Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Tony Chevez, 1991 Crown/Coca-Cola All-Time Orioles #75

I'm probably repeating myself - after blogging on a near-daily basis for almost six years, I'd be surprised if I wasn't - but the thing I value about the 1991 All-Time Orioles set is that they included everyone. Every Tom, Dick, or Harry who ever threw a single pitch or had a single at-bat in the first 37 years of O's baseball has his own card in this oddball set. That includes Tony Chevez, who was the second player born in Nicaragua to play in the major leagues. Baltimore signed both Chevez and fellow Nicaraguan Dennis Martinez in 1973, and the former was actually the bigger star back home. In the amateur Roberto Clemente League, Tony went 20-1 with a 0.93 ERA and a pair of no-hitters in his final season. His pitching talent translated well to the minor leagues, where he posted a 32-14 record and a 1.93 ERA in parts of three seasons with the Class A Miami Orioles. The club promoted him to AA Charlotte during the 1976 season, and he went 7-3 with a 1.87 ERA. But in 1977, everything changed.

Chevez was 23 when the Birds promoted him to the major leagues in place of the injured Fred Holdsworth in late May of 1977. He was used four times in mop-up relief situations, and gave up runs each time: 13 total (11 earned) in eight innings, for a 12.38 ERA. He allowed 10 hits and eight walks and struck out only seven men. His final appearance came on a cool, wet night in Boston. Chevez says that he slipped during his follow-through after one pitch and felt a pop in his shoulder. He sat unused in the Baltimore bullpen for two more weeks before returning to AAA Rochester. He tried pitching through the pain, but wasn't the same pitcher he had been before. He had a 13-27 record and a 4.52 ERA in parts of three seasons with the Red Wings, and his pro career was finished by 1980. Those four rocky relief appearances comprised the entirety of his major league experience.

But Tony made his happy ending elsewhere, settling in Rochester with his wife Halyma. They became United States citizens in 1982 and raised three children. Their daughter Kelly married then-Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett in 2008. Tony found work for a tool and die manufacturer in Rochester, and Halyma is a social worker. They have not forgotten their roots, either, returning to Nicaragua several times in the past decade with friends from their church to build homes and donate medicine and clothing to the needy.

My source for this blog post was a fine article posted at SABR by Rory Costello.

1 comment:

Zach said...

This is why I love this site: such great stories told succinctly yet with just enough detail to provide an in-depth view of seemingly humdrum players and her cards. Someday, you need to turn these kinds of posts into an O's history book. Each page will show a player's card and write-up just like this. You have a talent for making even a non-O's fan genuinely care about long-forgotten players like Tony Chevez, and that talent would serve the O's organization well someday.