Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

John Shelby, 1986 Donruss #643

After entirely too much hand-wringing by fans and media alike, the Orioles have finalized their 2011 coaching staff at last. For the first time in a dog's age, they've made a clean sweep; sorry, John Shelby. It's a novel idea, letting your manager choose his own coaching staff. As a result of these circumstances, there are no former O's players on the major league staff for the first time since the days of Earl Weaver. I'm okay with that. It would be nice to see a familiar face or two, but the top priority is getting competent men who know how to communicate their knowledge to the current players. By most accounts, that's just what Buck Showalter has at his disposal. As an added bonus, the Phillies took Juan "The Windmill" Samuel off of our hands!

I like being able to branch out from my O's collection to show you what else lurks in the boxes and binders in my house. Let's root through the non-Oriole portion of my collection and meet the coaches.
1994 Collector's Choice Wayne Kirby
The first base coach is Wayne Kirby, a former outfielder who was drafted by the Dodgers in 1983. He didn't make his big league debut until 1991 with the Indians, and didn't get to play a full season until 1993, when he was 29 years old. That 1993 season was his best, as he hit .269 with 6 home runs, 60 RBI and 17 steals for Cleveland. He last played for the Mets in 1998, and was a .252 hitter for his career. His brother is Terry Kirby, a former NFL running back who I remember from my previous life as a Miami Dolphins fan. Wayne will also work with the outfielders.
1987 Topps John Russell
The third base coach is John Russell, recently deposed manager of the Pirates. He had a 186-299 record in three years at the helm. He was also a backup catcher for the Phillies, Braves, and Rangers from 1984-1993 and caught Nolan Ryan's sixth no-hitter on June 11, 1990. John was a career .225 hitter, and he'll be working with the catchers.
1988 Topps Jim Presley
Ex-Mariner, Brave, and Padre third baseman Jim Presley will replace Terry Crowley as hitting instructor. He previously served under Buck Showalter as Arizona's hitting coach, and spent the past five seasons in the same capacity with the Marlins. As a player he peaked early, hitting 79 home runs in his first three full seasons with Seattle. He was an All-Star in 1986, when he drove in a career-high 107 runs. In eight seasons (1984-1991), he batted .247 with an off-putting .290 on-base percentage. But I suppose you don't have to be a good hitter in order to teach others how to hit. Jim also has a master's degree in educational leadership, for what that's worth.
1993 Upper Deck Willie Randolph
The most prominent member of Buck's staff may be bench coach Willie Randolph, who was fired by the Mets in 2008 despite having a 302-253 record as their manager in three-plus years. He spent several years on Buck and Joe Torre's Yankee staffs, and most recently served as bench coach for the Brewers. Of course he was also a dependable second baseman for six teams (most notably the Yankees) from 1975-1992, batting .276 with an impressive .373 on-base percentage for his career. Willie was a six-time All-Star and will instruct the team's infielders. Despite his significant New York ties, he has started out his Orioles career by saying the right things about his respect for the team's history and his dedication to Baltimore and its fans.

Unfortunately I don't have any cards for pitching coach Mark Connor and bullpen coach Rick Adair, neither of whom had any major league playing experience. Connor is a trusted associate of Showalter, having been his pitching coach in New York, Arizona, and Texas. Adair has spent the last 25 years as a minor league pitching instructor and occasional big league coach, most recently serving as Seattle's pitching coach.
2004 Topps Buck Showalter
And of course you all know this guy.


Commishbob said...

Wait, you were a Dolphin fan? was that in the post-Colts, pre-Ravens era of Charm City history?

Kevin said...

Bob - Yep, I took an interest in football in 1993, and the Dolphins were on TV in Baltimore most of the time. Plus, I was 11 years old, so I liked their colors. I had three years of Dan Marino and early playoff exits before the Browns moved to town and bailed me out. I also rooted for Baltimore's CFL team, of course, who will likely go down in history as the only American team to ever win a Grey Cup!

FreeTheBirds said...

Did you go to the Dolphins-Saints game at Memorial Stadium in 1993? I went, it was my first football game. I also liked Dan Marino, mainly because of Ace Ventura though.

Kevin said...

FTB - I did not go to that game. My first football game was Ravens-Bengals at Memorial Stadium in 1997. They beat Jeff Blake and company 23-10. It's weird in hindsight to think of the Ravens playing on 33rd Street.