The Baltimore Orioles do not have a draft pick until the third round of this year’s MLB Draft. Many people think because the Orioles do not have a pick in the first or second round, they do not have a good chance in drafting top-quality talent. However, in 1973, the Orioles drafted a first baseman out of the California State University, Los Angeles; and he proved to be a “not so bad” pick for Baltimore in the proceeding years.
This first baseman’s name was Eddie Murray. In the 1973 MLB Draft, 62 players were selected before it was the Orioles turn to draft in the third round. In the two previous rounds, the Orioles drafted Mike Parrott (first round) and Jerry Guinn (second round).
Parrott ended up playing five years in the Majors with a career 4.87 ERA. He made his Major League debut in 1977 with the Baltimore Orioles. He only pitched in three games wearing a Baltimore uniform however. On December 7, 1977, he was traded away to the Mariners where he held a 19-39 record in four years before he played his last Major League game at the age of 26 in 1981.
Guinn never made it to the Major League level. He pitched two years for the Bluefield Orioles where he posted a 6.40 ERA in 104.0 innings pitched before giving up on his baseball dreams.
However, the Orioles’ third round draft choice turned out to be a “Hall of Fame-caliber” pick.
Murray made his debut with the Orioles in 1977. That year he hit 27 home runs, drove in 88 RBI’s, and maintained a .283 batting average; all of which helped him win the American League Rookie of the Year Award that year.
In the following years of his career, he proved to everyone that his first year in the Majors was not a fluke.
Murray was one of the first switch hitters in the game of baseball who could hit and who could hit with power. And on September 6th, 1996, this statement was proven as fact when Murray crushed his 500th career home run in front of the home crowd at Camden Yards. This home run not only tied the game up at 3, but it also put Murray into a very elite group of ball players who could say they hit 500 home runs in their Major League career.
Murray became a World Champion when he helped the Orioles win their third World Series title in 1983.
In 13 years of playing in a Baltimore uniform, Murray was named to the American League All Star Team seven times. He won the Gold Glove Award three times and the Silver Slugger Award twice.
When Murray’s playing career in Baltimore came to an end, he finished with 2,080 hits (Orioles 3rd all-time), 1,084 runs (Orioles 3rd all-time), 343 home runs (Orioles 2nd all-time), and 1,224 RBI’s (Orioles 3rd all-time).
These numbers along with the numbers he acquired playing with the Dodgers, Mets, Indians, and Angels helped him reach his rightful spot in Cooperstown, New York as a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.
That being said everyone should get excited when it is the Orioles turn to draft tomorrow in the third round because there may be another future Hall of Famer out there when the 90th overall pick rolls around.