Tap-In Question: Who is the O's ultimate 'One that got away?' - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Tap-In Question: Who is the O’s ultimate ‘One that got away?’

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Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

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Before you get surly, we mainly talk baseball in here. I can’t do much about that other bird team from Baltimore besides shake my head along with you.

So, we’re sticking with baseball. With a little history. Take your mind off the present.

Although, I’m not gonna conjure happy memories at the Tap Room today. Call it Manic Depressive Monday.

I wrote earlier this week that right-hander and reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta, who is about to pitch in the in the World Series for the Chicago Cubs, may be the ultimate “one who got away” in Orioles history. That’s a pretty bold statement. And I started to rethink it while watching a Reggie Jackson documentary on Fox Sports on Sunday.

Reggie got away after one year in Baltimore and then cemented his reputation as Mr. October and a Hall-of-Famer when he signed with the rival New York Yankees the next winter as a free agent.

But Jackson was already 30 during his lone Orioles season in 1976 – he held out initially but still had 27 doubles, 27 homers and 28 stolen bases in 134 games.

If you want to pinpoint the one that got away during that era, you may have to choose one of the players traded from Baltimore to Oakland in that Jackson deal in 1976: outfielder Don Baylor.

Baylor was just 26 at the time of that trade and was coming off his first 25-homer season. The Orioles knew he was going to be really good, but the idea of acquiring Jackson – and maybe signing him long-term – was too enticing. Ultimately, it didn’t pan out.

In 1979, Baylor won the AL MVP Award for the California Angels and he proved to be one of the more consistent power hitters throughout the late 1970s/mid-1980s.

So, with further consideration, maybe Baylor would be my vote for the best one to get away.

Certainly, there are other candidates. All three of the young players the Orioles gave up for Glenn Davis – Curt Schilling, Pete Harnisch and Steve Finley – had excellent careers after leaving Baltimore. Schilling is a borderline Hall-of-Famer.

You could make a case that the Orioles should have held onto Rule 5 pick Jose Bautista back in 2004, but then you would have had to stomach liking JoeyBats for all these years.

Nelson Cruz is a consideration, but the Orioles had him for just one year in his 30s, so I think that’s a stretch. And Mike Mussina had some of his best seasons at Camden Yards before defecting to New York.

But this is your call. I’m leaving the question – and the bar tab – open for you. You can interpret it however you like. There’s no wrong answer and the guidelines are fairly simple: Who is the one player — above all others — the Orioles never should have given up on? You can use some revisionist history if you like (very few people were crying about Arrieta’s departure in 2013).

Tap-In Question: Who is the Orioles’ ultimate, ‘One-that-got-away?’

24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. OsFanStuckInNY

    October 24, 2016 at 7:14 am

    Milt Pappas?

    OK, then, Mike Mussina.

    • jan417

      October 24, 2016 at 8:46 am

      I think you should do an article entitled, “Which Orioles did other teams woefully regret losing?” Haven’t heard that one. ALL teams lose players they would have liked to have kept or that come back to haunt them. Somehow the Orioles fans and media just keep obsessing on the ones WE LOST. How about the reverse once in a while? Just saying.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 24, 2016 at 11:36 am

      I think that’s sort of something we do on a routine basis within stories. Like a lot of pieces on Trumbo — acquired in a trade for Clevenger … – or Jones/Tillman every time they play Seattle or whatever. Obviously we don’t write about the guys that left as often. But I suppose I could put a list together.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 24, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Hands down it’s Amber Theoharis.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      October 24, 2016 at 7:44 am

      Or Jon Miller. That one hurts still.

      Oh … this is a serious question? Dan, you’ve already mentioned the biggies, so I doubt I could top you for the ‘ultimate’ one that got away. That being said I’ll remind a few of the old timers among us of someone that I thought the Orioles should have kept around for a few more years than they did. How’s about Bobby Grich? It was a hard pill to swallow for me at the time. Super glove man (set some fielding records) with some pop in his bat at a position that didn’t feature big sticks at the time. (danged free agency) One of the better 2nd basemen of his generation in my opinion, not to mention a moustache that even Richie Bancels would be envious of!

      • Creatively_19

        October 24, 2016 at 9:06 am

        I like that take, Jon Miller does still hurt.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 24, 2016 at 11:39 am

      Amber was great to have around and laugh with. She was a pro, and it’s great to see her thriving on a national stage. Miller is a great call. And so is Grich.

  3. Creatively_19

    October 24, 2016 at 9:15 am

    Of all time, at this moment? If its a player we gave it way it would be Curt Schilling. Would the O’s have won a World Series because of him? Probably not, its not the like O’s teams of the early 90’s would have been all that much better with one additional pitcher, and who knows how long he would have stuck around (I believe he was a free agent after 1992, so would he have resigned then?)

    I think Jake Arrieta might one day surpass him, but its far too soon to say.

    Mike Mussina deserves an honorable mention as well, but he didn’t exactly get away, and the 2000s O’s were so terrible he wouldn’t have made much of a difference anyhow.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 24, 2016 at 11:43 am

      Schilling didn’t become a free agent until after the 1995 season. And he re-signed with his team then (Phillies) so who knows what would have happened?

