of bad signings, most Orioles fans knew better than to get excited, and Sosa justified their concerns. Slammin’ Sammy struggled to a paltry .221 AVG with a Chris Davis-like 14 home runs in 100 games for a -1.0 WAR, the worst of his 18-year career. Two years later, Sosa came full circle with the Rangers--the team that originally signed him in 1985 as a 16-year-old--and hit a respectable .252 with 21 round trippers and 92 RBIs before riding off into the sunset to patiently await his Hall of Fame induction.

Career Highlights: 2,400+ hits (.273 AVG), 600+ HR (9th all time), 1,600+ RBI, 230+ SB, .878 OPS, 7-time All Star, 6-time Silver Slugger, 1998 MVP/PoY/Clemente Award, 1999 Hank Aaron Award, 3-time runs and total bases champ, 2-time HR and RBI champ

Orioles Last Gasp: .221 AVG, .671 OPS, 30 XBH in 102 games, 3 errors, -1.0 WAR

Honorable mentions: Dwight Evans (1991), Bobby Thomson (1960), Andy Van Slyke (1995)

DH: Jim Thome, 2012

Jim+Thome+Baltimore+Orioles+v+Minnesota+

To many Orioles fans, this will always be a “last gasp” that we can look back fondly on. Getting to see a future Hall of Famer and five-time All Star in an Orioles uniform during a playoff run made a special season just a little more special (all for the cost of Gabriel Lino and Kyle Simon in a midseason trade). Thome had a soft spot for the Orioles, too: Eddie Murray was his role model early in his career with the Indians. And it’s not like he hurt the team or stole much playing time from anyone. To be fair, though, his contributions may have been more valuable in the dugout and clubhouse than at the plate, as he produced only eight extra-base hits (just 3 of his 600+ career HRs) and 10 RBI in 115 plate appearances in a Baltimore jersey, exclusively at DH. That said, he did reach base twice in the Wild Card win over Texas to help propel the Orioles to the ALDS (we won’t talk about his performance in the ALDS). The big lefty ended a two-decade career with one last playoff run, and the Orioles got to add another Hall of Famer and all-around great guy to their all-time roster.

Career highlights: 2,300+ hits, 600+ HR (8th all time), .276 AVG, 1,700~ RBI, .400+ OBP, .956 OPS, 72.9 WAR, first ballot Hall of Fame 2018, 5-time All Star, 1996 Silver Slugger, 2002 Clemente Award, 2004 Gehrig Award, 2006 Comeback PoY, 2002 OBP champ, 2003 HR champ, 3-time BB champ

Orioles last gasp: .257 AVG, 8 XBH (3 HR), 10 RBI, 4 GDP, 40 K, .744 OPS in 28 games

Honorable mentions: Rick Burleson (1987, this is a catch-all cause I missed him at 2B, but he did start 7 games at DH in ‘87 and absolutely fits the bill here), Keith Moreland (1989), Ron Kittle (1990)

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17 minutes ago, ShaneDawg85 said:

Joe Carter is the first name that pops in my head whenever something like this comes up, and for good reason.  One of the many reasons the '98 team underachieved significantly; old and well past his prime.

It's funny, if you can read the back of that card in the image, it's a quote from Carter saying "I wanted to go out with a bang. Playing at Camden Yards is a way to go out with a bang." Unfortunately, based on the results, it seems like he expected the ballpark to do all the work for him.

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3 minutes ago, Moose Milligan said:

I forgot all about Joe Carter.  He was terrible.

Alright, I'll give...why's everyone hate Keith Moreland?  I'm too young to remember the 1989 team in detail.

