Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Jimmy Key, 1997 Fleer Ultra #356

On this date in 1996, the Orioles signed Jimmy Key to a two-year contract for nearly $8 million. The free agent deal paid immediate dividends, as the veteran lefty tied Scott Erickson for the team lead with 16 wins in 1997, tossing 212.1 innings with a 3.43 ERA that was second on the staff to ace Mike Mussina. He was especially strong prior to the All-Star Break, posting a 12-4 record and a 2.55 ERA as the O's charted their course for a wire-to-wire division lead. By the postseason, Key seemed to be running out of gas. He failed to complete five innings in either of his playoff starts, though he did provide three innings of crucial shutout relief in Game Five of the ALCS. In allowing just one walk and no hits, he carried the Birds' slim two-run lead from starter Scott Kamieniecki to closer Randy Myers and helped Baltimore stave off elimination.

Like most of his teammates, Jimmy's fortunes took a downturn in 1998. Shoulder problems limited him to 25 games that year - 11 starts and 14 relief appearances. He went 6-3 with a 4.20 ERA in 79.1 innings, and retired at age 37 with a career record of 186-117 and a 3.51 ERA in 15 seasons.

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