This past weekend, we saw something that we see every year (generally in August), as the Orioles had their annual Hall of Fame induction. Every team has a Hall of Fame in some manner, and while getting elected to your team’s hall might not be as prestigious as Cooperstown, it’s quite an honor. Some people seemed to question the election of second baseman Roberto Alomar this year. For sure, he barely slid in under the main qualification (three years of service to the team). However, my personal opinion is that Alomar deserved the honor given the level at which he played during those three years.
Alomar played on the last truly great teams that the Orioles had up until last season. So here’s an interesting question - which players from that era up until the present day should one day be considered Orioles Hall of Famers?
Notice I didn’t say definitively voted in, as that’s ultimately up to the voters. But as much as the 1998-2011 Orioles struggled, I do feel that there are some worthy candidates for the hall. First and foremost I would say that not only is Brian Roberts a good candidate, but he’s probably a shoo-in. Naysayers are going to bring up his injury issues and so forth, but I would throw Roberts’ name out there for his contributions to the franchise more so from (circa) 2003-08 or so. Roberts was consistently one of the only beacons of light in some very dark days in Birdland. Roberts is a two-time All-Star, a career .279 hitter and has a career OBP of .350.
I’d also throw out the name of Melvin Mora for inclusion in the Orioles Hall of Fame. Mora came to the Orioles via trade in 2000 with two minor leaguers (and Mike Kinkade) from the Mets in exchange for Mike Bordick. Mora was used initially as a utility player. However, due to numerous injuries, the Orioles started playing him exclusively at in left field. At one time, the two-time All-Star reached base safely in 32 consecutive games, a stretch that included a 23-game hitting streak. Speaking for myself, I’ll remember Mora more for his glove than anything else. Granted, in 10 seasons at third base, he only recorded a .966 fielding percentage. However, Mora made some Gold Glove-caliber plays at the hot corner over the years, and potentially saved a lot of runs. Speaking for myself, while Mora played for a few different teams in his career, he’s a guy that I’ll always think of as “an Oriole.”
Keep in mind that this is all very subjective. There might be people out there who would throw other names in as well. I think you could probably make a case for Rafael Palmeiro in terms of his numbers and/or what he meant to the team while he was an Oriole. However that’s a slippery slope as we know, so I wouldn’t expect the Orioles to induct Palmeiro anytime soon. (For the record, he’d have my vote.)
Miguel Tejada is another tough one, but I think he at least deserves consideration. Moving to the present day, I’d at least consider voting for Andy MacPhail given the contributions he made to the current Orioles. However, I would suspect that quite a few of the players that we see and love today will find themselves wearing green jackets one day.
A lot of that will be dictated by circumstances, and for how long the players are with the Orioles. Nick Markakis’ contract is up after next season. If he ceases to be an Oriole for whatever reason after then, I’d say he’d be Orioles Hall of Fame material. I don’t see Adam Jones not being elected into the Orioles hall at some point, and the same holds true for Manny Machado and perhaps even Chris Davis. This is of course taking their production and what they mean to the team today and paying it forward into the future. If Matt Wieters chooses to remain an Oriole once his contract is up, there’s no reason why he won’t be an Orioles Hall of Famer as well.
As I said, this is all a very subjective discussion. Furthermore, we don’t know what some of the other names on the current team are capable of or will do one day. So this is all very tough to say right now. However, aside from Roberts, there’s one member of the current team who’s worthy of induction today if his Orioles career were to end: William Nathaniel Showalter.
Domenic Vadala blogs about the Orioles at Birds Watcher, and his opinions appear here as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our pages. 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.