Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Eric Davis, 1997 Leaf #313

Time is getting away from me. Just the other day, I tracked down a girl on Facebook that was a good friend of mine in high school. We were chatting, and I found myself a bit overwhelmed by trying to squeeze in all of the updates on my life. Of course, that's because it had been almost ten years since we'd spoken.

I could go on complaining about the creeping signs that I'm getting older (like the fact that my legs are still sore and stiff from a two-mile jog on Sunday, or that I now seem to have more married friends than singletons), but anyone above the age of 27 who's reading this blog entry would probably give me a gentle suggestion to stuff it.

Anyhow, while the days and months and years keep spinning by, I take comfort in knowing that I might never be as old as the 1998 Orioles. You're likely aware that 1998 was the year that Baltimore's fascination with veteran free agents reached a tipping point, as they gobbled up brittle, ill-fitting pieces like Ozzie Guillen and Norm Charlton and stumbled from first place to fourth in the East. The average age of the 48 players who suited up that year was 33.3 years, which is an interesting number...

...When put in the context of history. Baseball-Reference.com blogger Raphy sought out some quirky lineups from the past half-century and discovered that the 1998 team was the only club from 1954 to the present to feature a starting lineup consisting entirely of players age 33 and older. They managed the feat on July 23, 1998, when the graybeards downed the visiting Oakland A's 9-7 in a rousing comeback effort. Eric Davis contributed three hits and two RBI, and catcher Lenny Webster was the hero of the day with four hits and six RBI, including a walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to break a tie. The entire "mature" starting ten:

1 Brady Anderson 34.186 CF
2 Jeff Reboulet 34.084 2B
3 Rafael Palmeiro 33.302 1B
4 Eric Davis 36.055 DH
5 B.J. Surhoff 33.353 LF
6 Cal Ripken 37.333 3B
7 Joe Carter 38.138 RF
8 Lenny Webster 33.163 C
9 Mike Bordick 33.002 SS
Doug Drabek 35.363 P

Two days earlier, the entire batting order was 33 and up, but starting pitcher Scott Erickson was a spry 30. Nevertheless, the O's beat the A's easily, 7-1. If only they had kept those ancient wonder boys together all year, clearly they would have been a force to be reckoned with. Ahem.


FreeTheBirds said...

If Davey Johnson had managed that team, they'd have been winners. Sigh.

deal said...

1) Agreed, this is mr42 here telling mr27 to stuff it.

2) Eric Davis is a good card for that lineup - he's a survivor - cancer survivor specifically. and when you have a lineup all over 30 there has to be some Baseball Survivors in there as well.

Kevin said...

FTB - You can't discount that possibly for sure. Of course, 1998 was also the year Sidney Ponson showed up...coincidence?

deal - 1) Duly noted. 2) Every time I think about what Eric Davis accomplished in 1997, I'm astounded.