Ex-Orioles Steve Pearce, Mark Reynolds end careers; Elias shows draft comfort; Jim Frey dies - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Ex-Orioles Steve Pearce, Mark Reynolds end careers; Elias shows draft comfort; Jim Frey dies

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

Two noted players from the Orioles’ successful 2012-2016 run have announced their retirements.

Steve Pearce and Mark Reynolds, two personal favorites, each ended long careers that included many stops, but notably the Orioles.

Pearce played for seven clubs, including all five of the American League East teams in a  career that lasted from 2007-2019.

Pearce, who had four iterations with the Orioles, had his best season in 2014 when he set career highs with 102 games played, 21 home runs, 49 RBIs and a .930 OPS.

Manager Buck Showalter would caution Pearce against working out too much, fearing that he could become injured.

In July 2016, the Orioles reacquired Pearce from Tampa Bay, but he played in only 25 games because of an injury to his forearm. Trey Mancini replaced him on the roster.

His career highlight came in the 2018 World Series when he was named the Most Valuable Player, hitting .333 with three home runs and eight RBIs in the Boston Red Sox’s win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Pearce, who lives in Lakeland, Florida, did well for a part-time player. According to BaseballReference.com, Pearce earned $29.4 million.

Reynolds played with eight teams in a career that mirrored Pearce’s. Both played from 2007-2019.

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Unlike Pearce, with whom Reynolds played in 2012, the slugger was a regular until his final two major league seasons.

Reynolds was known for striking out. He led the majors in strikeouts for three straight seasons (2008-2010) with Arizona. In 2011, his first season with the Orioles, Reynolds led the American League with 196 strikeouts.

His 223 strikeouts with the Diamondbacks in 2009 remain the major league record.

Reynolds also homered a lot, hitting 298 in his career, smacking 44 in 2009 and 37 for the Orioles in 2011.

In 2012, Reynolds played 105 games at first base and 15 at third. Chris Davis succeeded him as the regular first baseman.

Interestingly, Pearce had a 10.0 career WAR in just 766 games while Reynolds’ WAR was just 6.8 because of his horrid -12.1 defensive WAR.

Reynolds also had a wicked sense of humor and was known for his honesty.

Both were a pleasure to cover and deserve thanks from Oriole fans for the fun they brought to the game.

Elias takeaways: Listening to general manager Mike Elias’ Zoom conference call on Monday night, I was struck by the number of procedural questions about the draft, which won’t be held until at least mid-June, and possibly later.

The rest of the coronavirus pandemic is as puzzling to him as it is to everyone else, and he doesn’t have an answer for when or if the season will begin.

Discussing the draft seemed normal to him because that’s a strength and an area in which he has substantial knowledge, and most of us have tried to fall back on what’s normal for us during this time.

Elias also referred to the general sports world, which was a subtle reminder that baseball isn’t alone in wondering when it will return.

While it would be great for Major League Baseball to be the first sport to resume, that’s not likely. It’s more likely that all sports would be given the go-ahead to reopen when social distancing and crowd-size limits are relaxed.

If baseball could come back, why couldn’t the NBA or NHL have their playoff seasons?

Commissioner Rob Manfred recognized the importance of restoring the bigger issue in a Tuesday interview on the Fox Business Channel.

“Baseball is not going to return until the public health situation is improved to the point that we’re comfortable that we can play games in a manner that is safe for our players, our employees, our fans and in a way that will not impact the public health situation adversely,” he said.

Jim Frey dies at 88: For younger Oriole fans, Jim Frey’s name might not be familiar, but Frey was one of six coaches under Earl Weaver who became major league managers. Frey died Sunday at age 88.

Frey was an Orioles coach from 1970-79 and led the Kansas City Royals to the World Series in 1980, his first season as a major league manager. He also managed the Chicago Cubs to a division title in 1984.

In an era of much smaller coaching staffs, Frey, George Bamberger, Billy Hunter, Ray Miller, Cal Ripken Sr. and Frank Robinson became major league managers after serving as coaches for Weaver.

Call for questions: I’ll soon be answering reader questions. Please enter yours in the comments section or email them to: [email protected].

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. ptjhu

    April 15, 2020 at 8:08 am

    Jim Frey had one of the great quotes about Hall of Fame 3B George Brett, when he said of Brett, “He could hit buck-shot with barbed wire.” Rest in Peace, Mr. Frey.

    • Baltcf3

      April 16, 2020 at 1:16 pm

      Funny, Earl said “He was in William’s class”.

  2. cedar

    April 15, 2020 at 10:00 am

    The Orioles have always seemed to have that knack for getting a workman like player, in this case, Steve Pearce, who put in a hard days work and got positive results.

  3. Calvin95

    April 15, 2020 at 11:07 am

    Yes these two were favorites of mine, I even had the #12 embroidered on my baseball cap.

  4. Roenickstein

    April 15, 2020 at 12:23 pm

    Steve Pearce is one of those players it was hard not to like. Gritty, worked hard, often overachieved. Enjoyed watching him with the O’s, and glad he had such a successful World Series, even if it was with Boston. Good luck in retirement!

    And RIP, Jim Frey.

  5. Boog Robinson Robinson

    April 15, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    For all of those that have scoffed at me when I’ve questioned Elias’ unwillingness to reward certain players that performed well during the grapefruit league … (you know who I’m taking about) … I’m wondering if Steve Pearce would have ever had the latter part of his career that he did, had he not shown up with one especially torrid 2012 spring in Sarasota? If memory serves me, he was a bit player for Pittsburgh for half a decade before hitting what I remember to be close to, if not hitting double digit HRs in the grapefruit league of that year. He certainly opened some eyes with that effort. Had he not, who knows, he may never have gone on to bigger and better things. In any case, you had to love the way Steve Pearce could violently pull a baseball.

    • dlgruber1

      April 15, 2020 at 4:17 pm

      Funny you mention about how he could violently pull a fastball. I’ll never forget watching a game, I’m pretty sure it was at Tampa, when he got so far ahead of a pitch that he absolutely ripped a line drive that went right over the third base side dugout and missed hitting a fan, who was not paying attention, directly in the face by a matter of inches. I remember thinking it would’ve killed that man had it hit him.

  6. Raymo

    April 15, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    I remember there was one season (maybe 2012) where Mark Reynolds got really hot in late August or early September and carried the team for two weeks. It was great fun while it lasted.

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