Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

David Segui, 2002 Leaf #57

I've never been particularly fond of David Segui. I didn't have time to get attached to him in my youth; he was a member of the 1993 Orioles team that indoctrinated me into fandom. Then he was gone, replaced by the powerful and reliable Rafael Palmeiro, who became my favorite player. Segui bounced around the league, putting up pretty solid offensive numbers on a consistent basis and missing a small chunk of games each year to injury. Flash forward to 2000, when the 33-year-old first baseman played in a career-high 150 games and also reached personal bests in RBI (103), batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage (.334/.380/.510). It was (surprise!) a contract year. What happened next?

Well, the Syd Thrift Orioles were desperate to make a splash and prop up a team that had bottomed out. They signed Segui to a laughable four-year contract that would pay him $7 million per year. I'm sure you'll be shocked to learn that he totaled 193 games played over the span of that deal, although he apparently had plenty of time to introduce his impressionable young teammates to steroids and other performance enhancing drugs.

In 2003, I had no idea that David Segui was the PED pipeline for the woebegone Birds. But I already had plenty of contempt for him, and it came spilling out early one Saturday morning during the longest baseball game I've ever endured.

The date was June 27, 2003 - at least it was when the game started. It was a balmy Friday night, 80 degrees at first pitch. I'd traveled to the game with my father and my teenage sister; my Dad and I had gotten a few extra tickets from his brother Phil and we be parted ways with my sister when we got to the park. She hunkered down in the upper reserve seats with her high school friends, taking advantage of the $5 Student Night promotion. Our seats were midway down the third base line; we weren't anywhere near the field, but we weren't exactly in the nosebleeds either. It was an interleague game against the Phillies, a rematch of the World Series that had ended in a Baltimore victory twenty years earlier. Though the O's were already cemented in fourth place in the AL East as usual, there was a buzz in the air, probably due to the scores of animated Phils fans that had made their way south for the weekend.

The Birds struck right away, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Brian Roberts singled, stole second, and scored on a B. J. Surhoff double. The latter would be stranded at third, an unheeded event at the time. It would be a grim portent of things to come. Phillies starter Brandon Duckworth worked just that one inning, leaving with a minor injury in favor of Carlos Silva. I recall thinking to myself that the O's were in good shape, having already gotten into the other team's bullpen. Surely manager Larry Bowa would be tempted to stretch at least one tired pitcher out, and the Birds would reap the benefits. Not so; Melvin Mora's groundball to third base left the bases loaded in Silva's first inning of work. Meanwhile, the visitors broke through against Orioles righty Jason Johnson in the third on hits by Jim Thome and Bobby Abreu (Thome scored while Abreu was forced at third on a Mike Lieberthal grounder).

That third inning fielder's choice would represent the last run scored for a looong time. Improbably, Johnson would bear down, allowing just one runner to second base in his last five innings of work and leaving with a tough no-decision. The O's bats also went dead, as they managed just two singles and two walks (one intentional) against three Philly relievers in innings three through nine. Extra innings, one-all.

To be continued Saturday...after all, tomorrow is Vintage Friday.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kevin,

Jason Johnson was a righthander - not a southpaw.

I always liked Segui - he seemed to be a real gamer. Unfortunately, he was more fragile than my wedding china.

Tim in NOLA.

Kevin said...

You're my eyes and ears Tim...I've made the fix. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Love the writing - you are doing a fabulous job. This is one of the sites I visit everyday! Definitely more important that checking the latest Orioles score (which is going to be depressing again this summer)!

Tim in NOLA

Anonymous said...

Didn't care much for David Segui, but I liked Diego a lot. He pitched pretty well for some awful teams back in the '60s.

suterb said...

One of my favorite cards in my collection is a 1970 Topps Diego Segui. I got it because he was on the Pilots that year.

Kevin said...

I just finished rereading Ball Four. I think my next eBay spending spree will involve old Seattle Pilots.