 

 

Me too! TBH, I don't think I even knew that Rick Burleson and Keith Moreland were MLB players before this thread. Based on the stats, it looks like Moreland had a long, productive career throughout the 80s (mostly with the Cubs) peaking between 1985-1987 as a super utility guy with a pretty live bat who could wear like 4 different gloves and provide 1-2 WAR. The Orioles traded Brian Dubois to Detroit for him late in '89 for a playoff push, and he did absolutely nothing as a full-time DH, batting .215 (.243 OB%) with 4 BBs (12 Ks), 7 GIDPs, 1 HR, 4 2Bs, and 10 RBI in 33 games for a -1 WAR. Some commenters said he may have almost single handedly derailed the Why Not? team from making the playoffs. They probably would've been better off just giving his ABs to Tim Hulett or virtually anyone else. Frank Robinson as a player/coach probably could've done more at the plate
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7 minutes ago, TronBlaster said:

Me too! TBH, I don't think I even knew that Rick Burleson and Keith Moreland were MLB players before this thread. Based on the stats, it looks like Moreland had a long, productive career throughout the 80s (mostly with the Cubs) peaking between 1985-1987 as a super utility guy with a pretty live bat who could wear like 4 different gloves and provide 1-2 WAR. The Orioles traded Brian Dubois to Detroit for him late in '89 for a playoff push, and he did absolutely nothing as a full-time DH, batting .215 (.243 OB%) with 4 BBs (12 Ks), 7 GIDPs, 1 HR, 4 2Bs, and 10 RBI in 33 games for a -1 WAR. Some commenters said he may have almost single handedly derailed the Why Not? team from making the playoffs. They probably would've been better off just giving his ABs to Tim Hulett or virtually anyone else. Frank Robinson as a player/coach probably could've done more at the plate
90morelandud.jpg

Oh great, now you made me punch a hole in the computer screen.

Good thing I'm at work.

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9 hours ago, ShaneDawg85 said:

Joe Carter is the first name that pops in my head whenever something like this comes up, and for good reason.  One of the many reasons the '98 team underachieved significantly; old and well past his prime.

The Orioles took an aging successful team coming off a loss in the ALCS and decided to make themselves even older in 1998. Doug Drabek was a last gasp starter brought in that year as well.

Even if the Orioles made better roster decisions and kept Davey Johnson at manager, it still wouldn’t have mattered at the end going up against the Yankees. Maybe the O’s get a wildcard spot if everything goes right.  

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7 hours ago, TronBlaster said:

Me too! TBH, I don't think I even knew that Rick Burleson and Keith Moreland were MLB players before this thread. Based on the stats, it looks like Moreland had a long, productive career throughout the 80s (mostly with the Cubs) peaking between 1985-1987 as a super utility guy with a pretty live bat who could wear like 4 different gloves and provide 1-2 WAR. The Orioles traded Brian Dubois to Detroit for him late in '89 for a playoff push, and he did absolutely nothing as a full-time DH, batting .215 (.243 OB%) with 4 BBs (12 Ks), 7 GIDPs, 1 HR, 4 2Bs, and 10 RBI in 33 games for a -1 WAR. Some commenters said he may have almost single handedly derailed the Why Not? team from making the playoffs. They probably would've been better off just giving his ABs to Tim Hulett or virtually anyone else. Frank Robinson as a player/coach probably could've done more at the plate
90morelandud.jpg

I remember getting excited about Moreland and he was just awful. Moreland was bad with the Padres in 1988, but he was putting up a solid 115 OPS+ with the Tigers before the trade. Moreland hits like that for the Orioles and it might have been enough to win the AL East in 1989. Moreland was so bad in September he only had 21 plate appearances with a .243 OPS.

Also Brian Dubois the player traded for Moreland put up a 1.75 ERA with the Tigers in 5 games started. He had zero wins, but that was due to playing on a Tigers team that lost 103 games. Dubois also had more walks than strikeouts. Clearly he wasn't good, but could have made a difference during the stretch run. So now I'm even more pissed off about this trade 30 years later. 

I also recall Moreland getting booed by the fans at Memorial Stadium. 

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9 hours ago, 24fps said:

Andy Van Slyke

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I was hoping someone would mention Andy Van Slyke! He was my favorite player growing up, and when he came to the Orioles, I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming. Didn't quite go the way I wanted to, but I still remember him ripping a double down the right field line.

Last year, I finally convinced my wife to order me a custom Andy Van Slyke Orioles jersey. Hoping to trot it out at some point this season!

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