Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mike Linskey, 1991 Bowman #105

It's always kind of intriguing to feature an Orioles card of a player who never actually made it to the major leagues. This card of lefty pitcher Mike Linskey is already kind of strange, in that he's wearing the "new" O's hat that debuted in 1989 but it is paired with the "old" jersey that was put in mothballs after 1988. But things become even more curious when you take a good long look at Mike's glove. Written near the thumb in black Sharpie is the word "NUKE". I can only assume that this is a nickname bestowed upon the Birds' ninth-round pick of the 1988 draft, probably a reference to Tim Robbins' Nuke LaLoosh character in the very popular film "Bull Durham". The movie came out in 1988, and featured Robbins as a naive, flaky minor league phenom who had to learn to control himself and his fastball. (Incidentally, the film was written and directed by former O's minor leaguer Ron Shelton, who based Nuke's character on former teammate and human myth Steve Dalkowski).

Indeed, Charm City native (he graduated from Loyola Blakefield High School) Linskey was every bit the phenom himself. He was a 6'5", 200-pound southpaw who had gone 10-1 as a senior at James Madison University and boasted a four-pitch repertoire. He went 29-21 with a 2.59 ERA in his first three seasons in the Baltimore organization, shooting up to AAA Rochester by midseason in 1990. So what happened? He scuffled badly in 1991, going 7-10 between AA and AAA with a 5.23 ERA and 1.68 WHIP. The O's gave up on him at age 25, and he was out of baseball two years later, having failed to regain his form in the Padres farm system.

If anyone out there can fill in some of the blanks as it pertains to Mike Linskey, I'd love to hear from you.


Brian said...

Mike was also the 89' Orioles Minor League Pitcher of the year. Sadly, he never made it to the big leagues and has never been heard from again.

Shane said...

In professional sport, Mike is the rule and not the exception. For every player who makes it, 140 don't.

Kevin said...

Brian - Thanks for the additional info!

Shane - You make a very good point.

Anonymous said...

According to an autograph site, Mike is currently living in Humble, TX.

Anonymous said...

The last poster is correct. He does indeed live in teh Humble area as his son plays little league baseball in the same league as my son.

Mike is a great instructor and his son who is 7 already has pro form in terms of pitching and hitting.

Mike didn't make it but his son will try to carry the legacy.

Art said...

I met Mike today in St. Thomas. He said he felt a pop in his back and could not get his fastball back to the upper 80's or low 90's. He said the work outs with two bullpen sessions each day between starts took a toll on his arm strength. He now lives in Houston, TX.

Mike Linskey (Nuke) said...

I am alive. Reside in Houston TX ( Humble). Still love the game. Work with a 10 yr elite team. Fun teach them the basics. Plus things I've learned at the professional level. Also help " just Wright baseball Academy" by video taping pitchers durning their lesson to view on the Internet ( high tech).
I injured my lower back in my first big league camp and lost my fastball. Did not clear waivers and played for San Diego for 3 more yrs before coming an old man at28 in baseball yrs.

Anonymous said...

One of the best guys and most dedicated athlete I've ever met. I was blessed to know him.

Anonymous said...

Didn't know who he was until today but would like to say he is a very humble person and thankful that I met him.