Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Eddie Murray, 1986 Fleer Sluggers vs. Pitchers #25

I was not pleased with the Orioles' 10-3 thrashing at the hands of Josh Hamilton the Rangers last night, but if you're going to get blown out, you might as well make a little history. No player had hit four home runs in a single game in nearly a decade, and since 1900, only 14 have done it. Sure, if someone were going to go deep four times in an O's game, I'd rather it be one of our own players. But Josh Hamilton did something incredible last night, and I'm glad that the sparse crowd at Camden Yards saluted him for it.

Unfortunately, that's the second time the Birds have been on the wrong end of a four-homer game. The first was when Jerry Walker, Arnie Portocarrero, and Ernie Johnson combined to surrender four big flies to Rocky Colavito on June 10, 1959. But no Oriole batter has ever gone deep four times in one game. I got to wondering how many close calls they've had, so I swung by Baseball-Reference to investigate. The O's have had 18 games in which a player hit 3 home runs, most recently Nick Markakis' showcase game on August 22, 2006 against the Twins. The full list:

Boog Powell (1): August 10, 1963 - The first three-homer game in O's history ends in a 6-5 loss to the Senators, as all three of Boog's clouts were solo shots.

Boog Powell (2): June 27, 1964 - Boog provides all of the offense with another trio of solo homers in support of Milt Pappas as the Birds top Washington 3-1.

Boog Powell (3): August 15, 1966 - The last of the burly first baseman's three-homer games was his best, as he finally tossed in a two-run shot and added a single for good measure. Overall he was 4-for-5 with all four RBI in a 4-2 win at Boston. His WPA (Win Probability Added) was an astronomical .920!

Curt Blefary: June 6, 1967 - "Clank" had an interesting day, taking Pete Cimino of the Angels deep in his first at-bat before being put out each of his next three times up. Home runs number two (a two-run shot) and three (a grand slam) came in the final two innings, as the O's turned a 5-4 nail-biter into a 16-4 romp.

Paul Blair: April 29, 1970 - I definitely didn't see this one coming. Motormouth went 3-for-6 and drove in six in an 18-2 rout of the White Sox. Of course, I'd also forgotten that Blair had 134 career homers and a season high of 26 in 1969, so there was some pop in that bat.

Bobby Grich: June 18, 1974 - Orioles 10, Twins 1. Bobby had a chance for a fourth in the ninth inning, but Tom Burgmeier got him to ground out to third base to strand a pair of runners in scoring position.

Don Baylor: July 2, 1975 - Here's an interesting one. Baylor left the yard in each of his first three at-bats, so he was sitting on three home runs after four innings. But he fouled out to third in the fifth inning, was plunked by Bob Reynolds following a Jim Northrup two-run homer in the seventh, and was walked by John Hiller in the ninth. Orioles 13, Tigers 5.

Eddie Murray: August 29, 1979 - Now we're back into the high-leverage stuff. Steady Eddie's first three-homer game accounted for all of the O's runs in a 7-4 win at Minnesota.

Eddie Murray (2): September 14, 1980 - Rats. The Birds didn't bother putting anyone on base ahead of him, and three solo shots added up to a 4-3 loss in 13 innings at Toronto.

Dan Ford: July 20, 1983 - Disco Danny! Nobody on base for his unlikely three-peat, but Sammy Stewart and Tim Stoddard were untouchable in relief of Mike Boddicker as the Orioles topped the Mariners 4-2. Ford singled and walked as well, giving him a perfect day.

Eddie Murray (3): August 26, 1985 - You knew he'd be back. Eddie goes 4-for-5 with a walk and NINE RBI in Baltimore's 17-3 laughter over the Angels.

Lee Lacy: June 8, 1986 - 52,021 packed Yankee Stadium on a Sunday to see Lacy and the O's outslug the Yanks 18-9. Lee went 4-for-6, adding a two-run single to give him six RBI in all. His second home run that day came off of rookie Doug Drabek.

Juan Beniquez: June 12, 1986 - Just four days after Lacy's power display, Beniquez also feasted on Yankee pitching thrice in a game. Three solo shots once again added up to a Birds loss, by a final of 7-5. Juan had only six home runs total in his lone season in Baltimore.

Randy Milligan: June 9, 1990 - Six RBI for the Moose in a 10-1 shellacking of the Yankees. Remind me again why the Orioles needed Glenn Davis?

Cal Ripken, Jr.: May 28, 1996 - It took the Iron Man 15 years to crack this list. He drove in eight runs in a 12-8 win at Seattle, and his seventh-inning grand slam off of Mike Jackson put the O's ahead for good. Believe it or not, he and brother Billy each went deep in the ninth inning of this one.

Roberto Alomar: April 26, 1997 - Robby went 4-for-4 with three home runs, a single, a sac fly, and six RBI as the Birds rolled over the Red Sox, 14-5. Random note: Rule 5 draft pick Mike Johnson earned his first career save with three shutout innings in relief of Jimmy Key.

Albert Belle: July 25, 1999 - I remember watching this one at my aunt and uncle's house. Albert homered, walked, and singled in three trips to the plate against Angels starter Chuck Finley. It was a seesaw game, with the Angels taking a 3-0 lead, the O's tying, and the Angels going up 7-3. Belle swung the momentum in the Orioles' favor with a three-run homer off of Mark Petkovsek, then finished the comeback with a two-out solo shot off of closer Troy Percival to send it to extra innings. There was one out in the 11th and a runner on first when Shigetoshi Hasegawa hit Belle with a 1-0 pitch. The mercurial outfielder originally refused to take his base, trying in vain to convince the umpire that he wasn't hit so that he could take his hacks. Ultimately, he went down to first base. A Will Clark walk loaded the bases with two out, and Cal Ripken, Jr. delivered the walkoff win with a single.

Nick Markakis: August 22, 2006 - This is a fun box score. The Orioles hit five solo home runs off of Carlos Silva in the first six innings; the others were hit by Brian Roberts and Corey Patterson. Future Oriole Willie Eyre finally solved Markakis in the sixth inning, coaxing a flyout to left field. The Birds topped the Twins, 6-3. It's also worth noting that Nick has only one two-homer game, and that also came against Minnesota, back in 2008.


Commishbob said...

Lots of good stuff here for sure. Least likely guy to show up on this list is Beniquez. I was surprised that Lee Lacy had some pop. He had more homers than I figured.

Rob said...

Love that card, too!

Kevin said...

Bob - That cluster of 3-HR games in the mid-80s seems appropriate for those teams. Plenty of power, but no pitching to be found.

Rob - It's got a fun comic-book look to it.