Since I've already postponed the 1989 Orioles retrospective one day and declared myself to be a master of suspense, what's one more day? Don't blame me, the Orioles news just keeps on coming this week. Yesterday, the team announced that Harold Baines has been selected to join the Orioles Hall of Fame. It's about time that the organization that he spent the majority of the latter half of his career with afforded him some honor; the White Sox got the jump on it by retiring his jersey number and erecting a statue in his likeness.
I've always had a certain soft spot for old #3, the quintessential designated hitter. He got two hits and two RBI in the first game I ever attended at Camden Yards, and he didn't slow down for almost a decade after that. He came home to Maryland as a 34-year-old with the knees of a much older man, but he made a surprisingly bold mark in the team's record books. In three stints spanning all or parts of seven seasons in orange and black, he batted .301 (fifth in club history), slugged .502 (fourth), hit 107 home runs (17th), and drove in 378 runs (24th). He did it all without a complaint or a cry for attention. Harold was the first player to ever log 1,000 games as a DH and another 1,000 games at another position (outfield). I'm just pessimistic enough to sense that he might never get the call to Cooperstown, but he has earned his rightful place in one Hall of Fame for sure.