Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Friday, October 19, 2012

Vintage Fridays: Dave Leonhard, 1970 Topps #674

I'm tapping into my weekend warrior vein for the next couple of weeks, so you'll probably see a few more posts of the quick'n dirty variety throughout October. If you try to keep tabs on as many blogs as I do, this news might even come as a relief. Anyhow, I'm spending this Saturday and Sunday in Williamsburg, VA with my girlfriend and a few friends, checking out the Halloween-themed attractions at Busch Gardens. Along that line of thinking, I give you a complete 19-man roster of Orioles born in Virginia. Their seasons spent with the Birds are noted in parentheses after each player name. See you next week!

There were a handful of backup-type catchers from Virginia who wore the orange and black. Onetime Pirate All-Star and Richmond native Hank Foiles (1961) batted .274 and slugged .468 in 43 games in his lone season with the O's. Larry Haney was born in Charlottesville, and spent the first three of his dozen big-league seasons backing up Andy Etchebarren in Baltimore. Then there's Norfolk's Jim Hutto (1975) and Clarksville's Willie Royster (1981), who combined to bat 0-for-9 in their very brief tenures with the Birds. I'll also lump utility player and Fairfax kid Tommy Shields (1992) into this paragraph, since his Oriole career consisted of a pair of pinch running appearances. Just call him Sam Horn's Legs.

The outfielders on our Virginia O's team are more recognizable. Joe Durham (1954, 1957) hailed from Newport News and was the first black Orioles player. Al Bumbry (1972-1984)  is the star of the team, as the Fredericksburg-born center fielder can boast of a Rookie of the Year Award, an All-Star appearance, and a World Series ring. Larry Sheets (1984-1989) came from Staunton, and hit 84 of his 94 career home runs in Charm City. He retired as the seventh-most prolific slugger from Virginia, but has been bumped to 14th by the likes of the Upton brothers, Todd Hundley, David Wright, Michael Cuddyer, and...Brandon Inge? (Willie Horton's 325 still put him in the lead, with Wright a distant #2 at 204 and counting.) If you remember Jon Knott (2007), the Manassas native and former Padres farmhand who hit 166 minor league home runs but clubbed his only major league roundtripper in a 7-game cameo in Birdland, I feel your pain.

This leaves us with 10 pitchers from the Old Dominion state, though you peg them as your pitching staff at your own risk. First out of the bullpen is Danville's Bob Mabe (1960), who coughed up six runs in two-thirds of an inning. On the plus side, only two were earned. Though Dave Leonhard (1967-1972) was originally from Arlington, he graduated from Johns Hopkins before posting a 3.15 ERA in 117 games with the O's. Midlothian native Jesse Jefferson (1973-1975) was a fourth-round draft pick of the Birds who pitched for four other teams in his nine-year career. Ken Dixon (1984-1987) was born in Monroe, and went 26-28 during the team's slide into the basement of the American League East. There's a quartet of forgettable relievers: Fort Belvoir's John Wasdin (2001), Richmond submariner Cla Meredith (2009-2010), and Portsmouth's righty Josh Rupe (2011) and lefty Clay Rapada (2011) combo. In the midst of that group was young prospect John Maine (2004-2005), a son of Fredericksburg who was a 15-game winner for the Mets in 2007 before his arm went boom. We close our baseball tour of Virginia with Falls Church southpaw "Bazooka Joe" Saunders, an unassuming veteran who was picked up by his childhood favorite team for the 2012 pennant race and improbably beat the Rangers in the first-ever one-game playoff between Wild Card winners. Will his great October earn him an extended stay in Baltimore? That's a question for another day.

1 comment:

Ryan H said...

Enjoy Howl-O-Scream!