Stacey's "Bird Droppings" post this morning at Camden Chat. She also linked to this blog, which was a swell thing to do, and which gave me that little extra push to write something tonight. I guess reciprocity makes the world go 'round.
Andy was a five-time Gold Glove center fielder, a three-time All-Star, and a two-time Silver Slugger, and he did exactly zero of those things in Baltimore. It would've been hard to squeeze such accolades into his muddled 17-game swing through Charm City in early 1995. So it goes. You may feel like you've heard the Van Slyke name more recently; indeed, Andy's son Scott has been a part-time outfielder and first baseman for the Dodgers since 2012. He's batted .249/.331/.424 in 821 career plate appearances, with 27 home runs and 92 RBI.
The elder Van Slyke shares a birthday, birth year and all, with former righty reliever and storied prankster Roger McDowell, who also had a mid-30s sojourn with the Orioles in the mid-1990s. Roger finished his 12-year stint in the majors with 41 appearances out of the O's bullpen in 1996, running up a 4.25 ERA while walking 23 batters and striking out just 20. Two decades later, McDowell has returned to our city as Buck Showalter's new pitching coach after a lengthy tenure in that same role in Atlanta. He's got his work cut out for him, to say the least.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Sunday, December 18, 2016
Fine, I'll dig deeper. Nate was Baltimore's fifth-round pick in the 2003 draft out of Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda, FL. He spent three years in the low minors with the Birds, and made good contact and took some walks. In 2005, he batted .294/.349/.429 with 30 doubles as a 20-year-old with the Frederick Keys, making both the midseason and postseason Carolina League All-Star teams. In January 2006, Nate was traded to the Cubs in the Corey Patterson deal. He continued his steady, unspectacular performance, winding up with a batting line of .268/.357/.398 in a dozen minor league seasons. In an outlier year, he clubbed 20 homers and drove in 82 runs with Boston's AA Portland affiliate in 2010. He had cups of coffee in the majors with the Red Sox in September 2011 and April 2012, unfortunately going 0-for-8 in all with four strikeouts. As of the 2016 season, he'd put away his bat and glove and joined the coaching staff of Boston's Class A Greenville Drive club.
Friday, December 16, 2016
-The youngest of four kids, he became the first member of his family to attend college when he enrolled at Iowa State Teachers College. His alma mater later became known as Northern Iowa University.
-In 1961, he was scouted by the Cardinals, White Sox, and Orioles, but the first two clubs each offered him a $350 signing bonus. The O's sweetened the pot and got him for $400.
-While splitting the 1964 season between Class A Aberdeen (S.D.) and AA Elmira, Eddie went a combined 17-2 with a 2.04 ERA.
-He made his big league debut on Opening Day of the 1966 season - April 12 - and earned the save in Baltimore's 5-4, 13-inning win at Fenway Park. The stocky righthander struck out George Scott and got a pair of groundouts from Tony Horton and Rico Petrocelli in a flawless inning of work.
-Though Watt didn't appear in the O's four-game sweep of the Dodgers in the 1966 World Series, he still earned an $11,683.04 share. In five years, he'd come a long way from a $400 bonus!
-His career-best performance in 1969 helped the Birds claim the first of three straight American League pennants: 5-2 with a team-high 16 saves and a 1.65 ERA in 71 innings.
-After Eddie's playing career ended, he managed in the Padres' farm system for four years, racking up a .524 winning percentage from 1978-1981. Later he coached in the minors for the Astros, Phillies, and Braves before retiring in 2003.
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Monday, December 12, 2016
And yet...2016 brought me this daily source of joy, wonder, and warmth.