Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ozzie Guillen, 1998 Upper Deck #652

I was digging through a bin of 90's Orioles cards in a sports card shop last year when I saw this one. I grabbed it immediately. If any player has a card more symbolic of his time with the O's, I sure haven't seen it. The look on Ozzie's face seems to say, "Really? Are you sure I signed with the Orioles?" I'm sure he wasn't unhappy to be with the team, since they were coming off of back-to-back ALCS appearances. Sure, it was probably a shock to the system to be in any uniform other than the pinstripes of the White Sox; Ozzie had broken in with the Sox in 1985 and played his entire thirteen-year career to that point with his original team. But Ozzie Guillen just wasn't a good fit in Baltimore.

I couldn't tell you today what the Orioles' rationale was in bringing Ozzie to Camden Yards. They had already moved Cal Ripken, Jr. to third base, but Mike Bordick was installed at shortstop. I guess they figured it would be a nice luxury to have a former All-Star shortstop coming off the bench, but Ozzie was 34 years old and Bordick was in the middle of a five-year stretch in which he played at least 150 games each season. There was just no point to signing another veteran; new manager Ray Miller didn't seem to know what to do with him. A month into the 1998 season, Guillen had appeared in a dozen games, but had only 16 at-bats. Being accustomed to playing every day, he was clearly struggling to stay fresh (he had only one hit). So the Birds released him, and he lasted three more seasons in a part-time role in Atlanta and Tampa Bay.

So yes, the look in Ozzie's face says it all. From the various colorful statements and opinions that have spilled forth from his mouth since he became manager of the White Sox in 2004, it's probably best that we just let the picture do the talking.


William said...

I just spent the past week numbering all my 1998 Upper Deck cards [I have about 1200 combined between series 1, 2, and 3, yet somehow only fragments of each set]. I saw this card during my toiling and also thought it to be quite funny. It's almost like the photographer decided to take the picture at the exact wrong time -- "Alright, on three, one...*click*...great!"

Anonymous said...

Man, can I just say this is one of the best, most addictive O's blogs around right now? I don't even collect cards. Great site, great insight and stories... well done all around.

Kevin said...

Dan, thanks! Glad you're enjoying the blog.

Uglee Card said...

I have absolutely no recollection of Ozzie being with the O's, but it would have been great to hear him and Ripken chatting. Catching the overflow baseball knowledge would have filled a book by itself. Although some of Ozzie's stuff may have been unprintable.

Steve Gierman said...

I remember his stint with the Orioles. It came after a bitter break up with the White Sox. He had his shortest stint with the Orioles. 16 games. He was released by the team in early May. I never understood the reasoning behind the signing either. I was ticked off because the Sox kicked Ozzie out the door to make room for Mike Caruso. Maybe the signing was to apease Harold Baines?

Francis Rose said...

Something happened while Ozzie while he was in Baltimore. He now hates the Orioles. Someone asked him to autograph a card of him in an Orioles uniform last season (maybe this one) and he said, and I quote: "F*** the Orioles."