Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Monday, December 1, 2014

Albert Belle, 2000 Upper Deck Legends #52

You've probably heard by now that Nelson Cruz is officially an ex-Oriole, having flown the coop for a four-year, $57 million contract with the Mariners. I certainly can't begrudge him for taking the security and the money where he could get it, just like I can't blame the Baltimore brass for blanching at a four-year commitment to a 34-year-old player with a checkered injury history whose best position is designated hitter. So Nelson, thanks for what is likely the best one-and-done performance in team history; I enjoyed every one of your 42 home runs in the regular season and postseason.

The question of the moment is how the Birds go about replacing Cruz's 74 extra-base hits and 140 OPS+. Hopefully their next move works out better than their wheelings and dealings on this date in 1998. On that troublesome December first, Rafael Palmeiro turned down a more lucrative deal in Baltimore to return to Texas. That same day, the O's inked Albert Belle to a five-year, $65 million deal (over $83 million in 2014 money); he lasted two years and 60 home runs before retiring with an arthritic hip.

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