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Who are the three best defensive outfielders in Orioles history?


It was an interesting day at the bar on Wednesday.

Lots of good discussion about the Orioles’ current defensive outfield situation.

And a few silly comments thrown in there, too. Everyone’s entitled to an opinion, but I am going to have to call a cab for some of you.

For the record, and in case it didn’t get spelled out Wednesday, I am happy for Adam Jones that he won a Gold Glove. I never questioned whether he is deserving; I simply said I was a bit surprised because I think he had a better defensive year in 2008.

And I do believe, at this point in their careers, Nick Markakis is a slightly better defensive outfielder, though Jones has the potential to be better as his career unfolds. Plus Jones plays center field, and that does mean something.

The important thing for beleaguered Orioles fans is that you have both of them for a long time. Enjoy that.

The overall discussion – and some of the rants about the Gold Glove going mostly to center fielders – got me thinking.

If you were to use the current Gold Glove rules – that is, choose three overall outfielders, not necessarily one each from left, right and center – to represent the Orioles’ all-time best defensive outfield, who would be in it?

As much as I don’t like the “three center fielders approach” that the Gold Glove committee uses, it’s true that when I think of the best defensive outfielders in O’s history, I immediately think of center fielders, before I shift to the left and right.

So here’s the task at hand today: If you were to give out Gold Gloves to three Orioles outfielders throughout the years, who would win?

There’s no question Paul Blair is one answer. Even if you never saw him play – and I don’t have clear memories of him in Baltimore – he probably should be on your list. Everything I have ever heard from players and fans is that Blair was the best defensive outfielder to ever wear an Orioles uniform. And he has eight Gold Gloves to prove it.

So he gets my first award. I think I have to give the second to Al Bumbry, who was the guy I watched growing up, and that little guy had serious hops before we ever referred to jumping ability as serious hops. Plus, he had his share of outfield assists.

The third is tricky. Mike Devereaux is probably my ultimate answer, but that leaves Jones (the only other Orioles outfielder with a Gold Glove) off the list. That also would deny Nick Markakis, Brady Anderson, Steve Finley, Frank Robinson and Jackie Brandt, among others, the award.

There is no wrong answer here. Pick three outfielders (yes, it can be all center fielders) to receive the Orioles’ all-time Gold Glove. I’d love to hear the reasoning behind your choices.

Daily Think Special: Who are the three best defensive outfielders in Orioles history?


Comments

PAUL BLAIR
overall - terrific - only Willie Mays was as good

JOHN SHELBY
best trait - tremendous range

NICK MARKAKIS
-top characteristic - great arm

Paul Blair, even though he wears his Yankee World Series Ring, and not his Orioles. I really can't stand that, and it really bothers me, but if we are being honest, he has to be there.

I don't think Markakis and Jones can be considered. This is ALL TIME, and they have not been here long enough.

So that leaves Mike Devereaux. He made a catch I will never forget, stealing a HR. greatest catch I ever saw live. And then Brady Anderson. Just did everything.

Blair without a doubt. No one could touch him. And yes, saw him many times back when the O's were the best team in land.
Bumbry? Not a chance. Very average defensively.
Brady Anderson of course was excellent in center.
Singleton had a very strong arm and made the routine play.
Gary Roenicke was also quite good along with Brother Lo.
And just maybe the Markakis and Jones connection.

Earl Weaver's autibiography said Bumbry had to work his tail off to become a good fielder. He's before my time. Was he really that good?

How about Fred Lynn? Short tenure here, I know.

I'd put Brady Anderson over Devereaux. Tough call, MD was a favorite of mine. Both were so key to that wonderful '89 season where defense was the only true team strength. Anderson did it longer and at two positions. He was such an asset in Camden Yards' spacious left field.

Blair, Lynn, Anderson I'll call it.

---
Barkeep's Reply: Andrew, fine choices. Bumbry seemed very good defensively to me (so fast), but I was just a kid. So maybe he was better in my mind's eye than reality.

