Who is Alejandro Freire? Just another of those late-twenties, early-thirties minor league veterans who got to live out his major league dreams thanks to the lousiness of the recent-vintage Orioles. He was two weeks shy of his 31st birthday when he made his debut in August 2005, in the midst of the Rafael Palmeiro suspension and fallout. Freire had originally been signed by the Astros fifteen years earlier, and he played 1,222 minor league games in four organizations before the O's grabbed him in a pinch. Then he hit .246 in 25 games and that was all she wrote.
What's more, Freire was one of 22 players in Orioles history who was born in Venezuela. Of course, the two most notable were Luis Aparicio and Melvin Mora. I was surprised that there were so many one-time Birds that called this South American locale home. With Mora's departure in the offseason, shortstop Cesar Izturis is the only current Baltimore player who is also a proud Venezuelan.
This concludes the evening's social studies class. You are dismissed.