Catching up with Bigbie

In case you skipped over the most recent batch of comments attached to today's blog entry, "Buddy" provided a link to an article from the Ball State Daily News regarding former Oriole Larry Bigbie.

Bigbie is being inducted into the Ball State Athletics Hall of Fame on Friday, an honor that might seem predictable given his status as a first-round draft pick and the years he spent in the majors. But you had to wonder whether the university would distance itself from Bigbie after his inclusion in the Mitchell Report.

Here's the link, which includes a strong denial from Bigbie that he had been blackballed and forced to resume his career in Japan.

According to the story, Bigbie will play independent ball this year, suiting up for the Edmonton Capitals of the Golden Baseball League. He'd like to catch on with a major league team, but knows his time is running out.

I was convinced that Bigbie would be a superstar with that sweet swing and developing power. He could run and throw. He had looks and personality.

So much for that prediction. He hit 31 home runs in parts of six seasons. His defense slipped, frustrating coaches and management. And he took a shortcut that eventually rerouted him to an independent league.

Bigbie will always have a place on my good-guys list of players I covered on the Orioles. He was one of my favorites. And I'm glad that he'll find some joy in his baseball life later this week.

If only the rest of his career had turned out differently.

And the same goes for that 1999 draft.

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