1. Paul Blair

2. Brady Anderson

3. Nick Markakis

Paul Blair
Mike Devereaux
Don Buford

1. Paul Blair
2. Mike Devereaux
3. T-Bone Shelby
8,276. Jeff Stone

Paul Blair

Chuck Deering: this one is going way, way back. Deering was a jack rabbit in the outfield. He played a very shallow center, but left with the crack of the bat to chase down the deep stuff. What a jump he got!

Markakis: Just look at the number of assists.

Brady Anderson was great when he was in left field. Devereaux was good in center, but had a horrible arm. Nick is great in right. Just imagine our pitcher's ERA if he didn't have all those assists.


don'tcall a cab on me as the
late charley e used to say...

here are my all time three:

paul blair - played shallow and
ran down every ball...

frank robinson - the orioles
general and field leader, very
underated... made no mental
mistakes and kept everyone
in line....

tie, mike devereux, fred lynn,
brady anderson, nick markasis

all of these were too close
to call and risked their bodies
and climbed the walls back
in memorial stadium except nick....

1) Brady Anderson - sensational outfielder. He could pretty much do anything anytime anywhere.

2) Joe Orsulak - He had an outsanding arm and could gun people down easily.

3) Larry Sheets - Larry was a very underrated outfielder, but I remember a great catch he made against the outfield fence against the Bluejay's George Bell. And that bat.

I was going to say Paul Blair, Paul Blair on a bad day, and Paul Blair on his worst day as the three best O's outfielders, but it wasn't that funny.

Still, #1 Paul Blair - as time goes on he looks even better. You see a guy make a diving catch today, you can bet Paul would have been standing there waiting for it.

#2 - Brady Anderson

#3 John Shelby

If I could pick a fourth, it would be Frank Robinson: good arm, never missed a routine play, and made the occasional super play.

Buford and Bumbry were solid but never really that great in the field. Nick and Adam have great futures, but we're talking all time. Guys like Dewey Evans and Freddy Lynn weren't around long enough to be considered, in my opinion. Then there were guys like Curt "Clank" Blefry...

I will comment on who was not. Brady Anderson. He was an awful CF. He could have been an average LF. His route to the ball was poor. He also consistently turned the wrong direction on balls hit at him. Hew was consistently in the bottom third of CF's.

Good O's OF's include Paul Blair, Mike Devereaux, John Shelby, and Nick Markaksis.

blair markakis, shelby

i was too young too see paul blair in his prime . john shelby ran like a deer had a good arm too , ill give you a guy who was good gary roenicke decent range nice arm also, steve finley , brady anderson in left adam jones in center markakis in right. a better topic would be the worst out fielders in club history, this could spark interresting debates. mine are as follows . larry 3 sheets, larry harlow, jeff stone , these cats couldnt catch the swine flu thats how bad they were. im sure i am missing a few bad ones , if anyone remembers some i couldnt feel free to respond back at me.

Anonymous
Are you serious. Don Buford is the best leadoff man the O's have ever had but he was also one of the worst of's in team history.

Chuck Diering, who won an Oriole MVP in 1054

Paul Blair, who won so many Gold Gloves patroling CFfor the Birds

The third spot is tough---Frank Robinson, Nick Markakis, Mike Devereaux all have a tie with me. Baserunners did not run on these fielders; all three had terrific ams.

1. Paul Blair

2. Paul Blair

3. Paul Blair

I can still remember as a kid having more fun when the Orioles were in the field than when they were at bat. There defense was incredible. The vacuum cleaner at third, the blade at short and one of the most incredible outfielders of all time in center. It seemes as if he was a fifth infielder, but somehow a ball never got over his head. Every time his path to the ball was true and when he git there he always handled it.

Blair,F Robinson,Chuck Deering
Can't see the clamour for Devereaux-great guy,fast as all get out,good stick-BUT_didn't know what cutoff man to hit,a weak arm and lousy base runner despite his speed

Paul Blair
Nick Markakis
Brooks Robinson*

* I know. He played 3b. But I don't care. He is also my left fielder. Maybe Adam Jones in a a few yrs will make the list

I'd rank them as...

