Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Jamie Moyer, 1996 Fleer #16

It seems like a lifetime ago that Jamie Moyer was an Oriole. Although this card is from 1996, he pitched his last game in orange and black in 1995, signing with the Red Sox as a free agent in January of the following year. Jamie resurrected his career in Baltimore in 1993, winning twelve games with a then-career low ERA of 3.43 after spending more than a year in AAA. He hadn't won a game in the bigs since 1990, as injuries had derailed him and taken the zip off of his fastball. It's amazing that Moyer was able to reinvent himself and become one of the best pitchers in the game, getting by on control and brains. He had mixed results in his last two years with the O's, but has since posted double-digit wins in 11 of 12 seasons and looks like he will be back for more in 2008 at the tender age of 45.

Jamie Moyer happened to have his comeback season during the same year that I became a baseball fan. As a still-impressionable eleven-year-old, I soaked up everything I could get about that 1993 Orioles team. I consulted the team roster printed in the TV Guide of all places - just names and uniform numbers. With this roster, I played ball in my back yard, tossing a tennis ball in the air and taking mighty swings with a big plastic bat. As you might imagine, there weren't any other kids in the neighborhood who were close to my own age. As 1994 rolled around and my fanhood was reaching a fever pitch, the names and numbers of that 1993 team persisted in the newest baseball cards and preview magazines and almanacs, in the Ken Griffey, Jr. Super Nintendo game that was my most treasured birthday gift, and in the Strat-o-Matic game that I bought for myself but never really played that often. Of course, my budding fanaticism was cruelly undercut by a players' strike that wiped out the final two months of that 1994 season, cancelled the World Series, and delayed and shortened the 1995 season by a month. But that just made the 1993 team all the more special to me.

I could still rattle off stats from 1993, both good and bad. I remember Cal Junior's 24 home runs and 90 RBI, but I also remember Leo Gomez's .197 batting average. There was Gregg Olson's 1.60 ERA, and Rick Sutcliffe's astronomical 5.75.

There are three players still active from that team, fifteen years later. One is Arthur Rhodes, who missed all of 2007 with Tommy John surgery and has not caught on with a team for 2008. Another is Mike Mussina, who pitched just his second full season in 1993. He is now 39, and with 250 wins to his credit he will be fighting to maintain his spot in the Yankees' rotation this season. Then there's Jamie Moyer, who merely won 14 games for the National League East Champion Phillies in 2007, including the clincher on the last day of the regular season.

Not bad for an old guy.


Steve Gierman said...

Very cool cards this week. Is it ex-Chicago player week? Every player has had ties to the White Sox or the Cubs.

Kevin said...

Thanks! I hadn't even thought about it, but you have a point with all the ex-Chicagoans. I'd already planned tomorrow's card, and it turns out he's an ex-White Sox player as well!