Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Geronimo Berroa, 1998 Topps #363

A moment in my life as an Orioles fan:

Summer, 1997. I'm at Oriole Park at Camden Yards with my Dad, sitting out in the bleachers. We have an up-close view of the misadventures of Geronimo Berroa, one of a laundry list of right field butchers in the recent history of the Birds. Others who come to mind are Jay Gibbons, Bobby Bonilla, even (briefly) Pete Incaviglia and Chris Sabo. Chris Sabo! During the game, a deep drive is hit into the right field corner. We stand to get a better look. Berroa races - as much as he was ever able to race - after the ball, disappearing; our view is obstructed by the out-of-town scoreboard that creates a sort of mini-Monster from the right field fence. Those of us in the bleachers share a tense moment of uncertainty before the roar of the rest of the crowd confirms the improbable. He caught it! We exhale. Dad goes into an impromptu comedy routine, clutching his chest like Redd Foxx and swaying on his feet. "Oh my God! I don't believe it! He caught the ball! It's a miracle!"

For some reason, that is my only memory of Geronimo Berroa in an Orioles uniform. It's also proof that cynicism is hereditary.


Anonymous said...

I just discovered your website and am enjoying both the cards and your memories. Although you are right about Berroa's fielding difficulties, I remember him as a useful right handed hitter with a knack for coming off the bench to deliver key hits off of left handed pitchers. He was brilliantly utilized by Davey Johnson as the offensive complement to Jesse Orosco. Davey was a true master at managing matchups at key moments in the game. Berroa was also utilized as a DH against lefties, including in the all righty gimmick lineup that Davey used to succesfully psych out Randy Johnson twice in the playoffs. With stars Rafael Palmeiro and Harold Baines resting, Berroa homered in Game 1 and homered and doubled and scored in Game 2. Nice call Davey!

Kevin said...

Thanks for the compliments and the additional info about Geronimo - and of course you're right about Davey. I remember the way he used Jeff Reboulet in that Randy Johnson lineup. Rebs killed Randy, which is one of the unlikeliest things I've ever seen as a fan!