1. Paul Blair (along with Andruw Jones and Willie Mays, the best I've ever seen)

2. Mike Devereaux

3. Brady Anderson

Adam Jones and Markakis are certainly great, but I'd like to see them play a little longer before putting them up there.

Al Bumbry did work his tail off to improve from "really bad" to "above average." But with his woefully weak throwing arm, I could never put him in the top grouping.

And for fun...at the bottom, I'd put Larry Sheets. Watching that guy in the outfield was like watching someone run through wet cement.

Paul Blair is the undisputed number one.

We had a lot of guys that could chase down the ball, but the arm strength and accuracy attributes puts Markakis in the top three.

When you consider giving it all you've got and throwing your body to the ground to get the ball, I would put Joe Orsulak and his surprising arm into the mix as well. He was an outfield assist machine as well.

Don't forget Chuck Diering

The sometimes switch-hitting centerfielder Paul Blair (Motormouth), is definately at the top of the list.

John Lowenstein--LF.

Frank Robinson--RF. Once saw him rob the Yanks, twice in one series at New York, of 9th inning game winning HR's, by falling in the stands with unbelievable catches.

Al Bumbry is one of the most underrated players in O's history. He played great defense, was solid offensively throughout his career, and was lightning quick. (I still remember my disappointment when Brady took Bumbry's O's steals title away.) With that in mind, the best O's outfielders in history are:

1. Paul Blair
2. Al Bumbry
3. John Lowenstein (just kidding).
Actual number 3. Nick Markakis

By Position:

LF: Brady Anderson

CF: Paul Blair

RF: Nick Markakis

If I were going to name Don Buford as one of the three best outfielders in Oriole history I'd want to remain anonymous also. Ask Palmer how many outfielders he can name ahead of Buford, just with the ones he played with. Bet it's a dozen or more.

Blair unquestionably is #1. After that it gets dicier. Not Bumbry - he was fast but not much of an arm. Finley didn't stay long enough, but he's the one that set the tone that Brady followed. Devo was good, little weak in the arm. Freddie Lynn doesn't count (in my book) because he wasn't here long enough or for his best days, but he was a good outfielder. I don't really remember Brandt firsthand (just ever so slightly ahead of my time) and my dad's not around to ask anymore, so I have to pass on anyone before Blair.

1. Blair
2. Anderson
3. F. Robinson - not flashy but a solid guy who never hurt you in any phase of the game.

Paul Blair - the best centerfielder
Frank Robinson - the best corner outfielder
Merv Rettenmund - could play all three positions

All three could go get the ball and had strong throwing arms - especially Rettenmund

Blair and Devo. Then I think Jones will be the 3rd when his career is over.

If the criteria is they just had to wear the uniform, you have to put Dwight "Dewey" Evans on the list. He only played one year here but has was a tremendous outfielder with 8 GG's in his career - Fred Lynn only had 4.

Paul Blair
Dwight Evans
Nick Markakis

Anderson, Blair and Robinson (left to right field).

Some names that haven't been mentioned but should be are Eric Byrnes, Luis Matos, and Corey Patterson.

Byrnes, of course, played left (as someone once said) "like his hair was on fire and was arguably the most entertaining Oriole outfielder to watch. No one threw himself (figuratively and literally) into fielding his position more than the Human Crash Test Dummy. The Orioles gave up on him way too soon, as he could have provided them with good, entertaining play over the next couple of years (in 2006 and 2007 he averaged 24 HR and 38 SB for Arizona) and maybe more, as he missed quite a few games with injuries the past two seasons.

As for his fielding, he had speed, an adequate arm and the capacity to make some amazing catches.

