Baltimore Orioles Victory Number 9: 9-1 over the Chicago White Sox
2001 Upper Deck UD Reserve Brady Anderson
Chris Davis hit a home run yesterday. It was his second of the year and 242nd of his Orioles career. Currently he ranks 6th all-time in franchise history trailing only Cal Ripken, Jr., Eddie Murray, Boog Powell, Brooks Robinson and Andrew Jones. It is possible, with a halfway decent season, he could catch Jones who is 21 big flies ahead of him on the list.
The man pictured above, Brady Anderson, is, along with Davis, one of only two Orioles to have hit 50 home runs in a season. Anderson, currently the VP of Baseball Operations, slugged 209 home runs during his playing days in Baltimore. Known for freakish workout habits and long side burns, Anderson was a fan favorite during his playing days.
In his prime (and when he wasn't out injured) he was the type of ballplayer that most teams would like to have on their roster. While his home run totals fluctuated from year to year he was a doubles machine, racking up 329 of them over his career. From 1992 to 2000 he never had a season with less than 25 doubles. He could steal bases as well. His 307 SBs are a modern day record for Orioles players (George Sisler had 354 but most of those were for the St. Louis Browns). His defense wasn't too shabby either.
For the past few years his role on in the organization has been a little nebulous. Some have referred to him as a "shadow GM" and his roles in acquiring players as always been somewhat unknown. It was a bit of a surprise that the new regime kept him on over the offseason. New GM Mike Elias seems to value his "institutional knowledge" and he claims that there is plenty of work to split up between himself, Anderson and the rest of the front office staff.
Could keeping Anderson on board be a public relations ploy by the new staff? Possibly, as Anderson was one of the most popular players over the past 30 years and cutting him adrift wouldn't have been a great move for a club that will have a cavalcade of new faces over the next few years. Fans do enjoy having a bridge from one generation to the next and Anderson can fill that role over the next few years. He's also probably on his way to becoming a GM at some point so why not stick around and learn some new tricks from Elias?
Due to the breakout nature of his one solitary 50-HR campaign (he never hit more than 24 in any other season), his statuesque physique, and the fact that his best year came in the mid-90s, his name was constantly associate with the steroid rumors of the day. There was never any definitive proof that he juiced and he adamantly denies it to this day. He never popped up in the Mitchell Report or failed a test or was caught with a bottle of Andro in his locker.
This isn't an argument for or against if he used steroids, just an enjoyment of the fact that he had a pretty good career for the Oriole and that for my generation at least, the number 9 will always be associated with Brady Anderson.