Last Friday, I challenged people to write a FanPost telling the story of their favorite Oriole who they liked and nobody else did. There have been some great responses and I wanted to make sure to highlight them. If you haven’t shared your own story yet, get thee to the FanPosts!
When I asked people to do this, I expected a parade of players not unlike my own pick of Brandon Fahey. Utility infielders, backup catchers, fourth outfielders, forgettable relievers. What I did not expect was the pick of commenter SamKnj - Kevin Gregg.
But Gregg, as SamKnj reminds us, had at least that one moment of greatness when he got into a fight with forever whiner and future vandal David Ortiz. That was a good one, indeed.
I would have bet every dollar I’ve ever made that my fellow Camden Chatter Stacey would pick Felix Pie, and sure enough, she did, reminding us all of his adorableness:
But if you're looking for evidence of his adorability, there is the story of the outfield victory bump. As is the tradition of many teams, the Orioles of Felix Pie's day did the jump and bump after a team win. After some time it turned into an outfield group hug, with the reason being that Felix did not like that his foot kept getting stepped on. I mean, come on!
David Newhan spent three years with the Orioles, two of which weren’t any good at all. He had a fan in Nick9923 because of an autograph:
It was either the summer of '05 or '06, the O's weren't playing well but I was still excited. I was determined to get Rafael Palmeio's autograph but he blew me off, but in comes David Newhan who stepped up and signed my ball and even took a photo with me. Even though Newhan was not the best player on the field, just from that one moment he became my favorite Oriole.
I have never actually gotten an Oriole’s players autograph, but I imagine if I had, that player would be one of my random favorites, too.
One of our regular commenters, Astronaut Mike Dexter, chose the strikeout king of his era, Mark Reynolds, for a very simple reason: Dongs. Not only did Reynolds hit a ton of them, he proved to be the herald of the homer-happy teams that have come since:
Those teams weren't just bad, they were boring. Since the signing of Reynolds, the team has put an emphasis on offensive production. And not only has the team been more fun to watch, but it's been a key ingredient in our success. Sure enough, the 2011 team was fourth in MLB in total home runs. I'm not saying that was all because of Mark. I'm just saying that one day, all these home runs may be gone and maybe we will realize that we have been taking them for granted.
There are more than a few Orioles who could have only become legendary - sort of - for contributing to the 2012 team. andjossch7 salutes Taylor Teagarden and his nine hits, each more clutch than the last:
My family attended an O's Game on July 14th of that year. We sent that game into extra innings against the Tigers, tied 6-6. In the 11th inning, Taylor Teagarden came in, getting his first major league action in nearly a year, thanks to injuries.
His second at bat in this extra-innings fiasco, he hit a deep drive off of Joaquin Benoit, a walk-off two-run homer that landed two rows in front of where I was sitting with my brothers.
Another regular, perpetualstudent, remembered a few of the O’s failed pitching prospects, including Hayden Penn, memorable to me as the first Oriole younger than me:
The other is Hayden Penn. I was at the game when he got his first win, and to me it was an auspicious sign. I didn't understand baseball so well then, or I might have been more cautious. He was a little funny looking, but cute in his own way. I can't imagine he was much of a conversationalist, though.
And let’s not forget that when the Orioles eventually had enough of Penn, they traded him to the Marlins for Birdland hero Robert Andino. That’s quite a legacy!
TonyBats took the prompt in a different direction, adding some Orioles who he did not like along with a few who he did:
I also have plenty of least favorite unheralded Orioles but probably too many to name. A select few include David Segui, Larry Bigbie and Jay Gibbons (notice a theme). Alan Mills also yelled at me from the bullpen when I was a kid one time so never been a fan of his either.
One great mystery to me is why the Orioles keep inviting Bigbie to everything.
Last but not least, BubbaFan has been Paul Janish’s #1 fan since before he was even an Oriole because of moments like this:
Among the highlights: the 4th of July game when Joey Votto was ejected in the first inning for arguing balls and strikes, Janish took his spot, and went 4 for 4 with a home run. And a couple of games where Janish volunteered to be the disaster relief pitcher, sparing the pen when the game was hopelessly out of reach. He put up a 49.50 ERA, but Driveline Mechanics thought he had enough zip and movement that the Reds should convert him to pitching.
It’s true that there’s nothing quite so fun as a position player being pressed into pitching duties, although they can’t all work out as well as Chris Davis did.
Thanks to everyone who shared a story. It’s not too late to add yours! And look for another prompt on Friday.