Ramon Hernandez Drops a Pop Up
As a Baltimore boy, I grew up witnessing and hearing tales of the traditionally sound defense of the local big-league ballclub as a cornerstone of the vaunted “Oriole Way”. But 10 straight losing seasons, the turn-back-the-clock uniforms they wore last night and a rain delay got me wondering: Which Orioles players made the most errors at their respective positions in the 55 years of the modern American League franchise?
The answers are a bit surprising…to me, anyway. Here’s they are, in ascending order of actual miscues:
Pitcher – MIKE BODDICKER – 7 errors in 1984: Mr. Foshball won 20 games that season -the last Baltimore pitcher to do so- and won a Gold Glove award in 1990 after getting traded to the Red Sox. So, who’s counting?
Left Field – BRADY ANDERSON – 8 errors in 1992: We have to bend the rules here a little bit. Brady’s eight errors tied for the third-most ever by a Baltimore outfielder, though he only committed seven of them while playing left. Jackie Brandt made eight errors two years in a row from 1961-62, but none of them in his brief action in left field. Like Boddicker, Anderson made the All-Star team.
Center Field – WILLIE TASBY – 11 errors in 1959: I’ve always wished I could’ve been at the game where Tasby played in his socks because he feared being struck by lightning.
Right Field – REGGIE JACKSON – 11 errors in 1976: Reggie missed 28 games in his lone season in Baltimore, but still set the record (though two of his miscues came as a center fielder). Orioles fans didn’t see him at his best though. “Mr. October” made a dozen errors the previous year for the A’s, and 13 more when the Yankees lured him away with free agent dollars in 1977.
Catcher: GUS TRIANDOS (13 errors in 1959) & RAMON HERNANDEZ (13 errors in 2006): Both of these guys hir a least 23 home runs in these highlighted season, with Triandos making the All-Star team despite hitting .216. They both did a good job throwing out base-stealers, but struggled with passed balls. Triandos had more than twice as many get by him (28-13), but he also had to deal with Hoyt Wilhelm’s knuckle ball, which drove him increasingly nuts.
First Base – EDDIE MURRAY – 19 errors in 1985: Steady Eddie started the All-Star Game, drove in a career-high 124 runs, and saw his three-year run as the American League’s Gold Glove winner at first base come to an end.
Second Base – BOBBY GRICH – 21 errors in 1975: Grich won his third of four consecutive Gold Gloves in 1975.
Third Base – CAL RIPKEN – 22 errors in 1997: Playing the position regularly for the first time in 15 years, Ripken broke the club record for miscues by a third baseman by a single error. Who’d he knock off the list? None other than the great Brooks Robinson, who set the mark in his first full season as a 21-year-old.
Shortstop – WILLY MIRANDA – 34 errors in 1955: By hitting .255 with one homer and 38 RBI, the diminutive Cuban narrowly escaped joining the dreaded “more errors than RBI” club. The late Miranda’s errors decreased in subsequent years but, unfortunately, so did his offensive numbers.
So there you have it. If we keep only one of the catchers, that’s 146 errors by nine players to start this team. Those nine guys combined to win 10 career Gold Gloves. Joe Garagiola was right: Baseball IS a funny game.
by Malcolm Allen