Friday, January 21, 2011
Unpossible Autograph Friday- Chico Salmon
For the first time in about six weeks, no former Orioles players have died this week. It was a pretty dismal stretch and the lack of news this week was refreshing.
Since I'm optimistic about the 2011 Orioles season and while I'm certainly not predicting a World Series championship, all of my winning thoughts have pushed me to feature a member of one of the O's World Series teams of the past. The MLB Network is showing "The Top 40 Greatest Teams of All-Time" and the 1970 Orioles came in 4th, so that seems like a good team to pick from.
Chico Salmon batted 1.000 and scored a run for the O's in the 1970 World Series. Yeah, he only had one at-bat in the series, but he was a key part of the 5 run 5th inning in Game 2 that put the O's ahead in the game and on their way to a 2-0 lead in the Series.
That World Series appearance was probably the highlight of his nine season MLB career he spent with the Indians and O's from 1964-72. He was with the O's from 1969-72 so was also around for the '69 World Series against the Mets, but the outcome of that Series wasn't nearly as positive as it was in 1970. He was truly a super-utility player and did everything but pitch and catch during his career. Of the 607 games he played in the field: 164 were at second base, 137 at shortstop, 130 at first, 63 in right, 57 in left, 54 at third, and 5 in center.
Interestingly, Chico had a well known fear of ghosts and refused to sleep in hotel rooms unless the lights were on; I guess that's one strategy for not having a roommate on road trips.
In his later years, Chico spent time as a scout and worked with youth baseball leagues in his native Panama. He passed away in September 2000 from a heart attack at only 59 years old. RIP Chico.