Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Mike Smith, 1990 Topps MLB Debut #118

It has to be pretty exciting to have your big league debut memorialized on cardboard. But what if it's a performance that you'd rather forget?

On Friday, June 30, 1989, "Texas" Mike Smith was called in from the bullpen by Frank Robinson in the seventh inning of an Orioles' home game against the Tigers. The 25-year-old was tasked with holding the line in a game that the O's trailed 7-5. He did...not succeed. Things started off well enough, as he stranded a pair of runners inherited from Mark Thurmond; Alan Trammell popped out and Keith Moreland grounded into a force play. But the eighth inning was not kind to Smith. He faced 11 batters and nine of them reached base, with eight scoring. Detroit scratched out seven hits and two walks before Robinson took pity on his rookie and summoned Kevin Hickey to record the elusive third out of the frame. But by then it was 15-5, and Mike had an unsightly ERA of 54.00.

Thankfully, Smith's second appearance was a major improvement. He earned his first career win (of two) with four scoreless innings. He wouldn't stick around for very long, appearing in 13 games in 1989 and two more the following year and bowing out with an 8.22 ERA as a major leaguer, but I guess it's better than never making it at all.

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