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The 40 Greatest Orioles of All-Time - No. 36 - Nick Markakis

A few weeks ago I broached the subject of updating Camden Chat's 40 Greatest Orioles list, originally created by SC. The candidates up for discussion were Nick Markakis, Jeremy Guthrie, Miguel Tejada, Melvin Mora, and Brian Roberts. We had a good discussion on the possible additions of Markakis and Guthrie and re-ranking of Tejada, Mora, and Roberts. While most agreed that Guthrie doesn't belong on the list, just as many think that Nick already deserves a place.

Because I've opted not to mess with SC's order at all, adding anyone to the list would bump Gregg Olson from the top 40. That was tough for me because The Otter has such a special place in my heart. But really, did he mean more to the Orioles than Nick Markakis has since his arrival in 2006? While he was a part of the every exciting 1989 team, a team that was very special to 10 year old Stacey, Nick has eclipsed him.

So where to place Nick, exactly? After much mulling, I've decided that Nick belongs at #36, between B.J. Surhoff and Tippy Martinez. He'll surely move up the ranks the longer that he's with the Orioles, but for now, I'm happy with him there. See my write up of Nick below the jump.

Drafted by the Orioles in the first round (7th overall) of the 2003 amateur draft, Nick Markakis has been one of the few home grown Orioles to become a consistently good everyday player since I was born in 1979. He just completed his fifth full season with the Orioles and is still relatively young. He'll be celebrating his 27th birthday later this month and he already ranks quite high in a number of offensive categories. Check it:

Total All-Time O's Rank
Games 786 26th
Hits 891 16th
Doubles 206 11th
Walks 332 22nd
Home Runs 89 22nd
Runs 448 15th
Runs Batted In 442 17th
Batting Average* .298 4th
On-Base Percentage* .368 10th
Slugging Percentage* .469 9th

*minimum 2000 plate appearances

Not too shabby for a 27 year old. And as the 2nd longest tenured Oriole behind Brian Roberts, he's only going to move up the ranks. If he manages to stay an Oriole for his entire career who knows where his name will end up on the list.

But Nick isn't just an above-average bat and a solid outfielder. Nick Markakis came to the Orioles in a time when the fanbase was desperate for someone to cling to (he made his major league debut as a 9th inning defensive replacement on Opening Day 2006 and received a raucous ovation). Because of that it's possible he's been overrated in Baltimore, but there is no taking away from what he's done for this team.

In addition to his numbers, Nick has made it seem cool to want to be a Baltimore Oriole. He is a young, talented baseball player who chooses to make his year round home in Maryland. After his third season with the Orioles he signed a relatively team friendly extension that will keep him an Oriole through at least 2014. He won't wow you with his personality (even if he does wear Heelys), but having him here has become comfortable and right. We don't know who will play shortstop or first base for the Orioles next year. We don't know if Felix Pie will ever become an everyday talent. But every day during the season we can look out into right field and see Nick Markakis and know that, even if it's only at one position, we have nothing to worry about.