Matthew Taylor: Knocking at the door of franchise’s all-time marks

Happy opening day, Baltimore fans. I’m sorry to report that I won’t be at Camden Yards for the opener. Nevertheless, I have taken the day off from work to watch the game at home. It’s not an official holiday, but it should be.

Each new season brings the promise of the unknown, so we start the year with predictions and projections that typically focus on expected team and individual totals. Given my interest in Orioles history, I decided to look at where some current players might end up on the all-time franchise lists by the end of the 2013 season.

It’s entirely likely that two O’s players could move into the top three in franchise history for their individual pitching and hitting totals, respectively. And then there’s everyone’s favorite part-time hurler, who’s probably staying right where it is when it comes to his mound work.

Closing time: Orioles closer Jim Johnson entered the season ranked seventh in franchise history for career saves with 72. He could well end the season ranked in the top three.

Johnson’s two saves in the season-opening series with the Tampa Bay Rays moved him into a sixth-place tie with Eddie Watt, an Orioles pitcher from 1966-1973. His next two saves will tie him with Randy Myers for fifth place in franchise history. Johnson already passed Myers in the O’s record book for single-season saves as his 51 saves in 2012 eclipsed Myers’ 45 in 1997.

With 30 saves this season, Johnson would reach the top three, which currently includes franchise leader Gregg Olson (160 career saves as an Oriole) followed by Tippy Martinez (105 saves) and Stu Miller (100 saves).

The fourth-place slot belongs to Jorge Julio, who had 83 saves for the Birds. That’s one name I would not have guessed for the top five.

Double your pleasure: Brian Roberts’ ninth-inning double against the Rays on Wednesday moved him closer to passing Hall of Famer George Sisler on the franchise leader board. Sisler had 343 doubles as a member of the St. Louis Browns from 1915 to 1922. Roberts, meanwhile, is fifth all-time with 340 doubles.

With 24 more doubles this season, for a season total of 25, Roberts would pass a Hall of Famer whose name is more recognizable to Orioles fans than is Sisler’s: Eddie Murray. Murray ranks third in franchise history with 363 doubles. Overall, Roberts has hit 25 or more doubles six times in his career. His 56 doubles in 2009 are an Orioles record.

Given a healthy season, Roberts would likely to find himself among the top three franchise leaders for doubles. Next up after Murray would be Brooks Robinson with 482. Cal Ripken Jr. leads the category with 603 doubles. How the hamstring injury he sustained Thursday affects his pursuit remains to be seen.

Pitching in: Two active members of the O’s system are among the 23 players in franchise history to have a flawless career ERA of 0.00. At least one of them is likely to remain in that group by season’s end. They are Dylan Bundy and Chris Davis.

Joining Davis among the recognizable, but out of position Orioles to have never allowed an earned run as a pitcher are Jeff Tackett, Todd Cruz and Elrod Hendricks.

Tackett, an Orioles catcher from 1991-1994, pitched one inning against the Tigers on Aug. 11, 1993. He allowed one hit and one walk and gave up no runs as part of a 15-5 road loss.

Cruz played third base for the World Series champion 1983 Orioles and the 1984 Orioles. He pitched one inning on Sept. 18, 1984, in a 10-2 loss at Yankee Stadium. He allowed no hits, no runs, no walks and retired the side on two fly balls and a groundout.

The legendary Elrod Hendricks played 12 seasons in Baltimore as a catcher and very occasional first baseman. Even less common was his turn as a pitcher. Hendricks took the mound on June 26, 1978, at age 37 for 2 1/3 innings of work - one more hitter than Chris Davis faced last season. He walked one, allowed one hit and gave up no runs in a - cover your eyes - 24-10 loss at Toronto. After allowing a single to his initial batter, he retired the next four hitters he faced.

Matthew Taylor blogs about the Orioles at Roar from 34. His ruminations about the Birds appear as part of’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 but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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