Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Jose Morban, 2003 Upper Deck 40 Man #175

Thirteen years later, I'm still baffled by the Orioles' insistence upon claiming Jose Morban from the Twins after Minnesota had chosen him in major league phase of the Rule 5 Draft, and even more perplexed by their stubbornness in keeping him on the MLB roster for the entire season. Morban was a 23-year-old who had just reached high-A minor league ball in the Rangers' organization in 2002, batting .260/.326/.414 with eight homers, 66 RBI, and 12 triples. Since Morban had to stay on the 25-man roster for the entire 2003 season or be offered back to his previous team, the depth-challenged Birds might as well have playing a man down all year long. Jose started just 16 games, pinch hit 11 times, pinch ran 23 times, and made 11 appearances as a defensive sub late in games. Used sparingly at the plate, he collected 10 hits in 71 at-bats, a punchless batting line of .141/.187/.225. He did slug a pair of home runs. For trivia purposes, I will tell you that his first four-bagger was a pinch-hit solo homer off of Tampa Bay's Al Levine leading off the bottom of the ninth on April 19, 2003. It was the first of five straight O's hits, sparking a four-run rally that fell just short in an 8-7 Baltimore loss. His second homer came four months later, also at Camden Yards, against Yankee pitcher Sterling Hitchcock.

So, did the Orioles' patience with Morban pay off? I think you know the answer to that. It was back to the minors in 2004, where the infielder batted only .221/.290/.352 between Frederick and Bowie. The Birds cut him loose after that, and he had minor league stops with the Indians, Mariners, and Rangers, and also appeared in a couple of independent leagues and Dominican winter ball. He last played in 2009. Would he have had a more productive career if the O's hadn't jumped him to the majors in 2003? Maybe not, but we'll never know now.

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