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Tuesday Bird Droppings: J.J. Hardy is on the Hall of Fame ballot

The longtime Orioles shortstop is eligible for Cooperstown for the first and probably only time.

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The MLB offseason has been a bit of a slow burn so far, and with Thanksgiving two days away, the pace doesn’t figure to pick up much this week. I suppose it’s fair for general managers to spend the holiday with their families rather than wheel and deal nonstop to appease the baseball transaction junkies. I suppose.

There is a bit of action in San Francisco, where freshly minted AL MVP and prominent free agent Aaron Judge flew into town to meet with Giants officials. Next stop, Baltimore! Am I right??

The biggest baseball news yesterday was the release of the official 2023 Hall of Fame ballot. The 28-candidate field includes 14 newcomers, the most notable for Orioles fans being longtime shortstop J.J. Hardy. The three-time Gold Glover played an instrumental role in helping transform the Orioles from perennial cellar-dwellers into a half-decade of contenders, providing a steadying influence in the infield and, in his first few years, impressive pop at the plate. He was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame last year. Hardy of course won’t merit serious consideration for Cooperstown, and might not garner even one vote, but he had a career that anyone would be proud of. If only this were the Hall of Fame of Handsomeness, he’d have a better shot.

The only other players on the ballot with Orioles ties are right-hander Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez, who spent two forgettable months with the Birds in 2013 amidst an otherwise successful career as a closer, and Jayson Werth, the Orioles’ first-round pick in 1997 who they traded before he began his 15-year major league career. Both, like Hardy, will likely fall off the ballot in their first year without reaching the 5 percent threshold to remain.


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three former Orioles were born on this day: left-hander Jayson Aquino (30), outfielder Jay Payton (50), and outfielder Joe Gaines (86).

On this day in 1965, O’s outfielder Curt Blefary was named American League Rookie of the Year after clubbing 22 homers and OPSing .851 as a 21-year-old. Blefary received 12 first-place votes, with the other eight going to Angels right-hander Marcelino Lopez (who would later be Blefary’s teammate on the 1967 Orioles). Blefary was the second Oriole to win Rookie of the Year, and four others have done so since.