Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Jeffrey Hammonds, 1998 Leaf #86

This is one of Jeffrey Hammonds' final cards as an Oriole. At just 27 years of age, it seemed as though he had already peaked as an athlete. But he had a couple of good years left in him. After hitting .302 with the Reds after a late-season trade in 1998, he put up an .870 OPS the following year in a part-time role, hitting 17 home runs in 262 at-bats. He was traded to the Rockies for the 2000 season and the combination of increased playing time (he remained healthy enough to amass a career-high 511 plate appearances) and the high altitude of Coors Field agreed with him. Hammonds had a lofty .335 average, .395 on-base percentage, and .529 slugging percentage. He scored 94 runs, homered 20 times, and drove in 106 and made the All-Star Team. As luck would have it, he was also a free agent at the end of the year.

Perhaps ignoring his home/road splits (.399/.465/.651 at home, .275/.325/.415 on the road), the Brewers backed up the Brinks truck in Jeffrey's driveway: three years, $21 million. Unsurprisingly, injuries limited him to 49 games in 2001 and 46 games in 2003. In between those two seasons, he did make it through 2002 with 128 games played, but hit .257 and slugged only .397 while driving in a paltry 41 runs. Jeffrey's career wound down with short and injury-marred stints in San Francisco and Washington, highlighted by an NLDS appearance with the 2003 Giants in which he reached base five times in seven trips to the plate. When the Nationals wanted to option him back to AAA New Orleans in mid-2005, the 34-year-old outfielder chose to retire instead. He stuck around for parts of 13 big league seasons, hitting .272 with 110 home runs and 423 RBI.

When the Baltimore Sun caught up with Hammonds at the end of his career, he offered the following assessment of his time in baseball: "I am not downtrodden. I made millions. I played in the biggest ballyards. I played in some of the biggest games. That would be selfish [to be bitter]. I'm not the norm. And I can say that and say that with pride."

3 comments:

Chris said...

Good Afternoon,

I have been reading your blog for over a year now, and I just wanted to say thanks so much for so many great little stories and trivia about the O's!
Now, I would like to make one small request. There was a fellow who played for the Orioles in the early or mid 90's, I believe his name was Chito Martinez and he wore #14. By any chance would you have a card of him to post?

Thanks very much either way.

Commish said...

Chris, there have been two Chito Martinez entries... click here or put his name in the search box up top.

Kevin said...

Chris - Oh, I have plenty of Chito cards. I'd be glad to get to him later this week. Thanks for reading!

Bob - Thanks for helping Chris out!