Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Friday, March 26, 2010

Vintage Fridays: Frank Bertaina, 1965 Topps #396

When I pull up the home page of Baseball Reference, one of the features that always catches my eye is the In Memoriam, a short list on the right side of the page featuring some of the former players who have passed away most recently. There are currently no less than three ex-Oriole pitchers on the list, and I'd like to pay my respects.
Southpaw Frank Bertaina never really caught on in Charm City, but he made a mark at AAA Rochester, where he was 44-20 over parts of five seasons in the 1960s. In 1965, he led the International League in strikeouts with 188. He is a member of the Rochester Red Wings Hall of Fame. He also spent portions of five seasons with the Orioles, seeing action in just 32 games (4-6, 3.07 ERA). The Senators and Cardinals also employed Frank, who only won 19 games in all.

Still, his first major league win was one for the ages. On September 12, 1964, the lefty held Kansas City to a single hit, a fifth-inning leadoff double by Doc Edwards. He scattered five walks and struck out seven men to blank the A’s, 1-0. Incredibly, the Birds managed only one hit themselves, a John Orsino double in the bottom of the eighth. Bertaina bunted him to third and Jackie Brandt delivered the winning run with a sacrifice fly to make K.C.’s Bob Meyer a hard-luck loser. The Orioles actually set a record that day for the fewest official at-bats in a nine-inning game. Because they were home, they did not bat in the ninth. They had just one hit and one walk, and the walk was erased on a double play. Taking into account three sac bunts and the sac fly, the O’s were credited with only 19 at-bats!

Frank may not have been able to top that first act, but he did hang around in the majors for seven years with a 3.84 ERA. He suffered a fatal heart attack on March 3, and was 65 at the time of his death.


Commish said...

R.I.P. Frank Bertaina. I saw him get the start in the second game of a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium in '66. That was the night Frank Robinson's bleacher catch robed Roy White to end the first game. That was some fun. Too bad the O's lost the second game. It might be the only game I saw the O's lose there.

Commish said...


robed = robbed

(proof)Reading is Fundamental!

Kevin said...

Bob - The important thing is that you caught it yourself. Better late than never. ;)

Jim from Downingtown said...

Hmm, I didn't know Bertania has a card in 1965. Maybe it's because Topps put him on
a "Orioles Rookie Stars" card the following year!

Topps did the same thing with
Jim Hicks in 1967 & 1969.