Thursday was the 10th anniversary of Jesse Orosco setting the major-league record for relief appearances. This week’s Flashback Friday revisits that game and Orosco’s tenure in Orange and Black, which had Baltimore fans talking about the pitcher’s “snapdragon” curveball.
Orosco spent five of his 24 MLB seasons with the Orioles, pitching for the Birds from 1995 through 1999. During his time in Baltimore the left-handed specialist pitched 336 games, compiling a 15-11 record with a 3.35 ERA, 241 strikeouts, and 133 walks. He led the American League in games in 1995 with 65, although it was the fewest appearances he would make during any one season in Baltimore. Orosco was a key part of the O’s 1997 Wire-to-Wire run in the AL East as he tallied a 2.32 ERA in 71 games.
On the night he broke the relief appearances record Orosco pitched 1/3 of an inning against the Yankees. He surrendered an RBI single to Tino Martinez that was charged to Scott Kamienicki, induced a Paul O’Neill groundout, and intentionally walked Chili Davis in a game the O’s lost 9-8.
A fan and media favorite, Orosco has a plaque honoring his accomplishment in the home bullpen at Camden Yards. In 2004, he was named to the O’s list of 50 All-Time Favorite Players. These days Orosco follows the career of his son, Jesse Orosco Jr., who debuted as a rookie minor leaguer in 2008.
Image: NumerOlogy (click photo for original)