Veteran right-hander Edwin Jackson had his contract purchased by the Orioles from Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday afternoon when lefty reliever Donnie Hart was sent down.
Once the 33-year-old Jackson appears in a game for the Orioles, he will have played for 12 major league teams in his career, leaving him one shy of the all-time record. That title is held by longtime reliever Octavio Dotel.
Jackson is an interesting fellow. He was born in Germany (the son of a U.S. Army cook) and made his big league debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2003 on his 20th birthday, when he defeated Hall of Famer Randy Johnson and the Arizona Diamondbacks. (The Diamondbacks later became one of Jackson’s 11 employers, and he threw a no-hitter for them in 2010 — against another one of his many ex-teams, the Tampa Bay Rays.) Jackson also won a World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011.
From 2006 through 2011, Jackson was traded a whopping six times. His trades involved 22 other players, which included still-active big leaguers such as Max Scherzer, Curtis Granderson, Colby Rasmus and Ian Kennedy. Jackson’s trades have also involved several former Orioles and O’s minor leaguers: Danys Baez, Corey Patterson, Daniel Schlereth and Zach Stewart.
Oh, and Jackson was once traded along with Dotel — the man he may someday supplant as the all-time, most-traveled major leaguer.
Jackson has made quite a career of bouncing from team to team in parts of 14 seasons. He’ll become the eighth Oriole to have played for at least 10 major league teams. Let’s take a look at the others.
RHP Mike Morgan
Number of teams: 12
Year(s) with Orioles: 1988
When your big league career spans parts of four decades, you’ve got plenty of chances to make your rounds through the majors. Sure enough, Morgan had no shortage of employers. The Oakland Athletics drafted him out of high school with the fourth overall pick in 1978 and immediately put him on their major league roster at age 18. In his big league debut, he pitched a complete game against — who else? — the Orioles (although he lost, 3-0, to a Scott McGregor shutout).
Perhaps rushed to the bigs, Morgan never found his footing with Oakland and bounced between the majors and minors with several organizations for a decade before landing with the Orioles, his fifth team, in 1988.
Morgan opened the season in the rotation and absorbed four losses during the Orioles’ infamous 0-21 start. All told, he made 10 starts and 12 relief appearances for the club that year, posting a 5.43 ERA. The Orioles traded him to the Dodgers prior to the 1989 season for outfielder Mike Devereaux.
Morgan pitched for another 14 years and eight teams after that. In 1998, as a Chicago Cub, he gave up Mark McGwire’s then record-tying 61st home run of the season. In 2001, he earned his first World Series ring as a 41-year-old reliever for the Diamondbacks. He retired a year later.
C Paul Bako
Number of teams: 11
Year(s) with Orioles: 2007
Most longtime big league players, even well-traveled ones, usually find at least one team they can stick with for a few seasons. But not Bako. He was truly the journeyman’s journeyman, a player who zipped in an out of every town in the blink of an eye, no sooner landing with a new team than getting sent packing again.
Bako, incredibly, crammed his 11 teams into only 12 big league seasons. The longest he ever stuck with a team was two years (with the Cubs in 2003-2004); he played fewer than 100 games for each of his other 10 clubs.
Bako was a backup catcher from the beginning of his career to the end, playing just well enough to stay employed for more than a decade, but never enough to earn a starting gig. The Orioles were the ninth of his 11 teams, as the club signed him to back up Ramon Hernandez for the 2007 season. Bako batted .205 with a .534 OPS, one homer and eight RBIs in 60 games.
LHP Bruce Chen
Number of teams: 11
Year(s) with Orioles: 2004-2006
Who says you have to be a grizzled old veteran to be a journeyman? Chen joined his eighth team — the Orioles — when he was only 26. (By comparison, our previously discussed super-journeyman, Bako, was still on his first team at that age.)
It was in Baltimore that Chen had his first breakthrough season. After eight successful games late in the 2004 season — including seven shutout innings in his Orioles debut Aug. 25 — Chen notched then-career highs with 32 starts and 13 wins in 2005, providing stability to an otherwise shaky rotation. But Chen’s 2006 season was the polar opposite, a dreadful collapse that saw him languish to an 0-7 record and 6.93 ERA in 40 games (12 starts). The Orioles cut him loose.
