Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Craig Worthington, 1991 Fleer Ultra #26

Craig Worthington's 48th birthday is today, which probably happened because he stopped playing for the Orioles 22 years ago and you lost track of him, you insensitive person you. But the former International League MVP didn't just disappear from the face of the earth after the O's traded him to San Diego in the spring of 1992, you know. Where in the world is (was) Craig Worthington? Let's play:

1992: Released by the Padres at the end of Spring Training. Signed with the Indians three weeks later, put up a .794 OPS in 90 games at AAA Colorado Springs. Went 4-for-24 in a late-season cameo in Cleveland, and was released.

1993-1994: Played two full seasons for the Cubs' AAA Iowa affiliate, tallied a combined 30 homers and 135 RBI. Did not play in the majors at all.

1995: During the players' strike, he signed with the Reds as a free agent, was claimed in the Rule 5 draft by the Phillies, and was returned to Cincinnati prior to Opening Day. Hit .318/.381/.484 in 81 games at AAA Indianapolis, and collected five hits in 18 at-bats for the Reds in a 10-game stint. In mid-August, Craig was traded to the Rangers for Stephen Larkin (Barry's younger brother) and cash. Playing once again for former O's skipper Johnny Oates, Worthington mustered a scant .661 OPS in 26 games.

1996: A baker's dozen worth of games in Texas, another 15 at AAA Oklahoma City, and a June 12 release. That was the end of Craig's time in affiliated pro ball, but not the end of his playing career. He played briefly for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan near season's end.

1997: Worthington went south of the border to play for the Monterrey Sultanes. No statistics are available on his Baseball Reference minor league register.

1998-2000: Craig's final act, as is the case for many ballplayers, was in the independent leagues. He totaled 196 games over three seasons for the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League. His batting line: .271/.378/.471 with 34 home runs and 124 RBI. He would have at least briefly crossed paths with a few other ex-Orioles, including Joe Borowski, Jeff McKnight, John Mitchell, and Tom O'Malley (the team's manager).

So there you have it. More than you could possibly ever need to know about the post-Baltimore playing career of Craig Worthington, a decade spent largely in obscurity. As I try to remind myself, he accomplished more within his abilities than most pro baseball players.

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