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Friday Bird Droppings: Adley and Gunnar are Silver Sluggers

The Orioles’ two young superstars earned accolades for their offensive prowess in their first full season.

Washington Nationals v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Here’s a phrase you’re going to be hearing a lot of in the next few years: Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson have earned some awards.

The Orioles’ two high-profile young studs both took home an AL Silver Slugger Award last night for the best hitting performance at their position, with Rutschman winning for catcher and Henderson for the utility category. (Anthony Santander was also a Silver Slugger finalist in the outfield, but didn’t win.) This marks the first time since 2013 that the O’s have had multiple Silver Sluggers in one season.

The honors were well deserved. Rutschman was far and away the best offensive catcher in the AL, leading the league in batting average, OBP, OPS, hits, doubles, walks, and total bases, among other categories. He’s only the second O’s catcher to win the award in its 44-year history, along with Mickey Tettleton in 1989.

Henderson, meanwhile, was just the 13th rookie in MLB history to win a Silver Slugger. He finished with an .814 OPS, 28 homers, 82 RBIs, 100 runs, and 65 extra-base hits while splitting his time between shortstop and third base. Seasons like his are exactly why Utility was added as a Silver Slugger position two years ago: to reward great offensive performances from players who didn’t play one specific position.

For the 25-year-old Rutschman and 22-year-old Henderson, the Silver Slugger nods could be the first of many. It’s hard to believe that these each of these guys just finished his first full major league season. They already seem like seasoned pros, and they’ve earned plenty of accolades in their young careers, with Rutschman an All-Star and a Rookie of the Year runner-up and Henderson expected to win the AL ROY award next week. There’s hardly a more prolific duo of young superstars in the majors than these guys, the Orioles’ first two picks in an already legendary 2019 draft.

Orioles fans are lucky to get to witness Adley and Gunnar form the core of a talented young club for (hopefully) years to come. The sky is the limit for these two and their team.


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Not a single player with a Nov. 10 birthday has ever played a game for the Orioles, although there is one who was technically an Oriole: shortstop Johnny Lipon (b. 1922, d. 1998). He was a member of the St. Louis Browns who was still on the roster when the franchise became the Orioles after the 1953 season. But the O’s traded him to the White Sox before their inaugural season in Baltimore began.

On this day in 2015, O’s third baseman Manny Machado won his second career Gold Glove, marking the fifth straight year in which at least one Oriole won a Gold Glove. That was immediately followed by a six-year Gold Glove drought for the Orioles until Ramón Urías won in 2022. Somewhat shockingly, Machado himself hasn’t won any more Gold Gloves since 2015 and is still sitting on just two for his career.