Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Eddie Murray, 1988 Fleer Baseball All-Stars #28

If you spent the 1980s watching Eddie Murray dominate the competition at first base, you probably find it hard to believe that the Orioles are a week away from Christmas with a big question mark at that crucial position. Realistically, first base has been a revolving door and a weak spot for the O's since Rafael Palmeiro departed for the first time after the 1998 season. Here are the men who have played there most frequently by season in the ensuing years, with AVG/OBP/SLG, and home runs and RBI listed:

1999: Jeff Conine (.291/.335/.453, 13, 75)
2000: Will Clark (.301/.413/.473, 9, 28) Played only 79 games, injured and later traded to St. Louis
2001: Jeff Conine (.311/.386/.443, 14, 97)
2002: Jeff Conine (.273/.307/.448, 15, 63)
2003: Jeff Conine (.290/.338/.460, 15, 80) Played 124 games, traded to Florida
2004: Rafael Palmeiro (.258/.359/.436, 23, 88)
2005: Rafael Palmeiro (.266/.339/.447, 18, 60) Played only 110 games...you know why
2006: Kevin Millar (.272/.374/.437, 15, 64)
2007: Kevin Millar (.254/.365/.420, 17, 63)
2008: Kevin Millar (.234/.323/.394, 20, 72)
2009: Aubrey Huff (.253/.321/.405, 13, 72) Played only 110 games, traded to Detroit
2010: Ty Wigginton (.248/.312/.415, 22, 76) Made 89 of his 144 starts at 1B

Pretty sad, right? At a premium power position, the Birds haven't even had 25 homers in the past 12 years. Last year, thanks largely to the big steaming pile of awful that was Garret Atkins, they didn't get a single home run from a first baseman until the last day of June (a team-record 76 games). There have been plenty of first basemen available this offseason on the free agent market, but the O's were outbid for Victor Martinez and Adam Dunn and claim that they didn't make an offer to Carlos Pena. They are supposedly negotiating with both Adam LaRoche and Derrek Lee. The fact that either of them would represent an upgrade for the Orioles is telling; no one is going to rush to the ballpark to see them do their thing. Fans (yours truly included) are getting restless with the lengthy process that has unfolded, and are probably a bit worried that the team will get neither if they haven't wrapped one of them up already.

My preference, such as it is, is for LaRoche, who is four years younger and seems to have more power at this point in his career. It seems like the O's try to get him every year, and eventually they have to succeed, you would think. Besides, he's not an ex-Cub like Lee; I'd rather not hear the lame jokes about GM Andy MacPhail's Cub fetish. A word to the wise, should Adam ink a deal with Baltimore: he is a notoriously slow starter, with a .211/.304/.396 career slash line before May 1. It's his worst career month by nearly an 80-point margin of OPS. So we might just need - you guessed it - that much more patience.

I wish Eddie Murray could find the fountain of youth.


Anonymous said...

ya we really are in desperate need of a power bat in our lineup. i mean at this point i agree with u on laroche because derrek lee just looked absolutley horrible at the end of last year. if only we could of gotten tex a few years ago!

Commishbob said...

I can never get enough Eddie Murray cards.

Kevin said...

O'seagles11 - There's also the fact that the Nationals seem to prefer Lee. That would be enough to make me pause.

Bob - There's plenty more where that came from.

Anonymous said...

yea the nationals seem to have money with the werth contract and the harper and strasburg. they were also reportidly going after cliff lee. i liked adam dunn on that team. he would of been a nice player to get.