Tuesday, August 14, 2012

1994 Orioles Debuts, #540-549

Today, I'm going to continue with my method of posting my remaining O's autographs by the year of player's debuts with the club. If you want to see any of the previous posts, here they are (200120001999, 19981996, 1995)

As many of you know, 1994 was a horrible year for the sport of baseball, as the players went on strike and the postseason was skipped. It was certainly the worst year that I have ever experienced in regards to my favorite sport and I hope to never have to go through something like that ever again. It felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me, and 'poof' one day there was just no more baseball. It was horrible and awful and unfortunate. While Cal's Streak and McGwire and Sosa's HR battles reinvigorated a number of fans following the strike, I think that a number of former fans just never came back to follow the game.

Anyway, here are the players that debuted for the Orioles during that abbreviated season. You'll notice there aren't many, at least in part due to the strike taking away the end of the season. Most of these guys were veterans by the time they arrived in Baltimore, with Armando Benitez being the only real rookie debut of note.

Rafael Palmeiro #540, 4/4/94 (1994-98, 2004-05)

Chris Sabo #541, 4/4/94 (1994)

Lee Smith #542, 4/4/94 (1994)

Mark Eichorn #543, 4/6/94 (1994)

Sid Fernandez #544, 4/17/94 (1994-95)

"El Sid" pitched for fifteen seasons in the major leagues and is certainly best remembered for the ten seasons he spent with the Mets early in his career. He was a two-time all-star for them and was also a big part of their 1986 World Series championship team.

The Orioles were his first post-Mets team and he pitched reasonably well in 1994 but struggled in 1995 and was released at the All-Star break. Overall, Sid had a 6-10 record and a 5.59 ERA with the Orioles over 27 appearances.

Tom Bolton #545, 5/8/94 (1994)

Mark Smith #546, 5/14/94 (1994-96)

Mark was the Orioles 1st round selection (#9 overall) in the 1991 draft, so expectations were fairly high for him. I recall that he was featured on quite a few cards as an Oriole, so I was surprised when I looked up his stats and discovered that he appeared in just 67 games over his three seasons in Baltimore. I was even more surprised to discover that he had played off and on in the Majors through 2003, when he appeared in 33 games with the Brewers. Overall, Mark played in 414 games over parts of eight seasons with five different franchises.

In non-baseball news, the Baseball Assistance Team gave Mark an award for heroism for rescuing a man from a burning car crash in 2000. That takes some serious guts, congratulations Mark! Great work!

Scott Klingenbeck #547, 6/2/94 (1994-95)

Dwight Smith #548, 6/15/94 (1994)

Armando Benitez #549, 7/28/94 (1994-98)

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