Here's a video of a typical Brynes catch ("typical" as looking like he's nearly out of control). I've elected to keep this at Google video because the original site asks you to install a language pack.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=eric+byrens&hl=en&emb=0&aq=f#q=eric+byrnes+catch&hl=en&view=2&emb=0

And another fun Byrnes' moment with Vin Scully calling the action:

http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=eric+byrens&hl=en&emb=0&aq=f#q=eric+byrnes+catch&hl=en&view=2&emb=0

Matos was also a pretty good fielder with a decent arm, who was capable of making some Web Gem-caliber plays from time to time, usually as a result of him outrunning the ball. (No video of Luis available.)

I've saved the best for last.

Patterson to my thinking is the best O's outfielder not to be mentioned by anyone so far. In his two years with the club, Corey combined blazing speed and a rifle arm to rank as perhaps the third-best Orioles center fielder of all-time behind Blair and Jones. (I can't comment on Diering as I'm not old enough to remember him.)

A former five-tool prospect with the Cubs, Patterson averaged 7.5 assists a season in his brief tenure with the O's. What I recall most about his play, however, were some of the sensational catches he made, clearly rivaling Jones in the highlight reel department.

Here's one of those plays against the Red Sox (robbing Manny--a Steve Trachsel moment--LOL).

http://vlog.xuite.net/_pub/play.php?media_id=RkFWdmtKLTU5MTk4MS5mbHY=


http://vlog.xuite.net/_pub/play.php?media_id=RkFWdmtKLTU5MTk4MS5mbHY=

And here's a video of a MASN commericial from back then, which shows some nice catches, but unfortunately none of the jaw-drop variety. (This was mistitled, by the way, as it should read "You Just Got Robbed!")

http://www.strimoo.com/video/14426436/Get-Ready-Catchers-Veoh.html

--
Barkeep's Reply: Ken, I am on board with you on Corey. And Byrnes was fun to watch. But as someone who saw a whole lot of Luis Matos -- a great guy, btw -- no comment.

no votes for willie tasby?

I think some names mentioned are not to be considered because of their lack of tenure as an Oriole. Fred Lynn was outstanding in his 3½ years as an Oriole but not quite his gold glove self of the late '70s. Same thing only more for Dwight Evans.

I'm glad someone mentioned Joe Orsulak. He may have been most underrated.

Chuck Diering? Sorry, I don't remember him. He played only three years for the O's and never won a gold glove for anybody during a time there were only 16 total MLB teams.

The best Oriole outfield defensively was Anderson, Devereaux, Finley followed closely by Bradley, Devereaux, Anderson. Individually, Bradley and Finley didn't play here long enough.

Lowenstein/Roenicke played a powerful lefty-righty platoon, and both played an intelligent OF (mostly LF). Some of the current players certainly could use some of that intelligence.

Talking about intelligence, put Frank Robinson and Ken Singleton on that list, too. Frank doesn't make my list as he had enough shoulder problems in his latter years to negate everything else he brought to the table defensively.

Unlike the actual gold glove awards which tend to gravitate towards CFers, I will do my list by position.

LF - Brady Anderson
CF - Paul Blair
RF - Nick Markakis

The odd dimensions of Camden Yards exaggerate how good a RFer and a LFer is, or how bad -- especially when comparing to Memorial Stadium where the OFers tended to cluster more towards the center to cut off the alleys.

Blair, Robinson, Surhoff

BEST:

Paul Blair, Brady Anderson, Jim Busby.
Honorable Mention: Merv Rettenmund


WORST:

Benny Ayala, Jeff Stone, Andres Mora.

Honorable Mention: Jay Gibbons

At the crack of the bat, Chuck Diering would turn and race, with his back to home plate, to a spot in the outfield and turn, look up and catch the ball. I've never seen any outfielder like him! I would put him right up there with Paul Blair and Brady Anderson!

In 1955, prior to the wire outfield fence, there was shrubbery in the outfield, 450 feet from home plate. Mickey Mantle hit a tremendous drive to left center field. Chuck ran into the bushes to make the catch. As Mantle was just rounding second, he then trotted into the Yankee dugout.

Blair by a wide margin is the best OF in Oriole History. You could list the other 2-9 for a top 10 and nobody would agree in what order they are.

