Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Orioles Victory Cards 13 and 14: Just playing catch-up at this point

 Baltimore Orioles Victory #13: 8-4 over the Oakland Athletics

Baltimore Orioles Victory #14: 5-3 over the Seattle Mariners

1999 Upper Deck Ovation Mike Mussina

2020 Topps Opening Day John Means

Posting this while watching the Wednesday matinee game between the Orioles and the Mariners. Mr. Means, the staff ace for the Orioles, has a little something special going on. How he's doing it is a testament to a former Baltimore Orioles coach (who should have a statue right next to Earl Weaver) that just passed away this week.

Ray Miller died at age 76 and is a member of the Orioles Hall of Fame. While he managed them in 1998 and 1999, he was best known as their pitching coach during the last days of their dynasty that ran from 1966 to 1983. He presided over the pitchers from 1979 to 1985 and oversaw five 20 game winners (Jim Palmer, Mike Flanagan, Steve Stone, Scott McGregor, and Mike Boddicker). Flanagan (1979) and Stone (1980) would win Cy Young awards while Boddicker is the last Oriole to win 20 games. Miller came back to coach the pitchers in 1997 (where Mussina went 15-8, went to the All Star game and finished 6th in Cy Young voting) and then again in 2004 and 2005. 

He had a brief tenure as manager of the Twins in 1985 and 1986 before heading over to Pittsburgh where he was Jim Leyland's pitching coach where he oversaw a third Cy Young winner, Doug Drabek, in 1990. 

Miller was known for a rather simple philosophy: "Work fast, throw strikes, and change speeds." It's a philosophy that holds up today, even if it's not practiced quite so much with the modern game's reliance on raw velocity and spin rates. 

He'd be really happy to see what Means is doing in Seattle on Wednesday afternoon.

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