Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ted Wilborn, 1986 ProCards Hagerstown Suns #27

I know what it looks like, but I swear that this is a real card of a real baseball player. He's not an equipment delivery man who tried on one of the uniforms in the back of his truck. He didn't just get a friend to snap a picture and mock up an amateur baseball card design at Kinko's, complete with smiling clip art sun logo. Not only did Ted Wilborn play professional baseball, but I just learned that he was in the major leagues in 1979 and 1980, some 6 years before posing for a card in an oddball high-A team set.

Ted was a fourth-round draft pick of the Yankees in 1976 out of high school. After he batted .309 with 57 steals in 65 games in his second go-round with the New York-Penn League's Oneonta club, the Blue Jays snatched him up in late 1978 via the Rule 5 draft. At age 20, he appeared in 22 games in three months with Toronto, mostly as a pinch runner. He was 0-for-12 at the plate with a single lonely walk. He was also caught stealing in his only attempt. The Jays managed to stash Wilborn at AAA Syracuse for the rest of the year, where he hit an underwhelming .247 with a .587 OPS. In the offseason, the young outfielder was sent back to the Yankees in a six-player trade that also saw Rick Cerone and Tom Underwood go to New York. Toronto's incoming players in the swap were Chris Chambliss, Damaso Garcia, and Paul Mirabella. The Yanks bumped Ted back to AA, where his numbers were at least serviceable: .270 with a .738 OPS and a team-high 14 triples. His 27 steals were second on the team...but he was thrown out 20 times. Still, the Yankees saw fit to give him a September cup of coffee. In the third (and ultimately, final) start of his big league career, Wilborn went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles off of Aurelio Lopez of the Tigers. He drove in one run and scored another. Despite four pinch running appearances in 1980, he did not attempt any steals. His final major league numbers included a pair of singles in 20 at-bats, for a batting line of .100/.143/.100.

Yet as you can see, Ted Wilborn kept pushing onward in the minor leagues throughout the decade. In all, he played 1,130 career minor league games in a dozen seasons, and spent the last three years of that run (1985-1987) in the Orioles organization. His stats in the minors were a bit more flattering than those in his brief time in the bigs: .268/.329/.365 with 40 home runs and 388 RBI. (Note: some stats from Ted's 93 games at Oneonta are not available.)

Here's one to chew on: Ted's full name is Thaddeaus Inglehart Wilborn.


Commishbob said...

"Now batting for the Suns... Number 34...Steve Urkel...

Kevin said...

Funny that you'd say that, Bob. Jaleel White, the actor who played Urkel, threw out the first pitch at a Nats game over the weekend. I heard it was a good throw.