The 40 Greatest Orioles of All-Time - No. 35 - Mike Boddicker

35. Mike Boddicker, RHP (1980-1988)

All-Star: 1984
1983 ALCS MVP

(Note: This was a numbering mistake by me. Sorry!)

Mike Boddicker was a pretty good pitcher, but really had a very short career. 1980-1982 are irrelevant, with ten appearances overall and one start in 1980. His last two seasons with the Royals (1992) and Brewers (1993) were injury-filled and ineffective, and he wasn't that old then, ending his career at 35.

So with Boddicker you basically have 1983-1991 as a career, with 1983 through 1987 and part of 1988 as his Oriole career.

But his first two years were pretty special. Ron Kittle hit 35 homers and had 100 RBI in '83 for the AL West champion White Sox, and Boddicker 16-8 with a 2.77 ERA (second in the AL) and led the league in shutouts with five for the AL East champion Orioles. Kittle won the Rookie of the Year award. Boddicker finished third, behind Julio Franco who hit .273 with 32 steals and 80 RBI for Cleveland with a .693 OPS. Boddicker wound up getting the last laugh, named the ALCS MVP for a remarkable game two performance in which he went the full nine innings and shut out Chicago with 14 strikeouts. Actually, maybe Franco had the last laugh, because he's still playing. Kittle had really big glasses.

Boddicker's big game against the White Sox to tie that series at 1-1 was not the end of his '83 postseason heroics. He also pitched game two of the World Series, with the Orioles again having dropped the opener. This time, he pitched a three-hitter in a 4-1 Orioles win against Philadelphia. He became the first rookie to pitch a three-hitter in the World Series since Dickie Kerr, in 1919.

In 1984, Boddicker won a league-best 20 games and led the league in ERA (2.79). He was second in complete games (16). Judging by his first two full seasons, one would have guessed Boddicker was about to go on to greatness. But that wasn't at all the case. Boddicker topped out at 26.

In 1985, he was 12-17 with a 4.07 ERA. In 1986, he went 14-12 with a 4.70 ERA. In 1987, 10-12 with a 4.18 ERA, his first year better than the league since 1984. Boddicker was 6-12, 3.86 in 1988 when he was traded to the Red Sox on July 29, 1988, for Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling. It was a good trade for the Orioles, and could've been a lot better had it not been for their later trade of Schilling. That said, Boddicker went 7-3 with a 2.63 ERA down the stretch for Boston, helping them win the AL East over Detroit, Toronto, Milwaukee and the Yankees, who all finished no less than four games back.

Boddicker was decent in '89 for Boston (15-11, 4.00) and had his best full season since '84 in 1990, going 17-8 with a 3.36 ERA. He signed with the Royals for the 1991 season, which would essentially be his last, going 12-12 with a 4.08 ERA.

For his career, Boddicker was 134-116 with a 3.80 ERA (107 adjusted ERA+) over 2123 2/3 innings. He was a fine pitcher, measuring up career-wise to a solid third starter. If his career had followed his first two years with the Orioles, he would be much, much higher on this list and would be far better remembered overall.

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