Good morning, Camden Chatters.
It’s Hall of Fame voting season, and this year’s batch of eligible inductees was announced yesterday. Among the new candidates, most of the national media attention is going to Derek Jeter — because of course it is — but here in Birdland, the bigger story is that longtime Orioles second baseman and leadoff hitter Brian Roberts is listed on the ballot.
This year’s newcomers are players who last played in 2014 and spent at least 10 years in the majors, but not all such players even make it through the screening process to get their names listed (Erik Bedard and Nate McLouth, for instance, didn’t make the cut despite fitting the criteria). By that measure, Roberts has already accomplished something pretty neat. Hall of Fame voters will get to look upon his name, think, “Oh yeah, that guy had a nice career,” and then move on without voting for him.
That last sentence may be a bit cynical, but let’s be honest: there’s no way Roberts is going to be elected to Cooperstown. He probably won’t receive a single vote. Still, he really did have a nice career, and he was one of the best second basemen in Orioles history. As Joe Trezza points out in the article linked above, “Among second basemen, Roberts owns the franchise records for games played (1,327), at-bats (5,214), runs (810), hits (1,452), doubles (351), RBIs (521), walks (581) and steals (278).”
Roberts’ 29.0 rWAR ranks 14th all-time among O’s position players, and second among O’s second basemen behind Bobby Grich (36.0). He ranks second in Orioles history in stolen bases (behind only Brady Anderson) and he’s fourth in doubles, behind three Hall of Famers: Cal Ripken, Brooks Robinson, and Eddie Murray. Roberts had three seasons of 50 or more doubles, leading the league twice, and was a two-time All-Star.
It’s a shame Roberts’ career derailed in his last four years with the Orioles, in which he combined for only 192 games. Smacking himself in the head with a bat and giving himself a concussion wasn’t exactly his smartest move. But before that ugliness, he was an illustrious Oriole and a prolific leadoff hitter. Roberts is a well deserving member of the Orioles Hall of Fame, even if he’s not quite Cooperstown material.
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Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Two ex-Orioles were born on this day: 1966-68 catcher Larry Haney (77) and 1988 two-game righty Dickie Noles (63).
On this day in 1963, the Orioles hired Hank Bauer as their manager. The longtime Yankee went on to a successful stint skippering the Birds, leading them 94 or more wins in three of his four full seasons with the club, including the Orioles’ first World Series championship in 1966. Bauer was replaced during the 1968 season by a young upstart named Earl Weaver.