Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Brad Komminsk, 1990 Topps Traded #53T

Outfielder Brad Komminsk's Orioles career lasted 46 whole games in 1990. But it was a play he made - or failed to make - the previous year that became his legacy in Baltimore's old Memorial Stadium.

On September 5, 1989, the surprising young Orioles were fighting for their lives, down a game in the A.L. East to the resurgent Blue Jays. The Cleveland Indians were in town for a three game series; the O's had taken the first game 5-4 on a walk-off home run by Tim Hulett in the ninth inning. On a Tuesday night, Cal Ripken, Jr. stepped to the plate in the bottom of the first inning and crushed a John Farrell offering deep to left-center field. Brad Komminsk raced back to the wall, leapt into the air, grabbed the top of the fence with his left hand for support, reached out with his glove and...

Disappeared from view.

It became apparent that Komminsk had made a spectacular catch, and even held onto the ball after landing on the other side of the fence. (Memorial Stadium was a multipurpose stadium, so there were no seats in center field. There was some turf back there, and what looked like the tarp roll, which Brad was fortunate not to land upon.) With no clear view of the vanishing outfielder, Cal continued to run the bases. Since Komminsk could not get back on his feet and return himself - and the ball - to the field of play in a timely manner, Junior was awarded the home run. It was a significant hit, his 20th longball of the year. It allowed him to pass Ernie Banks and set a record with eight consecutive 20-homer seasons as a shortstop. It was also a valuable run in a game eventually won by the Birds, 3-1. Incidentally, Cal would account for the other two runs as well, hitting an RBI double and scoring on a Larry Sheets double.

I think Brad's teammate, left fielder Joe Carter, summed up the whole sequence of events rather well. In the aftermath, a camera caught him walking back to his post and shaking his head. You could read his lips as he simply said "wow".

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