  4. EutawColeslaw

    October 24, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Not sure if this is cheating or not, but this 30ish Orioles fan the answer is Pat Gillick. He’s won everywhere he’s been, including two stops in SEA and PHI after he departed Baltimore, and seemed to realize that the organization’s farm system was in shambles and needed serious attention.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 24, 2016 at 11:44 am

      Not cheating at all. Your interpretation and that’s a great name. Drink chip.

  5. Bancells Moustache

    October 24, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Jury is still out on Arrieta, in fact it’s still receiving instructions from the judge before leaving the courtroom. As magnificent as his 2015 was, how many 86 Mike Scott, 90 Bob Welch and 03 Mark Priors have we seen? And while the price, a subpar half season from Scott Feldman, looks like highway robbery in its face, it isn’t when you take the orange colored glasses off and admit that Arrieta was never going to be successful in Baltimore. Nothing against Jake, it’s just that sometimes people in all professions aren’t where they were meant to be.
    Honestly, I have to go with Boog and think outside of the box, er, diamond. With Vin Scully’s recent retirement, Jon Miller is now the gold standard for voices of baseball (don’t misinterpret that, Scully is the best to ever do it, period). I’m too young to remember Chuck Thompson, so even now when he is calling some random game between the Giants and Arizona, Miller is still the sound of Oriole baseball to me.

    • Bancells Moustache

      October 24, 2016 at 11:44 am

      I just realized Connolly stipulated player, so a caveat; Eddie Murray. Yes, it seems strange considering the 33 hangs from the Camden Yards wall and the statue has been built, but people forget how good Eddie was in LA. Taking that into account, and remembering how close the 89 season was (goddamn Blue Jays), maybe Eddie’s Renaissance season in 90 comes a year sooner and the O’s win that series in Skydome. Plus, how cool would 95 have been if Murray hits number 3000 in the Yard, then 2 months later game 2131 is played?

    • Dan Connolly

      October 24, 2016 at 11:46 am

      Miller is definitely the best of this generation imo. Always a treat to hear him ply his craft. I’m on record however as saying Orioles fans have been spoiled by excellent play-by-play men compared to most other cities.

  6. DCDowell

    October 24, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    I think a three way tie between Schilling, Finley, and Arrieta.
    I’d toss in Koji Uehara, but that might be sentimental. We got overall good value in the trade.

    I remember Chuck Thompson & Bailey Goss. Think they were the greatest of Baltimore’s announcers for the Orioles and the Baltimore Colts. But couldn’t do much about retirement and death (A big salute to both.)

    • Dan Connolly

      October 24, 2016 at 7:32 pm

      I loved Koji, but Hunter and Davis sure takes that sting away.

      • DCDowell

        October 24, 2016 at 10:17 pm

        Like I said we got good value. Takes away the sting!

  7. bigdaddydk

    October 24, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    While maybe not the top “one who got away” player in O’s history, I’d offer up Denny Martinez as one for consideration. Yes, he’d already compiled a fair body of work by the time he went to Montreal, but he also won 100 games over 8 additional seasons with the Expos alone. And he pitched very effectively (sub-3.00 ERA three consecutive years in his mid-to-late 30s) up until 1995. How much of a difference does he make in a rotation with young guys like Schilling, Harnisch, and Mussina in the late-80s and early-90s? I mean, those teams were generally average to pretty bad, but they certainly would not have been worse with Martinez every fifth day.

    Projecting a bit, I wonder if Wei-Yin Chen has the potential to be one of those too. I know $80 million over 5 years certainly seems like a bargain compared to what’s being dished out collectively to Jimenez, Gallardo, and Miley, injury notwithstanding. And he’s a middle of the rotation lefty. I’m just thinking about Tillman, Gausman, Chen, Bundy, and Jimenez as a starting rotation and smiling at the prospect of neither Gallardo nor Miley being on the payroll, with another nearly $5 million in the coffers for next year.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 24, 2016 at 7:34 pm

      Dennis Martinez is an excellent one. Drink chip. Though there are obvious reasons why they had to cut bait when they did.

  8. 5brooks5

    October 24, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    Dan, To me it’s Mussina, I always hated seeing him in a Yankee uniform, and even though the O’s stunk during his tenure,it was always a pleasure watching him pitch.

    • Dan Connolly

      October 24, 2016 at 7:36 pm

      Hard to argue there. And they haven’t had a drafted/homegrown ace since. Maybe Gausman/Bundy changes that.

  9. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 25, 2016 at 7:14 am

    I know this is a day late, and almost nobody will see it, but I’d like to offer up another name.

    Theo Epstein.

    I remember reading that he was an intern for the Orioles for a couple of years while he was still in school.

    • Bancells Moustache

      October 25, 2016 at 5:53 pm

      This might sound like sour grapes, but Epstein has been fabulously successful in Boston and Chicago, two franchises that have a giant Scrooge McDuck vault of money on their side. I’m not saying Epstein isn’t a good executive, but I wonder how successful he would be in a place like Baltimore or Pittsburgh, where there is an actual budget to consider.

  10. cobragt23

    October 27, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    I’m late to the table but my vote has to be Andrew Miller. after meeting Don Baylor when he was just a red wing I thought he was a class act. I cried when they traded him.

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