Thursday, January 25, 2018
Vladimir Guerrero, 2011 Bowman #167
Vlad was certainly running on fumes by the time he arrived in Baltimore as a 36-year-old DH, and his 2011 season in Baltimore was pretty forgettable for team and player. But he still played in 145 games and rapped out a .290 average. He also eked out the last 13 of his 449 career home runs. I'm a little disappointed that he's chosen to wear an Angels cap on his plaque instead of the Expos, but I guess he enjoyed his time in Anaheim.
Jim Thome was an incredibly fun player to watch, a big, strapping guy with an aw-shucks demeanor who just hit the bejeezus out of the ball. When the O's acquired him for the second half of the 2012 season, it made a magical season that much more entertaining. It's a shame that a herniated disk limited him to 28 games as an Oriole (plus four postseason contests), but even at 41 he still held his own with a batting line of .257/.348/.396 in that limited stint. Like Guerrero, Thome ended his career in Charm City, mashing three taters to wind up with a total of 612, good for eighth all-time.
As for the other ex-O's on the 2018 ballot:
-Mike Mussina was frustratingly passed over again, but got closer than ever in his fifth year of eligibility. At 63.5% of the vote (up from 51.8% in 2017), he is on track to make it to that 75% cutoff in a year or two.
-Curt Schilling is farther off the pace, coming in at 51.2% in year six. If he ever stopped sharing his repugnant opinions, he might do a bit better.
-Sammy Sosa is barely hanging on, garnering just 33 votes on the 417 ballots cast. At 7.8% in his sixth try, he is in danger of falling below the 5% cutoff to remain on the ballot.
-Sadly, there were four one-and-done guys with Baltimore ties: Jamie Moyer, receiving ten votes (2.4%), didn't get much credit for his remarkable longevity and late-career renaissance. Also receiving a mere ten votes was Johan Santana, whose 2014 comeback bid with the Birds was snuffed out by an Achilles tear in rehab. Lastly, Kevin Millwood (4-16 for the 2011 O's) and Aubrey Huff (2008 Most Valuable Oriole and 2017 Least Valuable Tweeter) were both shut out completely. Such is baseball, such is life.