After five failed games with the Texas Rangers in 2007, and then a year away from the majors, Chen revived his career with a surprising second act, spending six solid seasons with the Kansas City Royals before a forgettable two starts for the Cleveland Indians.
Although Chen’s major league career ended in 2015, he returned to the mound to start for Team China in the 2017 World Baseball Classic at age 39.
RHP LaTroy Hawkins
Number of teams: 11
Year(s) with Orioles: 2006
Hawkins wasn’t much of a journeyman when he joined the Orioles. The reliever was pitching for just his fourth team at age 33, having spent his first nine seasons with the Minnesota Twins. (Hawkins, like the previously mentioned Morgan, made his major league debut against the Orioles. It went horribly. He gave up seven runs on seven hits and retired just four batters on April 29, 1995.)
Hawkins was a setup man on a 2006 Orioles team that didn’t have a ton of leads to protect, and finished his lone season in Baltimore with a 4.48 ERA in 60 games. He left as a free agent and ratcheted up his breakneck tour around the majors, working for eight teams in nine seasons — including two stints with the Colorado Rockies, seven years apart. He was even thrown into the blockbuster trade that sent shortstop Troy Tulowitzki to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015. Hawkins finished with 1,042 games pitched, ranking 10th in MLB history.
3B Todd Zeile
Number of teams: 11
Year(s) with Orioles: 1996
The lasting legacy of Zeile’s two-month tenure with the Orioles, unfortunately for him, may be his costly throwing error in Game 3 of the 1996 American League Championship Series against the Yankees. In a tie game in the eighth, Zeile took a throw from the outfield on a double and attempted a pump-fake to second, only for the ball to squirt out of his hand and roll along the infield dirt. That allowed Bernie Williams to dash home from third with the go-ahead run.
Perhaps overshadowed by that regrettable moment is the fact that Zeile was the Orioles’ best hitter in that series, bashing three home runs off Yankees pitching. The Orioles had acquired Zeile and slugger Pete Incaviglia at the end of August as they pushed for an (ultimately successful) run for the AL Wild Card.
Zeile made a career of getting traded. He was swapped between the rival Cardinals and Cubs in 1995 for another player on this list, Mike Morgan. In 1998, Zeile was part of the mega-trade between the Dodgers and Florida Marlins that included Mike Piazza, Gary Sheffield, Bobby Bonilla and others, and he was dealt again two months later. And in 2002, Zeile was one piece of a three-team, 11-player swap between the New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers and Rockies.
OF Tommy Davis
Number of teams: 10
Year(s) with Orioles: 1972-1975
Davis, who earlier in his career had been a two-time batting champ and once posted a 153-RBI season for the Dodgers, was nearly a decade removed from his best years when he joined the Orioles in August 1972. He’d already bounced between nine teams in seven years before that, including two stints apiece with the Athletics and Cubs. And Davis, whose leg had been bothering him since a season-ending injury in 1965, wasn’t much of a defender by the time the Orioles got him.
His bat still had some thump, though, making him a perfect fit for the new designated hitter role that was installed in the AL in 1973. Davis was the Orioles’ main DH for three seasons, leading the team in hits and RBIs in 1973 and 1974. The club released him before the 1976 season, and he played for the California Angels and Royals — his ninth and tenth career teams — before retiring.
All in all, Davis carved out a nice, 18-year career for himself, falling one shy of 2,000 games played.
LHP Dana Eveland
Number of teams: 10
Year(s) with Orioles: 2012
In December 2011, just a month after Dan Duquette became the Orioles Executive Vice President, fans were excited to see what new players he could bring into the fold during his first winter meetings. They were left disappointed when his only trade acquisition during the event was Eveland, a nondescript journeyman lefty. Eveland was joining his seventh team, and aside from a 29-start 2008 season with Oakland, he’d had little success at any previous stops.
Eveland appeared in just 14 games for the Orioles, making two starts, and was sent packing after the season. Since then, Eveland has pitched for three big league teams, and he even returned to the Orioles’ organization in 2015, pitching 16 games at Triple-A Norfolk.
Most recently, Eveland somehow got into 33 games for the 2016 Rays despite posting a 9.00 ERA. Tampa Bay released him prior to this season, and he’s currently pitching for the Pericos de Puebla of the Mexican League.
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