Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mike Torrez, 1975 SSPC #381

Mike Torrez's career was so long, and he traveled so extensively, that it barely even registers that he was once an Oriole. The big righthander pitched for 7 teams in 18 seasons. He was a Cardinal, Expo, Oriole, Athletic, Yankee, Red Sox, and Met. The O's acquired him in an absolute heist of a trade in December 1974, trading Rich Coggins, Dave McNally, and minor leaguer Bill Kirkpatrick for Torrez and Ken Singleton. At age 32, McNally was done, racking up a 5.24 ERA in a dozen starts in Montreal before retiring in midseason. Coggins, who had hit .319 as a rookie outfielder for the Birds two years earlier, was purchased by the Yankees in June 1975 and was out of the league a year later. Singleton was an offensive force in Baltimore for the next decade, putting up a whopping .388 on-base percentage and slugging 182 home runs.

Torrez stayed in Charm City for only a year, but it was a good one. He went 20-9 with a 3.06 ERA and 16 complete games, though he must have been a master of smoke and mirrors: he led the American League with 133 walks allowed and struck out only 119. In the offseason, the Orioles traded him to Oakland to acquire Reggie Jackson, a strong gamble that didn't quite pan out. However, the Birds also acquired pitcher Ken Holtzman in the deal, and in mid-1976 they sent him to the Yankees in the trade that brought Scott McGregor, Tippy Martinez, and Rick Dempsey to Baltimore. So you could say that Mike Torrez had a small part in building the 1979 American League Champs and 1983 World Series Champs.


LoCoDe said...

As an Expos fan, I look back at that trade in complete disgust.

What a horrible deal.

And wasn't Ken Singleton about exactly what Earl Weaver looked for in a hitter? Perfect match.

Kevin said...

LoCoDe - Indeed, I can't think of many hitters better suited to play for Earl than Kenny Singleton. His .438 OBP in 1977 is an Oriole record that may never be broken.

If you're an Expos fan, I hope it gives you some consolation that your team pried Dennis Martinez away from the O's for cents on the dollar. El Presidente for Rene Gonzales - AND the O's threw in catcher John Stefero. I know that Dennis had alcohol problems during his time in Baltimore, but that's still a bad deal.