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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where Trey Mancini’s comeback was an inspiration

The O’s fan favorite was named AL Comeback Player of the Year yesterday, and it couldn’t be more deserved.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

If you’ve already put the Orioles’ 2021 season firmly in your rearview mirror, tossing any memory of the brutal campaign into a dustbin of history, it’s hard to blame you. There wasn’t a lot to like about a 110-loss season in which the club constantly looked overwhelmed and undermanned.

But through it all, there’s one wonderful, lasting image of the 2021 Orioles that won’t ever be forgotten. Trey Mancini, the Birds’ veteran leader, fan favorite, and all-around terrific human being, achieved what most wouldn’t have believed possible, returning from Stage 3 colon cancer to play a full, productive season of major league baseball.

It’s an incredible achievement that we simply can’t talk about enough. For Mancini to be back on the field for the Orioles, just one year after learning of his diagnosis and undergoing surgery to remove a malignant tumor, followed by six months of chemotherapy treatments, would have been an awe-inspiring comeback if he’d played only one game. He played 147. And he played them well, looking more than capable against the best competition in the world despite a year-long layoff that ravaged his body. Mancini posted a .758 OPS, knocked 21 homers and 71 RBIs, and was second only to Cedric Mullins in games played for the Birds. He also inspired fans on a national stage with his epic showing in July’s Home Run Derby, making it to the finals of the competition.

Yesterday, in a slam-dunk choice, Mancini was voted the AL Comeback Player of the Year, the first Oriole ever to win the award. It’s a well-deserved honor, and the cherry on top of a year to remember for Trey.

So, Orioles fans, do yourselves a favor. The next time you think about the 2021 Orioles, don’t think about their record or their overall performance on the field. Just think of it as The Year of Trey Mancini. It’s sure to put a smile on your face.


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Six former Orioles were born on this day, including Justin Turner (37), who started his MLB career with the O’s in 2009 but played just 17 games before the club cut him loose. More than a decade later, he’s still going strong as a prolific offensive cornerstone for the Dodgers.

Other O’s birthdays include first baseman Brandon Snyder (35), right-hander Adam Eaton (44), utility guy Ryan McGuire (50), the late infielder Todd Cruz (b. 1955, 2008), and the late righty John Anderson (b. 1929, d. 1998).

On this day in 2001, the Orioles signed right-hander Rodrigo Lopez as a minor league free agent. Lopez became one of the Birds’ best pitchers during the club’s lean years, compiling a 9.3 WAR in five seasons. He was AL Rookie of the Year runner-up in 2002, going 15-9 with a 3.57 ERA in 33 games.