I want to give T-Bone into the top 3, but he only had 3 years, where he played 125 games or more.

I love Nick here now. But, he needs some more time with the team, before I can add him to the top 10.

2. Lowenstein/Roenicke Platoon
3. Devereaux was amazing to watch.

Honable Mention is Frank Robinson, I wish I had seen him actually play. If I had, I probably would have ranked him higher

My vote goes to Paul Blair as good a center fielder these eyes have ever seen. Fielding wise he was as good as Willie Mays and if he had not endured that beaning he may have been a 300 hitter. The other two spots go to Jackie Brandt and outstanding centerfielder in his own right and John T Bone Shelby would complete the trio

Just about everyone can go with Blair. Deveraux was excellent too. Brady Anderson was exceptional in LF, as a CF'er only average. I know some mentioned Chuck Diering, a GOOD OF by anyone's standard, but what about Russ Snyder and Jim Busby? I know you have to be old to remember them, but Russ was great and was here in 1966 and Busby had CF before Jackie Brandt came to town. I remember a Sports Illistrated article in 1963, saying if Boog and Al Smith were in the OF Flacky was in for a hard time, but if Russ Snyder and Sam Bowens were out there it would be a VERY good fielding OF.

OK, so it has to be:

1. Jay Gibbons - he could make the most boring, routine play into an exciting adventure.
2. Joe Carter - this guy left it all on the field. Too bad the field was in Toronto years before he came to Baltimore.

3.Geronimo Berroa- who cares if he can't catch. At least he could jack one out of the park whenever the pitcher decided to lob up a belt high fastball.

Al Bumbry????????? You're kidding!!! Bumbry was very average defensively, if that. And he had the weakest throwing arm of anyone to ever play for the Orioles. Even Don Baylor threw better than him, and Baylor is the punch line for most jokes about outfielders with weak arms. Bumbry needed a cutoff man to get it to the cutoff man. You need to polish off your childhood memories. The best O's OF was Paul Blair. Second and third? Who cares? Whoever is second and third is so far in the rear-view mirror, they may be in the next zip code.

Blair, Shelby, and FRobby (even though he wasn't fast, Frank was the most intense player ever and made the occasional Rob Swoboda type plays)

Honorable mention to:
Brady, Devo, Nick, and Luis Matos

best play stealing a hr ever:
Gary Matthews jr.

Freddie Bynum looked pretty good in CF from what I recall...

easywriter01 - I'm sorry that you didn't have the opportunity to live through the 1970s and see Al Bumbry play. He made some of the most incredible catches in the history of the organization. He is definitely number two on this list.

I saw Blair play and he was incredible. No doubt #1 choice. I didn't know he wears his Yankees ring not the Orioles one. That bothers me too. Why wouldn't he wear the ring from when he was a starter and made a significant impact on the outcome. he was a sub for the Yankees in the series.

Even though Fred Lynn was only here awhile, he made the most acrobatic catches of all and was willing to risk body and soul to run to the fence. Couple that with his penchant for clutch HRs make him one of my all-time most exciting Oriole players.

Third would be John Shelby...great arm. Speaking of arms, while I love AL Bumbry's spirit and effort, I wouldn't put him in the top 3 because his arm wasn't that good, at least at the end of his career.

I'm old enough to remember Jackie Brandt too and always liked his D.

1. Pete Incaviglia
2. Joey "Albet" Belle
3. (Tie) Luis Matos, Jay Payton, Tony Tarasco

Hands down the worst, I mean best, EVER.

1. Paul Blair
2. Joe Orsulak
3. John Shelby

Just wanted to say how great it is to see so much appreciation of Paul Blair. He never seems to get mentioned on TV anymore, but he really was that good. Somewhere in the archives there's film of him doing his thing and it truly is amazing.

I'd have to go with Chuck Diering, Blair and Bumbry or Jones.

Jay Gibbons
Jack Cust
Marty Cordova

1. Paul Blair
2. Nick Markakis
3. Frank Robinson
4. Brady Anderson
5. Mike Devereaux

Frank Robinson had the greatest baseball instincts of them all and that is the reason I selected him over Brady or Devereaux.

