Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Monday, February 7, 2011

Bob Melvin, 1991 Fleer #482

Everybody loves a good play at the plate. It's one of the most dynamic and intense opportunities for an action photo that there is. I've featured several great examples in this space. Heck, there's a whole card blog inspired by such moments. But with this horrifically yellow card, Fleer has given us the most anticlimactic play at the plate photo they could find. In this Orioles-Rangers contest at Memorial Stadium, Bob Melvin stands poised and ready for a throw home that is already too late, as Texas outfielder Ruben Sierra strides safely to the dish.

My crack research indicates that this photo was likely taken on Sunday, August 6, 1989. Melvin played in only one home game vs. the Rangers in 1990, and Texas did not score in that game. These two players were involved in three qualifying games in the previous season, and Sierra scored in two of them. However, only the August 6 game took place in the afternoon. In a matchup of promising young pitchers, Pete Harnisch and Kevin Brown each allowed a single run in the second inning. Melvin himself drove in the O's first run with a double to center field to score Joe Orsulak. In the top of the third, Texas took a 2-1 lead as Sierra led off with a single, stole second, and scored on a two-out single to right field by Rick Leach. Orsulak's throw home was indeed fruitless, and allowed Leach to take second base. Fortunately, Harnisch escaped the inning without further damage.

The starters traded zeroes until the ninth, when a Cal Ripken single and a Keith Moreland double chased Brown. Randy Milligan greeted Rangers closer Jeff Russell with a game-tying single, but the Birds left the bases loaded and the game went to extras. Baltimore reliever Mark Williamson stranded two more Texas runners in the top of the tenth, and Mike Devereaux sent the fans home happy with a one-out home run in the bottom of the inning off of Russell. Orioles 3, Rangers 2.

The photo may not be any great shakes, but at least the game turned out well.

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