Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Jay Gibbons, 2005 Donruss Elite Turn of the Century #19

Yesterday was the 12th anniversary of a wild day in Major League Baseball. On July 2, 2002, there were a total of 62 home runs hit across the big leagues, a record that still stands today. A full dozen of those round-trippers were hit in the White Sox' 17-9 slugfest victory over the Tigers, with each team bashing six. Nine different players had two-homer games, which was also a record. That motley assortment of power hitters included Dmitri Young, Magglio Ordonez, Sandy Alomar Jr., Jay Gibbons (more on him in a moment), Raul Ibanez, Lance Berkman, Tsuyoshi Shinjo, Damon Minor (brother of former O's third baseman and current Frederick Keys manager Ryan Minor), and Reggie Sanders. Reigning home run king Barry Bonds, who socked 73 dingers in 2001 and had 25 as of 7/2/02, did not go deep at all that fateful day. He settled for a 2-for-4 day with a walk, a double, a pair of RBI and two runs scored while teammates Shinjo, Minor, Sanders, and David Bell combined for seven four-baggers.

In this context, the Orioles' 3-0 win at Anaheim on that midseason Tuesday seems out of place. Gibbons' pair of solo homers were all of the offense that rookie starter Rodrigo Lopez needed, and they were nearly all of the offense that he got. (Geronimo Gil's double-play grounder in the seventh inning plated Marty Cordova with a bit of insurance.) Lopez pitched around five walks, four singles, and a hit batter in seven innings of work, as the Halos went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Buddy Groom, Willis Roberts, and Jorge Julio teamed up for two flawless innings of relief, with Julio locking down his 17th save of the year to boost Rodrigo's record to 7-3. For second-year sensation Jay Gibbons, his fourth-inning clout against loser Ramon Ortiz and his ninth-inning shot off of Scott Schoeneweis represented his first two-homer game in the majors. He would have three more multi-HR games by season's end, part of a career-best total of 28 home runs for the redhead.

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