I will have to go with Paul Blair as the best although I never saw him play -- I will trust everyone else on that assessment.

Mike Devereaux is the next name that comes to mind right away. He is a solid second for me.

Third is a bit tougher...

Markakis has a great arm and plays the position well, but I don't see the spectacular plays that would make me say his one of the best of all time. He plays a terrific RF and deserves a Gold Glove compared to any other RF in the game, but best OF...does not quite make it...yet.

Really puts it between Anderson and Singleton in my mind...almost a toss up, but because Anderson played both LF and CF well, I am going to go with Anderson.

In some respects everyone who posted is correct with what their version of a great defensive outfielder is.

Do you prefer an outfielder who makes many spectacular plays but also botches a routine fly ball every now and then and sometimes loafs? A few of them are mentioned above.

Do you prefer the outfielder with a cannon who gets a lot of assists but doesn't get to a lot of balls due to a lack of great speed?

A few of them are noted above.


Do you prefer the outfielder who makes every routine play, whose arm is accurate but not overpowering and who never lets a ball get though them? One who always hits the cutoff man?

A few of them are mentioned above.

One thing for sure. Paul Blair is the only absolute in the bunch.


Top O's Outfielder-JAY GIBBONS PEOPLE!
The Readheaded Caveman yeah!

To all of you Chuck Diering fans, good for you. They used to say that when Chuck ran through the outfield he didn't bend the grass, he was so fleet a foot.

Paul Blair

Chuck Diering

Nick Markakis

Paul Blair
Nick Markakis
Frank Robinson
Adam Jones
Chuck Diering
Jackie Brandt
Brady Anderson
Steve Finley
Russ Snyder
Mike Devereaux
Willie Tasby
Al Bumbry
Joe Orsulak

I got the great pleasure of meeting Paul Blair in the warehouse one night. There were 15 people and he was fielding some questions (no pun intended). I raised my hand and said "Im curious which of your World Series rings your wearing." He said, "Im wearing one of my Yankee rings." I purposely sunk my head in disapproval.

1 minute later I raised my hand again and he called on me, I said, "I promise I will drop it after this question but... do you wear your Yankee ring because you don't mind it getting scratched, lost, or stolen??" All in a kidding mannor so he would know i was respectfully busting his chops for not wearing his O's ring.

He said to me, "Look, I know I know... I enjoyed my time as a Yankee very much, but I always have, and always will be an Oriole, dont worry."

That made me feel much better about the whole ring issue.

Paul Blair was a great D ball player, but with all his speed he could not steal bases, and it was the O's who made him, let him stink with the yanks.c

Clearly Blair was an all-time great. He basically won the the GG every year he was eligible and without the big bat to sway 'voters' (see K Griffey Jr)

Paul Blair--it didnt seem like he was running when he tracked a ball--he was gliding--made everything look easy--and at the end of every inning, returning to the dugout, he'd skip over a little 18" x 24" patch on the cinder track at Memorial Stadium...

Bumbry could run down just about anything--unfortunately he didnt have much of an arm...

Markakis has the best instincts and just as much talent as any right fielder in baseball--he will be an all-time great. Awesome footwork and gets rid of the ball so quickly..

John Shelby possibly possessed the most complete toolbox of all our outfielders--ran like a deer, great glove and that arm---ask Rob Ducey---what a throw to single handedly keep the O's in the hunt during the stretch of 1982...

Brady Anderson--possibly the dumbest outfielder I ever saw--missed the cutoff man threw to the wrong base--talented but toopid! He could'nt make the top 6 on the depth chart..

Adam Jones is going to be great..

Frank Robinson was a LOT better than people think...there was more focus on his leadership and batting

Orsulak ,Finley, Surhoff(one of the most efficient we had--what an all-time O..) Devereaux(only a weak arm keeps him out of my 3...)

