Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Monday, April 15, 2013

Rafael Palmeiro, 1997 Upper Deck Run Producers #RP9

If you were an Oriole fan in the 1990s, there's a good chance that Rafael Palmeiro was once one of your favorite players. He was the first big "get" of the Peter Angelos era, he seemed to be an affable family man, and most importantly, he contributed big-time to some successful teams. In his first stint with the O's (1994-1998), Raffy batted .292/.371/.545 (134 OPS+) with 182 home runs and 553 RBI. Just as importantly, he played almost every game and was a solid defender at first base. But for some reason or another, folks' warm memories of the slugger have cooled.

We've hashed and rehashed the ignominious end of Palmeiro's career-ending second swing through Charm City, so I thought I'd share an entertaining story from better times. This one comes straight from Brady Anderson, who was recently talking to ESPN's Buster Olney about the legacy of retirement-bound Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. Some of those late-90s Birds had uncommon success against the great closer, particularly Raffy (.331/.471/.556) and Roberto Alomar (.385/.438/.615). The duo had a special, smaller-than-usual bat (32 inches long) that was intended to help them get inside of Rivera's trademark cutter. The bat was socked away safely until it was time to face #42. Then the All-Star infielders would summon "Stumpy", as it was called. Brady says that he relished the challenge of facing Mariano with his own standard-sized bat, and his numbers were decent, but well below the bar set by his teammates: .273 average (6-for-22), with a walk and a pair of doubles. Anyhow, Anderson used Stumpy once, perhaps out of curiosity, and promptly got jammed by Rivera. He broke Stumpy.

That's why the Orioles can't have nice things, I guess.


shoeboxlegends said...

Hah, I'd never heard that one, great story.

Oriolephan said...

I like the touch at the end