2012 Topps Vladimir Guerrero
Two nights, two blowouts. Who are these hitters and what have they done with the Orioles? It's good to see them on the winning side more than once a week. I'm also glad they won last night so that I could post the above card on the day that Vlad Guerrero is officially inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. While Guerrero and fellow inductee Jim Thome may not have had the longest tenures with the Os they did play with the Birds so that means two more plaques will have the words "Baltimore Orioles" printed on them.
The veteran outfielder signed with the Orioles in February of 2011 as part of an influx of veterans brought in by then General Manager Andy MacPhail. The 35-year-old was coming off of his 9th All-Star season and hit 29 home runs and driven in 115 for the Rangers the season before. Also joining the team that year were Mark Reynolds, JJ Hardy, and Derrek Lee. MacPhail hoped their talents would mesh well with youngish players Matt Wieters (25), Nick Markakis (27) and Adam Jones (25). It didn't as the Orioles finished fifth with a 69-93 record (oh to aspire to 69 wins).
Guerrero wasn't horrible slashing .290/.317/.416 in 590 plate appearances, but it wasn't quite what the Orioles were looking for after parting with $8 million for the designated hitter. At the end of the disappointing season, the Orioles 14th consecutive losing season, MacPhail stepped down and paved the way for Dan Duquette to remold the team.
While there weren't many highlights for Guerrero or the Orioles that season, he did record his 2500th hit in a Baltimore uniform - a double against Toronto:
His last major league home run also came in the black and orange - a blast to centerfield against the Angels (another former team):
Seriously, how do you hit a 58-foot curve ball after it bounces in the dirt?
As for Thome - I don't have a card picturing him in an Orioles uniform. As far as I can tell there is only one and it's a 2012 Topps Update short print.
|I do not own this card so it doesn't count as a victory card.|
Thome's Orioles career was much briefer than Guerrero's. He was acquired in July of 2012 to help the Os fill their DH-void. The 41-year-old was traded for Kyle Simon and Gabriel Lino. Lino was a catcher at the time of the trade who made his way up to AAA in both the Phillies and the Cardinals organizations. He is currently back in Philadelphia's organization with Clearwater. Simon also peaked at AAA and is now currently playing independent league baseball.
For the Orioles Thome slashed .257/.348/.396 in 115 plate appearances. His final career home run also came in an Orioles uniform:
Congratulations to Vladimir Guerrero and Jim Thome on your Hall of Fame inductions.