Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wady Almonte, 1997 Fleer #613

The O's really missed the boat with Wady Almonte. If they had promoted the Dominican outfielder to the big leagues, he would have become the first Wady in the majors. As it stands now, this relatively pointless honor could go to a (ugh) Yankee farmhand, first baseman/outfielder Wady Rufino. Rufino is also from the Dominican Republic, which is apparently a hotbed for Wadys. Wadies? I don't know.

Mr. Almonte wasn't even close to a callup at the time this card was produced. In the preceding season, his third in pro baseball, he'd just gotten to A-ball. He did have a solid season at Frederick, batting .286 with 12 home runs and 44 RBI in 85 games. He would split 1997 between Frederick and AA Bowie, struggling with the bat. He seems to have been injured the following year, appearing in just 7 games. Wady finally got back on track in 1999, setting personal high-water marks across the board (.293-17-83). But he stalled out at AAA Rochester for the next two years, and spent 2002 back at AA in the Cardinals' organization.

The tale of Wady Almonte ends in the quirky, sparsely attended Independent leagues; after a 16-game sojourn with the Long Island Ducks in 2003, he went out on top with the 2004 New Jersey Jackals of the Northeast League (.327-9-64 in 86 games).

On second thought, it might be for the better that he never made it to Baltimore. The baseball-loving world was undoubtedly spared from Chris Berman referring to him as "Dude Looks Like A" Wady Almonte.

No comments: