Friday, March 2, 2012

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Terry Mathews

(Every Friday, I profile a former Oriole who has passed away. I've substituted the word unpossible for impossible as an homage to a line from "The Simpsons". Young Ralph Wiggum, who is a few pennies short of a dollar, says "Me fail English? That's unpossible.") 

Another member of the Orioles family passed away at too young an age when former Orioles reliever Terry Mathews suffered a fatal heart attack last Friday. He was only 47 years old. 

While I have shown this card before, at the time I focused on the fact that I don't care for the psychedelic look of it, but didn't say much about Terry or his career. Today, I will remedy that oversight. 

Terry arrived in Baltimore via a trade from the Marlins in mid-1996 and pitched for the Orioles until his release in July 1998. He became the 592nd player to appear in a game for the O's when he made his Baltimore debut on August 22, 1996. 

He was an integral part of the Orioles bullpen, especially in 1996-97, and had a 4.57 ERA over 88 games during his almost two seasons in Birdland. In addition to the O's, he also pitched for the Rangers, Marlins, and Royals during his eight seasons in the Majors. 

After his retirement in early 2000, he returned to his native Louisiana and worked at the high school he attended when he was younger. All accounts seem to indicate that he was a great guy, and it's really a shame that he passed away at just 47. 

Terry was featured on a single Orioles card,this 1998 Pacific Online, to commemorate his time in Baltimore, and I had sent a copy of it through the mail for him to sign last year. I never received a response, and I suppose at this point, it's pretty unlikely that I will ever find a signed copy of this card. Every account I read stated that he had been a great in-person signer during his career, and he signed the card at the top of this post for me at an Orioles game, but it seems like he didn't sign much or often TTM. 

RIP Terry. And best wishes to your family, I know they couldn't have been prepared for your passing. 

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