Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Roberto Alomar, 1997 Topps #152

Hey, I found another card in my collection in need of some detective work! This one was surprisingly easy. Since Roberto Alomar joined the Orioles for the 1996 season, this photo was obviously taken that year. The White Sox played six games in Baltimore, and Robbie and Ray Durham each played in all of those games. Durham started four of them, and pinch ran for Harold Baines late in the game in the other two. There was not a play at second base in either pinch running appearance, and Ray did not reach base in three of his starts. That leaves only Saturday afternoon, June 8, 1996. In the top of the fifth inning, Durham led off against O's starter Kent Mercker and dunked a single in front of Brady Anderson in center field. But Frank Thomas followed with a grounder to B. J. Surhoff at third base, and Surhoff, Alomar, and Rafael Palmeiro turned the 5-4-3 double play.

But what did that mean in the larger context of the game? This was an unorthodox contest. The ChiSox charged out to the early lead, scoring a pair of first-inning runs as Frank Thomas, Lyle Mouton, and Danny Tartabull went single-double-triple(!) in succession. It looked like Mercker was laying another egg; he began the day with a horrific 6.70 ERA. However, he walked a tightrope for the next five innings, allowing seven more hits and a walk but keeping Chicago from increasing their lead. The visitors left eight men on base in the first six innings and stranded nine total.

Unfortunately, the Birds also faltered in the clutch.  Alomar drove in the only Baltimore run in the third inning with a two-out single off of James Baldwin. Brady Anderson, who doubled two batters earlier, came home to make it 2-1. But the Orioles marooned 10 runners, most notably coming up empty after loading the bases with nobody out in the sixth inning. Pale Hose reliever Matt Karchner struck out Surhoff and got both Gregg Zaun and Jeffrey Hammonds to pop out to shortstop Ozzie Guillen.

That's how the Orioles fell to the White Sox, 2-1, in a game featuring 20 total hits, 3 walks, and an error. Baldwin (who pitched for the O's in 2005) escaped with his sixth win in seven decisions, Roberto Hernandez earned his 18th save, and Mercker fell to 3-4. He would not win another game before being traded to the Indians on July 21 for returning hero Eddie Murray. I'd make that trade any day, especially since it allowed Eddie to hit his 500th career home run in Charm City and to participate in the team's first postseason games since Eddie, Cal Ripken, Jr., and the rest of the 1983 Orioles won the World Series.


Rob said...

My family was going on vacation to Baltimore right as that Eddie trade happened. Of the three nights we were staying in the harbor we had tickets for two games. When Eddie was traded back my parents bought my brother and I tickets to the game on our "off" night. As it turned out, it was the night Eddie tied Lou Gehrig by crushing a homer to right center field. I got to see my childhood hero hit a homer - top ten moment in my life!

Kevin said...

Rob - That's a great story! I'm still dying to see Jim Thome hit a home run in an O's uniform, myself.