Friday, May 6, 2016

#474 Oriole Rookie Stars

All three men made the Oriole Roster for 1972 and had eventual careers in the MLB, with a varying degree of success...
Don Baylor,...most promising of the three and possibly the best in prospect from the minors....very impressive in Rochester in 1970....had he been on another team would have had a starting position...played winter ball under his predecessor Frank Robinson who was to become Baylor’s greatest influence;  Frank would be call on in the future to break slumps....held his own in Baltimore with an average of 14 home runs and BA .274 in 4 full seasons....not so well known was his youthful speed swiping  118 bases....after a quick stint in Oakland 1976, took the free agency road to Anaheim 1977....after two seasons of good power but average hitting put it all together in 1979....MVP season and personal bests in RBI’s, runs, and home runs....made his only all star team that year.... huge drop off 1980 especially in power due to injuries....returned in 1981 as a career DH....Eventually made his way to NYY, Boston, Minnesota, and a return to Oakland.... he was able to make the 3 consecutive WS with 3 his last three clubs.... ended playing career in 1988...proceeded to follow his mentor Frank Robinson as a manager and hitting coach....Was the first ever Colorado Rockies manager and got them to the post season in third season of existence.. only managed in NL despite being a career AL fourth on all-time hit by pitch total...ouch

 Roric Harrison, ..most obscure of the trio....Roric (only MLB player by that name) was a farmhand in Houston and Milwaukee systems....traded to Baltimore before 1971 15 games in AAA Rochester as a starter....unable to break the Oriole all star starting staff was able to find a role as a mop up....Career best ERA of 2.30....traded to Braves  which used him as spot starter....won a career high 11 games in 1973....lost effectiveness but somehow eked out 10 wins between the Braves and Cleveland 1975 his last full season in majors....hung on in minors for a few years and had a short call up with Twins 1978....had 70 starts in 140 games appeared
Johnny Oates....newcomer to Oriole catching corps....hit .261 in 1972 rookie season in the Orioles ever-present  platoon system...An upgrade from the poor performance of incumbents Andy Echerbarren and Elrod Hendricks....Joined Roric in the Braves trade for 1973...output was for Braves was .236 BA, 5 HRs, 38 RBIs in part time to Phillies produced a .286 BA in first season which was his last season in a platoon versus backup role....later traveled to Dodgers and Yankees  for years 1977-1981....hallmark of career was professionalism  and solid work ethic making him a manager and team organization favorite wherever he played.....transformed this to coaching alternating managing in the minors then to MLB coaching staff...opportunity to big league management came in the form of 1991 Baltimore Orioles....No pennant but held a winning record in club’s first few season at Camden Yard....The 1994 strike ended his Baltimore days, but was picked up by Texas.....Took the helm for 7 years rought forth  a stretch of 3 pennants in fours season not so bright one win in ten games....Sadly died lost his 3 year battle with a brain tumor in 2004.

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