Matt Wieters is only the fifth All-Star catcher for the Orioles, following Gus Triandos, Andy Etchebarren, Terry Kennedy, and Mickey Tettleton. The good news for Wieters is that each catcher made more than one All-Star team. After reviewing the boxscores of this quartet of previous O’s All-Stars I’d say that, come next Tuesday, Wieters would do well to model Kennedy behind the plate and Triandos at the plate.
Kennedy made his final All-Star appearance in 1987 for the Orioles after representing the San Diego Padres in the 1981, 1983, and 1985 games. Kennedy went 0-for-2 as a starter in 1987, but caught the Phillies’ Mike Schmidt stealing in the top of the fourth inning. Pitching and defense were critical in the game, as neither team scored until Tim Raines’ two-run triple provided the difference for the National League in the top of the 13th inning.
Given Wieters’ impressive play behind the plate this season for the Birds - his 23 runners caught stealing are tied for second in the majors while his .442 caught stealing percentage is tops - he could certainly follow Kennedy’s lead and make his All-Star mark with defense.
Triandos appeared in All-Star games for the Birds in 1957, 1958, and 1959. Major League Baseball played two All-Star games in 1959; Triandos was on both rosters but played only in the first of the two games. His bases-loaded double in the eighth inning scored two runs for the American League in 1959. One season earlier, he went 1-for-2 with a run scored in the 1958 All-Star Game at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium. His first All-Star hit came off the Milwaukee Braves’ Warren Spahn. He did not play in 1957, as Yankee Yogi Berra went the distance behind the plate for the American League. Triandos has the only All-Star hits among Orioles catchers, who are a combined 2-for-9 with two RBIs and a run scored in the Midsummer Classic.
Here’s hoping Wieters’ fortunes are better than those of former O’s backstop and current York Revolution manager Etchebarren, who made consecutive All-Star teams in 1966 and 1967 but never got off the bench. Nevertheless, Etchebarren had the opportunity to watch teammate Brooks Robinson earn the Most Valuable Player award in 1966.
The O’s most recent All-Star prior to Wieters was Mickey Tettleton. “Fruit Loops” went 0-for-1 with a strikeout against “Wild Thing” Mitch Williams to end the eighth inning in the 1989 All-Star Game. Tettleton was an All-Star again in 1994 with the Detroit Tigers and drew a walk in that game as a pinch-hitter for Seattle Mariners pitcher Randy Johnson.
Matthew Taylor blogs about the Orioles at Roar from 34. His ruminations about the Birds will appear this week as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.