Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Arthur Rhodes, 1997 Topps #53

The last time Baltimore had a winner on the diamond, Arthur Rhodes was a 27-year-old reliever having a career year. It was 1997, and the lefty was already in his seventh season with the Orioles. The first five had been marked mostly by setbacks and disappointment, as he failed to take hold of a spot in the starting rotation despite multiple opportunities and a world of talent. But Davey Johnson took over in 1996 and shifted Arthur to the bullpen, a move that worked like a charm. After a solid season in which he “vultured” nine wins with a 4.08 ERA, he followed up with a 10-3 record and a 3.02 ERA in ’97. He did it all in a career-high 95.1 innings, striking out 102 batters and posting a 1.06 WHIP.

Now it’s 2010. The O’s have been skidding for nearly a decade and a half, but Rhodes is still pitching. Moreover, he’s pitching some of the best baseball of his life at age 40. Now a late-inning lefty specialist for the Cincinnati Reds, his seventh team, Arthur has appeared in 34 games for a total of 31 innings. He has struck out 29 batters, walked only 10, and given up 15 hits – that’s a 0.81 WHIP. Do you know how many earned runs he’s allowed?

One.

That’s a 0.29 ERA, folks. The crazy thing is that that single earnie was an eighth-inning pinch-hit home run by Colorado’s Jeff Baker, and it was enough to break a 3-3 tie and saddle Rhodes with a loss.

Anyway, it’s been 11 years since Arthur Rhodes left Charm City, and he doesn’t seem ready to stop. I would say that we could still use him, but he’s a one-inning guy at most. That leaves another eight innings to worry about.

2 comments:

Commish said...

Wow, 1997. That's what? 5 or 6 managers ago? My sons were 10, now they are heading to their final year of college. This is all too depressing. It's the Curse of Davey Johnson.

Kevin said...

Bob - Any opinions on the managerial search? The current candidates are Buck Showalter, Eric Wedge (former Indians mgr), and Rick Dempsey...thought I suspect that Dempsey is a long shot.