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What Might Have Been


George Zuverink

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The confluence of recent threads about the durability (or lack thereof) of various pitchers of interest, the almost foregone conclusion that Dylan will come back better than ever; the enthusiasm for taking flyers on J.Santana and Niemann; the hope that Hobgood may not be a total wasted first round pick; the request for favorite Orioles memories got me thinking; and Josh Hart's homework assignment.

How much different might the pantheon of great, hard-throwing Orioles pitchers have been if orthopedic surgery had been advanced as it is today? I submit for your consideration:

Wally Bunker - Nine months older than Palmer. Won his first six starts and went 19-5 at age 19 in 1964 and shut out the Dodgers pitching with a sore arm, two days after a Palmer did in the 1966 WS

Jerry Walker - the youngest pitcher ever to start an All-Star game when he started the game at age 20 for the American League in 1959

Chuck Estrada - 15-9 as a 22 year old rookie in 1960, leading the league in fewest hits per nine innings

Steve Barber - 18-12 with eight shutouts as a 22 year old rookie in 1960, 20- 13 the next year. Removed with one out to go in the ninth of a no hitter in 1967. Stu Miller got the out

Steve Dalkowski - the original Nuke Laloosh

Each of their careers ended early with elbow problems. At least some of those careers could have been saved by surgery that some high school kids have as a preventive measure. Palmer got past his elbow problems and made the HOF. How many more could there have been?

I wonder how many of our frequent posters have heard of any of these guys.You other old-timers, whom am I missing?

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I wonder how many of our frequent posters have heard of any of these guys.You other old-timers, whom am I missing?

I wonder how many of the young posters here think that your real name is George Zuverink? I do think that your point is well taken. All the pitchers that you listed could have maybe had HOF careers if they had the benefits of today's modern surgical techniques. I don't think that you missed any significant Oriole pitchers from your list either. I cherish the memories of those early Oriole players.

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I wonder how many of our frequent posters have heard of any of these guys.You other old-timers, whom am I missing?

Perhaps Sammy Stewart. At least, it can be filed under "What might have been" for young, talented Oriole pitchers.

Stewart was released from prison in October of 2013, after spending 6 years and 3 months there.

(October 10, 2011) [WHILE STILL IN PRISON]

Imprisoned Ex-Oriole Writes an Open Apology Letter, Mourns Flanagan

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/blog/2011/10/imprisoned_exoriole_writes_ope.html

(October 26, 2013) [9 MONTHS AFTER HIS RELEASE FROM PRISON]

Former Oriole Sammy Stewart is Out of Prison and Enjoying a 'Simple Life'

(By Childs Walker)

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2013-10-26/sports/bs-sp-orioles-sammy-stewart-recovery-20131026_1_prison-crack-cocaine-20-years

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I don't know the name of the doc that did the first "Tommy John" surgery ... but it was a historic day for baseball!

Frank Jobe.

Baseball's Medical Revolutionary

Honored by the Baseball Hall-of-Fame, Jobe's Tommy John surgery still prolonging pitchers' careers.

(By Stephania Bell)

http://espn.go.com/mlb/hof13/story/_/id/9519377/an-appreciation-dr-frank-jobe O (July 29, 2013)

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Is that what happened to him? Won Cycling Young and then... I was a kid then and haven't thought about him in years.

He won the Cy Young one year and really struggled with arm problems the next and retired. Not sure if it was a UCL tear or not.

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Is that what happened to him? Won Cycling Young and then... I was a kid then and haven't thought about him in years.

I was 14 and a-half at the time, and I remember Stone going 9-up-9 down as the A.L. All-Star team's starting pitcher that July.

I believe that Stone went into the 1980 season determined to give it every ounce of whatever was left in his arm, hoping that he could have at least one final excellent season in the majors, and perhaps even a glorious one.

Well, it worked out just the way that Stone anticipated it to. He went 25-7, won the Cy young for the 100-win Orioles, and shone brightly in the previously-mentioned All-Star game.

But he shot his proverbial wad that season ...... just as he figured he would. He had a sub-par year in the 1981-strike-shortened season, and retired shortly thereafter. But again, Stone had no regrets, because in his mind, he would rather have done what he did (gone all-out for one final glorious season) than to try to extend his career with perhaps 3 or 4 more mediocre seasons.

My apologies in advance for any inaccuracies in my recap, but I am pretty sure that Stone said something to that nature in an interview many years after he had retired from the game.

