Tuesday, July 2, 2013

#28 Joe Orsulak

About the Front: Joe O! This picture captures the essence of Joe Orsulak, an unglamorous blue-collar type of guy from Jersey. You could easily imagine his batting helmet as a hard hat that he's pulling off as he takes a breather on the construction site. This was Joe's last card as an Oriole; he signed with the Mets in December of 1992.

About the Back: Sadly, Joe's wife Adrianna would be diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in 1994. She passed away in 2004 at age 39.

Triple Play: 

1. Orsulak was a three-sport athlete at Parsippany Hills High School in New Jersey. In addition to baseball, he played basketball and was an all-state soccer goalie.

2. Two notable plays in Joe's career involved outfield catches. He recorded the first putout in the history of Oriole Park at Camden Yards when he snagged a short fly ball off the bat of Kenny Lofton. A few years earlier, he had been on the short end of Bo Jackson's famous wall-scaling robbery at Memorial Stadium.

3. 'Slack still lives in the Baltimore area. He spent some time as an assistant coach for Loyola Blakefield High School's baseball team as a favor to head coach (and fellow ex-Oriole) Tim Nordbrook. Currently, Joe talks up the O's on 105.7 FM's Baltimore Baseball Tonight pregame radio show.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: This was not a card that made a strong impression on me as a kid. Joe's facial contortions made it look like he was in pain, so I probably assumed that he had just struck out.

Bill James Said: "He has stolen five or six bases in each of the last five years, with batting averages staying in a 20-point circle (.269 to .289)." Even with figures in the .220s in his last two seasons (1996-1997), Orsulak batted .273 for his career.

On This Date in 1993: July 2. Fred Gwynne, a.k.a. Herman Munster, passed away at age 66 from pancreatic cancer.

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