Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Rocky Coppinger, 1997 Upper Deck #225

Sometimes it's refreshing and entertaining to get my mother's take on sports. For instance, she's often flabbergasted when an overweight pitcher takes the mound for the Orioles. I remember one occasion when malcontent reliever Steve Kline was laboring through a typically lousy outing. Her reaction was, "Well, maybe if he didn't have that big gut he'd pitch better!".

When you think about it, she might be on to something. There have been a few hefty hurlers who have had some measure of success in baseball, most notably Mickey Lolich and David Wells. But the handful of pitchers who have toed the rubber and tipped the scales in an O's uniform are a less than illustrious bunch: the aforementioned Kline, Terry Mathews, Sid Fernandez, the notorious Sidney Ponson, Wells himself (who had a career-high 14 losses in his lone season in Baltimore), and the gentleman above, one John Thomas Coppinger.

Rocky towered over most batters at 6'5" and a generously-listed 245 to 250 pounds. But the art of pitching is heavily dependent on mechanics and self-control, and once you get to the highest levels of baseball, a huge fastball just isn't enough to cut it. One of several "next big things" to fizzle out for the Birds in recent history, Rocky lasted just five years (82 games) in the bigs, giving up home runs (1.8 per nine innings) and walks (5.2 per nine innings) in healthy doses.

So if you're a budding pitching prospect, do yourself a favor and listen to Mom. Healthy portions, don't skimp on the training regimen, and maybe switch to light beer.

1 comment:

William said...

YES a Rocky Coppinger post -- great stuff. He's the most obscure '90s Oriole pitcher [aside from Rick Krivda].