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I was 14 and a-half at the time, and I remember Stone going 9-up-9 down as the A.L. All-Star team's starting pitcher that July.

I believe that Stone went into the 1980 season determined to give it every ounce of whatever was left in his arm, hoping that he could have at least one final excellent season in the majors, and perhaps even a glorious one.

Well, it worked out just the way that Stone anticipated it to. He went 25-7, won the Cy young for the 100-win Orioles, and shone brightly in the previously-mentioned All-Star game.

But he shot his proverbial wad that season ...... just as he figured he would. He had a sub-par year in the 1981-strike-shortened season, and retired shortly thereafter. But again, Stone had no regrets, because in his mind, he would rather have done what he did (gone all-out for one final glorious season) than to try to extend his career with perhaps 3 or 4 more mediocre seasons.

My apologies in advance for any inaccuracies in my recap, but I am pretty sure that Stone said something to that nature in an interview many years after he had retired from the game.

[video=youtube;RrL-cWaYdno]

What a beautiful light it makes!

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I was 14 and a-half at the time, and I remember Stone going 9-up-9 down as the A.L. All-Star team's starting pitcher that July.

I believe that Stone went into the 1980 season determined to give it every ounce of whatever was left in his arm, hoping that he could have at least one final excellent season in the majors, and perhaps even a glorious one.

Well, it worked out just the way that Stone anticipated it to. He went 25-7, won the Cy young for the 100-win Orioles, and shone brightly in the previously-mentioned All-Star game.

But he shot his proverbial wad that season ...... just as he figured he would. He had a sub-par year in the 1981-strike-shortened season, and retired shortly thereafter. But again, Stone had no regrets, because in his mind, he would rather have done what he did (gone all-out for one final glorious season) than to try to extend his career with perhaps 3 or 4 more mediocre seasons.

My apologies in advance for any inaccuracies in my recap, but I am pretty sure that Stone said something to that nature in an interview many years after he had retired from the game.

Stone said, of that 1980 season, that he was determined to keep throwing his curve until his arm fell off. He did.

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Perhaps Sammy Stewart. At least, it can be filed under "What might have been" for young, talented Oriole pitchers.

Stewart was released from prison in October of 2013, after spending 6 years and 3 months there.

(October 10, 2011) [WHILE STILL IN PRISON]

Imprisoned Ex-Oriole Writes an Open Apology Letter, Mourns Flanagan

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/blog/2011/10/imprisoned_exoriole_writes_ope.html

(October 26, 2013) [9 MONTHS AFTER HIS RELEASE FROM PRISON]

Former Oriole Sammy Stewart is Out of Prison and Enjoying a 'Simple Life'

(By Childs Walker)

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2013-10-26/sports/bs-sp-orioles-sammy-stewart-recovery-20131026_1_prison-crack-cocaine-20-years

What a coincidence. When I read the links you sent me about Sammy "the Throwin' Swannanoan" Stewart, I was sitting on a folding chair at a soccer field in Swannanoa watching my granddaughter train. From the description in the article, it sounds like he and I now live within 10 miles of each other. So do I drive up there, knock on the door, and ask him out for a beer?

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Perhaps Sammy Stewart. At least, it can be filed under "What might have been" for young, talented Oriole pitchers.

Stewart was released from prison in October of 2013, after spending 6 years and 3 months there.

(October 10, 2011) [WHILE STILL IN PRISON]

Imprisoned Ex-Oriole Writes an Open Apology Letter, Mourns Flanagan

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/blog/2011/10/imprisoned_exoriole_writes_ope.html

(October 26, 2013) [9 MONTHS AFTER HIS RELEASE FROM PRISON]

Former Oriole Sammy Stewart is Out of Prison and Enjoying a 'Simple Life'

(By Childs Walker)

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2013-10-26/sports/bs-sp-orioles-sammy-stewart-recovery-20131026_1_prison-crack-cocaine-20-years

What a coincidence. When I read the links you sent me about Sammy "the Throwin' Swannanoan" Stewart, I was sitting on a folding chair at a soccer field in Swannanoa watching my granddaughter train. From the description in the article, it sounds like he and I now live within 10 miles of each other. So, do I drive up there, knock on his door, and ask him out for a beer?

If you do, I would ask him to have a Gatorade together, instead.

After all of the trouble that he has been in (and that's putting it lightly) largely because of his drugs abuse, I suspect (and hope) that Sammy would be steering clear any of that stuff (drugs and alcohol.)

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