Back-to-back days at the Tap Room. It’s been that kind of week.
I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while. One of our regulars – 5Brooks5 – wrote something Thursday about Chris Davis that triggered the thought again.
And this weekend’s celebration of the 25-year anniversary of Camden Yards, which includes the return of that 1992 club, seems like a perfect time to bring up the conversation.
I know it’s human nature that, when we’re in the moment, things seem to be the absolute best or worst. So, keep that in mind, when you answer today’s question.
But I am rather curious as to which player in Orioles’ history has frustrated you the most. I don’t necessarily mean which player you have liked the least. or which player seemed like the biggest jerk. Or which player you couldn’t wait for the Orioles to dump. Or which hyped player you thought was the biggest bust. Let’s assume those components make up “most frustrating,” but also fall into separate categories.
The most frustrating title, to me, is someone who failed to meet expectations, but that you, deep down, knew had the talent to succeed. And just couldn’t get out of his own way as an Oriole. That seemingly every time you wanted to cheer for him, there was disappointment. To the point that maybe you didn’t want to cheer for him anymore.
It seems like the current Orioles have two players that have frustrated their fan base to epic proportions: Ubaldo Jimenez and Davis.
Jimenez has been the definition of erratic during his four years with the team. And it doesn’t help that he signed the richest free agent contract for a pitcher in club history. It actually irks many that Jimenez is such a good guy, works so hard, shows glimpses of excellence and has handled the adversity so well. Because that makes him harder to dislike. But even easier to be frustrated by.
Then there’s Davis, who has been a tremendous player for the Orioles at times, twice leading the majors in homers and twice winning the annual Most Valuable Oriole Award. Because of those contributions, and his immense popularity in Baltimore over the years, it’s probably unfair to lump him in with players who wholly frustrated the fan base due to lack of production.
But it really is hard to watch Davis at the plate when he is going poorly. And because he currently owns the richest contract in club history, and strikes out incessantly – oftentimes with his bat on his burly shoulders – his current Oriole Approval Rate is, well, not strong.
I guess I’m curious to see where you think these two fit into the hierarchy of frustrating, all-time Orioles. And it’s particularly timely because my vote for most frustrating Oriole of all time is expected at Camden Yards this weekend: Glenn Davis.
Davis certainly wins the award for unluckiest Oriole – his three-year career here was pockmarked with unfortunate disaster/injury after another. He played in just 185 games and homered only 24 times in those three seasons (1991-93) and retired at the age of 32.
He’ll forever be remembered as the reason the Orioles shipped away three future All-Stars – Curt Schilling, Pete Harnisch and Steve Finley – before the 1991 season in what is the worst deal in club history.
That wasn’t his fault, of course. But that trade – which made sense for the Orioles at the time — raised the expectations for the slugging first baseman. And the more he failed, or was injured, the more the frustration grew in Birdland. I never covered Davis, but, by all accounts, he was a great guy who was torn up by his lack of production in Baltimore. That, though, didn’t extinguish the frustration felt by the fans.
There have been others who have vied for the “Most Frustrating Oriole” title. A few candidates: Alan Wiggins, Sidney Ponson, Jake Arrieta, Kevin Gregg.
Old-timers will tell me that this trophy belongs to catcher Earl Williams, a former NL Rookie of the Year whom the Orioles acquired in 1972 for four players – including future managers Davey Johnson and Johnny Oates. Williams failed miserably, and couldn’t play for demanding skipper Earl Weaver. Williams was shipped back to Atlanta for a minor leaguer in 1975.
So, there are some thoughts. Now, share yours. There is no right answer to this one.
Tap-In Question: Which all-time Oriole has frustrated you the most?