Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Monday, March 23, 2009

Curt Schilling, 1990 Bowman #246

You may have heard that Red Sox pitcher (and ex-Oriole, of course) Curt Schilling announced his retirement today. While his most recent status as a member of that hated gang of Bostoners and his ongoing fascination with hearing himself talk did not endear him to me, it's still a little bittersweet to see him hang up his spikes. I've mentioned in the past that I became a baseball fan in 1993, and seeing Curt dropping from the increasingly-dwindling roll call of players from that year who are still active brings me that much closer to the mortality of my baseball childhood. But I've got a more expansive entry planned on that topic. I've also uncovered further significance in Schilling's retirement.
He was the last active member of the 1989 Orioles.

Although they were nearly five years before my time as a baseball fan, I feel a special kinship to that team. With Edward Bennett Williams' poorly-conceived patchwork of aging free agents finally bottoming out in 1988, the O's had finally gutted the roster and started fresh. Nothing was expected of Frank Robinson's 1989 team, a potpurri of untested rookies, overlooked journeymen, and Cal Ripken, Jr. Despite an offense that bordered on the anemic and a pitching staff largely composed of guys that couldn't hit 90 on the radar gun with gale-force winds at their backs, the Birds spent 104 days in first place through a combination of pitching and defense, timely hits, and bizarre luck. The entire city of Baltimore rallied around the O's, adopting a rallying cry of "Why Not?". In the end, they finished 87-75, a 31.5-game improvement from the previous year and two games short of the American League East Championship.

Schilling wasn't a major contributor to that team, as a hard-throwing 22-year-old with more talent than brains. He pitched just 8 and 2/3 innings of relief, allowing six runs and thirteen baserunners. But he's still a part of that team, no matter how small. It's the end of an era. As for the rest of the 1989 Orioles, tomorrow I will be attempting a "Where Are They Now?" entry. Truly I am the master of suspense.


William said...

Seeing the stars of my childhood disappear is depressing. Although I don't have a benchmark year for judging it -- I'd say 1990-'95 would be a good range -- it's hard to reconcile the fact that but for a couple years, one of the few things constant in my life is that a player such as Ken Griffey Jr. has always been playing baseball. Always. You said it perfectly: when that fades, a part of your childhood does as well.

night owl said...

Re: seeing players from your childhood retire. I just blogged on that very thing yesterday. The last one for me was Eckersley.

Now I'm hoping Moyer and Randy Johnson can hold on for a few more years.

--David said...

Truly, you are the master.