Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Alex Cintron, 2008 Topps Updates and Highlights #UH283

A little birdie on the MLB Network told me that Alex Cintron retired today. As somebody who can't feasibly retire until at least 2039, I find the use of that term somewhat funny. The Puerto Rican shortstop is 32, not quite 4 years older than me. He played his first full season in the majors with Arizona in 2003, my senior year of college. I've been steadily employed since 2005, which would make me a seasoned veteran in baseball terms. Ah well, at least I won't be stripped of my purpose in life in a couple of years. We've each got our own dues to pay.

I have to admit that nothing readily comes to mind when I try to recall Cintron's 61 games as an Oriole in 2008. I do remember thinking that of all the O's weak options at short that year, I thought he was the best and should have gotten more playing time than he did. The stats show a pretty empty .286 average (.321 OBP, .361 SLG), with an 81 OPS+ indicating that he was below average by a healthy margin. Of course, a glimpse at his cohorts indicates that he was a damn sight better than the likes of Juan Castro (43 OPS+), Brandon Fahey (57 OPS+), and Freddie Bynum (18 OPS+), at least offensively. I do remember him being kind of clunky with the glove, but you would think that a team fielding Ramon Hernandez at catcher and Kevin Millar and Melvin Mora on the corners wouldn't be so picky about defense.

I had to jump to Alex's 2008 Game Log on Baseball Reference to jog my memory. He had four singles in four at-bats in his first start, a 6-5 win over the Nationals on May 17. He delivered a walkoff single against the Yankees in a wild 11-inning game on May 27, after New York manager Joe Girardi walked two batters to get to him. And I was at Oriole Park for his only home run with the Birds, a June 19 solo shot that gave them a 3-2 lead in a game they would win 7-5 over Houston. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that I didn't remember that, but it goes to show you how the years and players run together when you're dropping 90-100 games each year.

So enjoy your retirement, Alex. Maybe you can take up woodworking, or book yourself on a few cruises.

No comments: