Mike Mussina, Adam Jones and Adley Rutschman make this a significant week for Oriole fans - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Mike Mussina, Adam Jones and Adley Rutschman make this a significant week for Oriole fans

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

This is a symbolic week in Orioles history. The far past, immediate past and a hopeful future come together.

On Sunday, Mike Mussina joined the Baseball Hall of Fame. A day later, the Orioles faced Adam Jones for the first time since he left the Orioles, and later this week, Adley Rutschman could play his first of many games in Maryland.

Ever since Mussina was elected to the Hall six months ago, fan reaction was divided. Some were happy that perhaps the second-best pitcher in Orioles history was duly honored. Others were miffed that Mussina decided not to be identified with either the Orioles or the New York Yankees on the cap on his plaque.

Mussina’s reasoning was quite thoughtful. His career was roughly divided between Baltimore and New York, and he couldn’t have made the Hall, he’s said, without the work he performed for either team.

Why should he offend one fan base by choosing the Orioles or the Yankees?

The Yankees have countless members of the Hall, and sharing the stage with Mussina in Cooperstown was Mariano Rivera, the first player elected unanimously, another Yankee.

While two other onetime Orioles, Harold Baines and Lee Smith, were among those enshrined, no one seriously considers them as lifetime Orioles.

With Mussina eschewing the Orioles cap, there are only six true Orioles Hall of Famers: Brooks and Frank Robinson, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken Jr., Jim Palmer and Earl Weaver, and the odds are that it will be many years until other Oriole joins them.

It likely won’t be Jones, who has had an excellent career, but not a Hall of Fame one.

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Jones’ numbers are very good, but he’s still 92 hits away from 2,000 after his three-hit game in Monday night’s 6-3 Diamondbacks’ victory over the Orioles. His power numbers are good, too (279 lifetime homers), but his WAR is 32.7, a respectable mark, but far from one worthy of immortality.

It had to be jarring for Orioles fans to watch Jones play for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday.

One of the most popular of all Baltimore athletes, Jones was the key player on each of the Orioles’ three playoff teams.

While he downplayed playing against his former team to reporters in Phoenix, it was hardly the story it might have been had the Diamondbacks come to Baltimore.

When Manny Machado returned to Oriole Park late last month with the San Diego Padres, he was greeted warmly and the crowds were relatively large.

If it had been Jones, he would have received even a warmer welcome, and the attendance would have been even higher.

Jones will be 34 next week, and with his advancing baseball age, the changing economics of the game and the vagaries of the schedule, it’s possible that he’ll never play another game in Baltimore. That would be a shame.

His Orioles reunion must be strange. Jones doesn’t know manager Brandon Hyde or most members of the coaching staff. Many players with the team are unfamiliar with him as well.  Another series in Oriole Park would be a chance for thousands of fans to say “thank you” to Jones.

While Jones’ days with the Orioles are over, Rutschman’s days with the team are just beginning. He’s played only two games for Gulf Coast, the entry-level team in the Orioles’ system.

In this two games, Rutschman has been the designated hitter and catcher, hitting .250 (2-for-8) with a home run. The Orioles’ plan was to have him catch some games for Gulf Coast before his scheduled promotion to Short-Season Aberdeen, perhaps later this week.

The IronBirds are likely to reap the benefits of Rutschman. With Aberdeen accessible to most area fans, Rutschman will be watched closely, and that will be the case throughout his time in the Orioles’ minor league system.

Oriole fans will hope that Rutschman gives them as many thrills as Mussina and Jones did.

Minor Honor: Bowie right-hander Michael Baumann was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week. Baumann pitched a no-hitter on July 16.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Camden Brooks

    July 23, 2019 at 9:04 am

    I can’t fault Moose for his team-less entry into the HOF. I’m disappointed, but he deserves to make that call. Exciting time to be an O’s fan, watching the progress of the youngsters.

  2. Dblack2508

    July 23, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Rich , you’re accurate about Adam getting the better reception if Arizona came to town. Adam in my opinion was the best overall centerfielder in Orioles history.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      July 23, 2019 at 9:25 am

      I agree, he is, but arguments could be made for Paul Blair and Al Bumbry.

      • Rich Dubroff

        July 23, 2019 at 9:52 am

        Paul Blair had a 37.8 WAR, Jones ‘ is 32.7 and Al Bumbry had a 24.5.

        • willmiranda

          July 23, 2019 at 11:12 am

          Rich, you seem to put a lot of stock in this WAR. True? If so, how much and why?
          Do you see it as a way to begin or end arguments?

          • Rich Dubroff

            July 23, 2019 at 12:00 pm

            Right you are, Will. I like WAR because it encompasses both offense and defense. Most of the great players have high WAR numbers.

            The highest WAR scores historically are Babe Ruth, Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Barry Bonds and Willie Mays. What I find interesting is the relatively high scores of players who might otherwise be overlooked. As you’ve noted I’ve recently cited Paul Blair and Mark Belanger’s high scores.

            Mike Mussina and Bert Blylevan, who might not have made the Hall of Fame 30 years ago, are in, perhaps because their WAR is higher than Don Sutton and Don Drysdale, for example.

            Lou Whitaker, who is in my estimation, the most overlooked player in recent times, has a higher WAR than Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson, Frank Thomas, Jim Thome, Alan Trammell, Ron Santon and Barry Larkin–all of whom are deserving.

            On the other hand, Sandy Koufax’s score is relatively low. As a youth, I thought he was the best pitcher I’d ever seen on TV. He was penalized for a short, though dominant career.

            Lou Brock, who had more than 3,000 hits and for a time held the record for most stolen bases, also has a relatively low score. I thought he was a wonderful player, but WAR doesn’t measure intimidation, the fear that he put in opposing players.

            I just think WAR is the best overall measure of a player. Yes, it has weaknesses. A player who’s a great mentor to others isn’t given credit for that, but there’s plenty of room for them on teams, too.

            People running baseball and writers covering it use it widely, and as the traditional counting stats aren’t given as much attention, it and other advanced stats will be more important to fans.

        • Bancells Moustache

          July 23, 2019 at 12:04 pm

          Blair and Jones had higher WAR, but only one of the above names was an Platoon Leader in the Vietnam WAR.

          Bumbry in a walk.

          • Rich Dubroff

            July 23, 2019 at 12:12 pm

            As I said earliler, Bancells, WAR doesn’t measure intangibles.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            July 23, 2019 at 12:24 pm

            I loved the Bee as a kid. Never heard of his service. Thanks for informing me.

          • Bancells Moustache

            July 23, 2019 at 5:53 pm

            That’s a shamefully neglected and 100% true fact Boog. Bumbry didn’t reach the bigs til he was almost 26 because he spent two years in the Army, one of which he spent in the jungle throwing down with Charlie. This fact alone shoots Bumbry into my all-time favorite Oriole list.

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            July 24, 2019 at 7:32 am

            That’s a great story BanMo. As a brat of a 30 year lifer and Army CSM with 2 tours of Korea and 3 in Nam to his credit, I now have a very new found extra respect for Mr. Bumblebee. Thanks for your service Mr. Bumbry, whereever you are!

        • Birdman

          July 23, 2019 at 1:55 pm

          Rich, any statistical measure (WAR) which ranks Roy Oswalt above Sandy Koufax is highly questionable.

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    July 23, 2019 at 9:22 am

    I CAN fault Mussina. Hey if he doesn’t want to be an Oriole … so be it … just don’t expect any love from me. Could I suggest he wear a hat with a “$$” logo on it ?

    So, how far have we sunk this season? I couldn’t help but notice that other than Adam Jones name appearing, there is absolutely no mention of last nights’s game in Rich’s article today!

    • CalsPals

      July 23, 2019 at 9:45 am

      I’m a longtime Moose fan, unfortunately I agree here, compare his stats, MUCH better stats as an O, the PC line is too obvious, who cares if you piss off the Yankee fans, they’re the same people who boo their biggest stars 1/2 the time, now you’ve ticked off both sides, the only thing I think that would have been worse would be if he went in as a Red Sock…ugh…any chance when rosters expand & minor seasons over they bring up Adley, not to play, but for the experience?Go O’s…

      • Rich Dubroff

        July 23, 2019 at 9:59 am

        No, they will not add Rutschman to the roster in September. He’s played college baseball at a high level this year and perhaps even plays for Delmarva in the playoffs. That will be fine experience for him.

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 23, 2019 at 9:54 am

      Boog, I wasn’t at the game, and generally don’t analyze games that I don’t attend.

      • Jack Gibbons

        July 23, 2019 at 10:59 am

        Story is updated with the score, Boog.

    • Orial

      July 23, 2019 at 10:39 am

      Totally agree Boog AND to make matters worse the majority of Yankees fans wouldn’t even give Mussina a second thought.

  4. Orial

    July 23, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Seeing the remarks by Jones (not feeling the love from the organization)is there a possibility of sour grapes? Will he shun reunion days in the future as did Davey,Frank Robinson? Rich I see where the O’s play the Padres again in SD later this season. Why Ariz only once and in turn not a Jones return to Baltimore?

    • Rich Dubroff

      July 23, 2019 at 11:44 am

      Orial, the schedule was released last August, long before Jones’ destination was known. Arizona played in Baltimore in 2016, and MLB tries to alternate venues in interleague play.

      I would think Jones would love to return to Baltimore because of his affection towards the fans. Davey Johnson has appeared at reunions for the 40th anniversary of the 1970 team and the 50th anniversary of the 1966 team.

    • ClayDal

      July 23, 2019 at 1:39 pm

      I can understand Adam may have felt unappreciated by the organization last year for all he did for the team and community, but last year was such an ( unexpected) disaster that a smooth transition was impossible. They spent a lot of time trying to work out trades for Manny, Zach and others. With all due respect to Adam, they did offer to trade him to a contender, which he vetoed, as was his right. While Elias never publicly ruled out a return, it was obvious the Orioles were moving on. Adam was treated and payed well by the team over the 11 years he was here. I suspect time will heal all wounds. He was treated much better than Steve Buchantz was by the Wizards. That was a disgrace.

  5. Bancells Moustache

    July 23, 2019 at 12:12 pm

    I’ve only been to Aberdeen once, for the High School State Title games last spring, but I’ll most certainly be making the trek up 95 in the coming days. Is it a good place for younger kids?

  6. Bhoffman1

    July 23, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    The starting five at Bowie has been amazing. Could be the best in all of double A. This gotta make people excited.

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