Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Monday, June 23, 2008

Craig Worthington, 1989 Donruss The Rookies #25

I've been acting in plays for almost ten years. I enjoy having an audience to provide instantaneous feedback, and the ability to slip into different characters is a great escape from the relative mundaneness of everyday life. Plus, I've made some really great friends in theatre. I've always had a knack for memorizing and reciting lines, but the physical aspect of my craft has proven much more difficult. Above all else, I find myself struggling with the question of what the hell to do with my hands. I'm about 6'1" tall, and I have long, gangly limbs. One of the first rules of the dramatic arts is that you do not put your hands in your pockets. But I always feel like a dork when I just leave them hanging at my sides, so I usually spend the duration of the show crossing my arms across my chest or resting them on my hips. Apparently I also spend much of the time gesturing and flailing like I have some sort of palsy, as was brought to my attention by watching my friend Mike's short student film. Take a look if you're so inclined; I'm the straight-haired guy and the first character to appear.

Anyway, I don't mean to belabor the point. What I can tell you is that Craig Worthington is one player that never had trouble with his hands. As a rookie in 1988-1989, the third baseman earned a job alongside Cal Ripken, Jr. on the left side of the O's infield primarily on the strength of his defense. Overeager fans marveled at his diving stops and just-in-the-nick-of-time throws and uttered comparisons to the great Brooks Robinson. Craig held his own with the bat in his first full season, belting 15 home runs and driving home 70 runs for the second-place Birds. His combination of slick defense and above-average hitting helped him to finish fourth in Rookie of the Year voting (teammate Gregg Olson took the honors), though he won The Sporting News' version of the award.

Unfortunately, Worthington's bat couldn't keep pace with his glove, and he'd lost his hold on third base by 1991, pushed aside for the next hot rookie: Leo Gomez. (With names like these, it's not surprising that third base has been a revolving door in Baltimore for much of the three decades following Brooks Robinson's retirement.) Craig was out of organized baseball by the age of 31, a man with great hands but not much else to recommend him. I'd gladly borrow those hands from him for a show or two.

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