Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Friday, October 4, 2013

Vintage Fridays: Roric Harrison, 1973 Topps #229

I got another just-for-me item off of our wedding registry earlier this week: an Ultra-Pro three-ring binder for baseball cards. Tomorrow I'm hoping to get around to filling it with nine-pocket pages so that I can give Roric Harrison and the rest of my in-progress 1973 Topps set a proper home. Harrison had just completed his rookie season, the only year he'd spend in Baltimore. He pitched out of the O's bullpen in all but two of his 39 appearances, posting a 2.30 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and four saves. The dark clouds behind the 25-year-old righty might be portending an unsatisfying career arc. Before the 1973 season he was dealt to Atlanta in the Earl Williams trade, and he had a so-so record in two-plus seasons with the Braves: 20-23, 4.45 ERA, 87 ERA+. He was swapped to the Indians in mid-1975 and broke even for his lone partial season in Cleveland: 7-7, 4.79 ERA. Roric spent the following two seasons in the minors before resurfacing with the Twins for a rocky nine-game stint in 1978. That was his last taste of the major leagues. But Harrison does have his own claim to fame, and it's not just that he is the only "Roric"to ever play in MLB. He had only 15 hits in 124 at-bats (.121 AVG), but six of those hits were home runs. In fact, he was the last American League pitcher to hit a home run before the designated hitter rule was introduced. His historical swing came on October 3, 1972 against Ray Lamb of the Indians. With that clout, Harrison helped his own cause in a 4-3 win over the Tribe. And now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

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