So I guess it would be
Blair
Shelby
..and probably Orsulak-- if he got to it he caught it, and had great footwork and release on his throw...very underrated in this poll

never saw Deering, only Brandt a few times...

As far as the other end goes;
Andres Mora,
Carlos Lopez
Reggie
Larry Sheets
Jim Fuller


Paul Blair - The best defensive center fielder ever and that includes Willie Mays.

Nick Markakis - Great arm and incredible instincts

Frank Robinson - Knew the hitters and the game situation and positioned perfectly.

Props to Mike Devereaux and Steve Finley.
And for those who loved Chuck Diering, then let's not forget Jim Busby and Al Pilarcik.

Paul Blair
Mike Devereaux
Fred Lynn

Al Bumbry may have had the weakest throwing arm in Os history. Played with some heart, but was never on the same plane as the elite CFs.

Mr. Joe Bennet is absolutely correct in his comment. Blair is the best outfielder maybe anywhere, ever. He played so shallow and went back better than anyone. Saw Mays play, but he didn't play as shallow.
Are there any archive film of those years with Brooks and Blair? I've searched everywhere.

How about BJ?

Steve Finley!!!

Even though he was always hurt from throwing his body into the wall or extending for a catch. Not to mention, he was traded away...for the worst trade in O's history.

Blair
Bumbry
Orsulak

Fans have forgotten alot of players. Fred Lynn, Dwight Evans

Paul Blair
John Shelby
Fred Lynn

Paul Blair based on natural talent and Frank Robby based upon instinct and guts.

But everyone knows that already, so for #3, I would respectfully like to put a fellow out there named Larry Harlow.

Harlow was mainly a CF who played the whole outfield at times and was spectacular. It was about all he could do. He played with the Orioles for the second half of the 1970s, after which he spent one year with the Angels, and finished up with a year in Japan.

He couldn't hit much at all, batting around .245 or so lifetime, pushing his maxout of pretty much zero HRs to accompany his pretty much zero RBIs.

But he could catch. Boy, could he ever. I remember a nothing game in a hot humid summer day in Detroit when Larry jumped the height of the fence and scooped the bottom of the outside of the fence, snatching a dinger from a Tiger catcher with the wonderful name of John Wockenfuss. Might be the greatest single Oriole OF catch I have ever seen. Chuck Thompson, doing the game for Channel-13 on TV, went wild.

Larry's only other major contribution was in a blowout game in, I believe, 1976, when Earl was not in the mood to use up more legit pitchers during a 19-6 or so losing effort in only the fourth inning. Larry pitched 0.2 IP with two hits, four walks, one wild pitch and one strikeout. He allowed five earned runs.

His lifetime pitching stats therefore wound up with an ERA of around 67.5 and a WHIP of about 121. Or maybe it was the other way around or perhaps I calculated it incorrectly altogether. (Baseball math geeks, where are you when I need you?)

Well regardless, those two-thirds of an inning tended to minimize his fantasy relief pitching to a point worth about as much as his hitting.

Still, the guy could field his butt off, and do it in fine fashion, and for one brief moment on a hot, late afternoon sun in a humid, dusty, moment in Tiger Stadium in Detroit, he was the best there was.....

I'll share a story about Paul Blair. I live in Michigan, but always an O's fan. At the end of the last season for old Tigers Stadium in Detroit, I was given a private tour of the place on a Saturday morning about a week before closure. My guide was the head of maintainence. Walking in dead center field, I noticed a gouge in the liner of the wall at the 400+ foot sign...took a photo of it. My guide tells me that Paul Blair robbed a home run from the Tigers by climbing that wall. They kept it there to memorialize that catch (at least it was a good story!).
Now the stadium is gone for good.

Glad to see Chuck Diering get some mention. Tremendous outfielder, but here only a short time. Bumbry? No arm. I'd go with Diering, Blair and Frank Robinson, but I have no argument with the selection of Lynn, either.

1.) Paul Blair (no one close)
2.) Nick Markakis
3.) Frank Robinson

1.)Paul Blair
2.)Al Bumbry
3.)Frank Robinson

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