Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Saturday, March 10, 2018

J. J. Hardy, 2016 Topps #233

One of the troubling realities of being a baseball fan is that you can form attachments to players, only to see them leave your favorite team. Guys get hurt, they decline, they're released or traded or just sign elsewhere as a free agent. It seemed like a foregone conclusion for a while that J. J. Hardy would not be an Oriole in 2018, but in some ways I'm just coming to terms with it nonetheless. Pedro Alvarez recently re-signed with the O's on a minor league deal, and was assigned jersey number two. As shown above, that was J. J.'s number for the past seven years. But he hadn't topped 115 games played since 2014, and hadn't been even league-average as a hitter since 2013. So at age 35, it's not really surprising that Hardy is no longer in Baltimore. In fact, he hasn't signed anywhere.

But J. J. Hardy will be fondly remembered by O's fans. He contributed to three playoff teams, and was a Gold Glover at shortstop for three straight years (2012-2014), for what that's worth. For me, I'll remember that he scored the go-ahead run on Delmon Young's bases-clearing double in the second game of the 2014 AL Division Series, and I'll remember shouting along to Camden Yards PA announcer Ryan Wagner's distinctive call: "J! J! HARDY!" If his 13-year MLB career is truly over, J. J. should feel a real sense of pride. He totaled 188 home runs, with a 30-homer season in 2011. In addition to the aforementioned Gold Gloves, he was a two-time All-Star (2007 and 2013) and a 2013 Silver Slugger awardee. I hope he can find something else to keep him busy after baseball.


adiddle said...

One of my favorites also Guess our favorite players cannot be like Ichiro and still play at 44

Rob said...

I could see him as a manager one day...

Kevin said...

Alan - Since you mentioned him, I'm thrilled that Ichiro is hanging on for another year. It's also worth mentioning that Koji Uehara just signed a deal to go back to Japan with the Yomiuri Giants, the team he spent a decade with before signing with the O's. He's 42.

Rob - I feel like I've heard similar sentiments before. If he wants it, I'm sure there would be interested teams.