Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Doug Jones, 1996 Donruss #237

Off the top of my head, I can't remember seeing too many cards that feature handshakes between players. I like this one in particular. It seems like a genuine moment of congratulations and respect between battery mates. Any time that Chris Hoiles (the O's underrated and workmanlike catcher) can get a little more face time on a card, it's all good. It's pretty safe to assume that this scene took place after Doug had closed out a Baltimore victory. It would be pretty funny if Chris wandered out to the mound to talk about how to pitch to Paul Molitor and felt it necessary to formally introduce himself. "Hey, Mr. Jones, I'm Chris Hoiles and I'm your catcher today. It's a pleasure to meet you, sir."

I've got a little time to kill tonight, so I thought I'd try to pinpoint the game depicted in this photo. The Orioles are wearing their road grays, and the surface they're playing on is clearly AstroTurf. There have never been many American League stadiums with artificial turf, and they appear to be outdoors, which leaves Toronto's SkyDome as the only possibility. (Kansas City switched from turf to natural grass for the 1995 season.)

Surprisingly, Doug pitched in Toronto only twice in 1995: July 1-2. In the first of those two games, the O's had tacked on two runs in the ninth to take a 6-2 lead, allowing the walrus-mustached closer to pitch in a non-save siuation. He made things interesting anyway, loading the bases after getting two quick outs. After John Olerud doubled, Jones issued walks to Ed Sprague and Candy Maldonado to bring the tying run to the plate in the form of outfielder Mike Huff. A liner to second base allowed the Birds to put one in the win column.

The next day was even more exciting for the Orioles. Jays starter Woody Williams took a 7-0 lead into the eighth inning, but the O's knocked him out of the box with a two-run homer off the bat of Gregg ZAUN! But they still trailed by five runs heading into the ninth. Manny Alexander (of all people) hit a solo home run to lead off, and Rafael Palmeiro and Cal Ripken, Jr. each singled to chase reliever Danny Cox. Ricardo Jordan retired Jeffrey Hammonds on a sac fly and struck out Kevin Bass, and the Birds were down to their last out with one runner on base and a 7-4 deficit. For some reason, Cito Gaston pulled the man who had put out the fire and sent Tim Crabtree to the mound. That's when Toronto game unglued.

Bret Barberie hit a pinch single, and he and Cal both scored when right fielder Domingo Cedeno botched pinch hitter Chris Hoiles' fly ball. Rookie outfielder Curtis Goodwin's grounder to short should have ended the game, but Domingo Cedeno made the second consecutive Blue Jay error to put the winning run on base. Brady Anderson walked, and Manny Alexander again came up big, grounding a single up the middle to give the O's an 8-7 lead. A wild pitch scored Anderson with the seventh Baltimore run of the inning (five of them unearned), and Doug Jones came into the game for an unlikely save. This time, he retired the side in order to earn his twelfth save.

There weren't many good days for Doug Jones as an Oriole. He went 0-4 with just 22 saves, and his 5.01 ERA was the second-worst of his long career. He also infamously tipped his cap and argued with a Baltimore fan after a meltdown at home against the Blue Jays (6 ER without getting a single out) turned a 10-6 lead into a 12-10 loss. But that wouldn't be appropriate to depict on a baseball card, now would it?


Rounding Thirty 3rd said...


Great Sleuthing!! I would venture to guess this photo was from the second of the two games you discussed. Hoiles appears to be presenting Jones with the game ball, and the second game ended with a strikeout of Joe Carter.

Seems like a bit of poetic justice that the Blue Jays would one month later steal a victory from us in much the same fashion that we stole one from them in this game.

Kevin said...

Tim - Good catch! And yes, that August meltdown by Jones certainly was a case of "what goes around comes around".