20 in 20: Greatest Orioles not named Ripken (Pt. 4)
It’s here! It’s here! Opening Day has finally arrived, and that means we’re down to our Top 5 greatest Orioles players (not named Cal) to play during the Camden Yards-era. Also, Happy 20th Birthday, Camden Yards. Only one more year, and we can have a beer together (legally).
So without further ado…
5) B.J. Surhoff
The former no. 1 overall pick of the Milwaukee Brewers is number 5 on my list. I’m not sure I can express my love for Surhoff in a paragraph. The king of awkward faces was a staple in Baltimore for many years. And who can forget the day he was traded to Atlanta and he cried during his press conference? That’s a real man. Let’s also not forget that he was voted the Most Valuable Oriole in 1999, the same season he made his first All-Star appearance. He also played every position except pitcher at some point in his MLB career. He even came back to the Birds after being traded and still lives in Baltimore with his family.
4) Adam Jones
This is my “out-on-a-limb” pick. Jones has already been a presence in the organization and a prime piece to build a winning team around. I’m going with the potential factor in this pick. I love the guy, and I think he loves it here. He’s already won a Gold Glove and been selected to the All-Star game in his short career. Let’s all hope that he’s blowing bubbles and stealing home runs at Camden Yards for the next 10-15 years. Well, he might be blowing bubbles and DH’ing by then, but you catch my drift.
3) Mike Mussina
The enemy? Not entirely. He used to be the hero around these parts, and this year he’s being honored with an induction into the Orioles Hall of Fame. You really can’t blame him for leaving the Orioles. Would you want to work for Angelos? At that point in his career, he knew all hope was lost with O’s if he ever wanted to win. He had a good nine year run with the O’s, consistently pitching well all the while winning four Gold Gloves. He also famously showed up Cito Gaston during the ’93 All-Star game at OPACY, leading to the creation of the phrase “Cito Sucks”. Google it.
2) Eddie Murray
Ed-die! Ed-die! Most people remember Eddie from his cartoon bird days at Memorial Stadium, but the legend played for one season (well half of a season) at Camden Yards, which technically qualifies him for this list. He won a World Series, a rookie of the year and countless other awards during his first run with the O’s. But in his partial 1996 season, he fittingly hit his 500th home run with the Birds. There is an orange seat out in the bleachers marking where that home run landed. On July 27, 2003 (my 21st bday, BTW) he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as an Oriole.
1) Brady Anderson
“Yeah, yeah, she’s a girl, that’s why she picked Brady. Blah, blah, blah.” No, not really. (Although, if you know me, you knew this was coming.) When you think of the best teams to play at Camden Yards there are two players that played on all those teams; one is named Ripken and the other is Brady. He was the best leadoff guy the Orioles had seen since who knows when (Don Buford, maybe?), and many would argue he was the best we’ve ever had. No one will forget 1996 and the 50 home runs (and the subsequent steroid talk), but his fielding was top notch. He was leaping over the outfield walls at Camden Yards way before Adam Jones was making it look cool. He was a three-time All-Star and holds four Orioles single-season records (home runs, total bases, extra base hits and hit-by-pitch).
So there you have it. What do you think? Are you pumped for this season because I am. Happy Opening Day!
In case you missed it, the other three parts to the 20 in 20 series: