Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Somewhat Recent Spring Trainings Cards
I have to start by showing Chris Gomez who undoubtedly had the best/longest career of any of these guys. Go-Go played sixteen seasons in the Majors with eight different teams from 1993-2008. He was with the O's from 2005-07 and again during Spring Training 2009, but didn't make the team his second time around. He was a solid shortstop who could play any of the infield positions if needed.
As a member of the Detroit Tigers in 1994, Chris came in fourth in Rookie of the Year voting (behind Bob Hamelin, Manny Ramirez & Rusty Greer).
As little as five seasons ago, Hayden was considered to be one of the O's top prospects, and was one of the players that they wouldn't send to the Marlins to work out a Josh Beckett-AJ Burnett-Mike Lowell trade. Since that time, thanks to a combination of injuries and unfortunate circumstances, he was traded (interestingly enough) to the Marlins for Robert Andino, and has washed out of the Marlins and Pirates organizations. He spent the 2010 season pitching in Japan. It goes to show that prospects really are a great unknown part of the game.
Walter was a massive player who was officially listed as 6'5", 322 pounds, making him the heaviest recorded player in baseball history. Unfortunately, that's his only place in the record books, since it looks like he no longer plays professionally. At least he made it into 14 games with the O's in September 2005, and his big league batting average will stay at a respectable .303.
Two things about this card. The clouds/weather in the background looks very similar to that on the Gomez card, so I'm guessing both pictures were taken on ST picture day 2005. And Walter's signature is right up there with the worst I've ever seen from an Oriole. What is that chicken scratch?
Last up is the prematurely gray, Eli Whiteside. In retrospect, he might be the most "famous" of these four, considering he just won a World Series ring as a member of the 2010 Giants. He also was the catcher behind the plate for Jonathan Sanchez's 2009 no-hitter. I don't think many people remember that he caught nine games for the 2005 Orioles, but this here card proves that he spent some time with the team. It also proves that he was lucky enough to "catch" the sunny part of 2005's ST picture day.