Baltimore Orioles: Best first basemen in Orioles last three decades
In the 2000s, a handful of men played first base for the Orioles: Jeff Conine, Rafael Palmeiro, and Kevin Millar. While Palmeiro was force in the 1990s, at age 39 and 40, he wasn’t the same player (and there was that little PED issue).
None of the first basemen in the 2000s had WAR numbers that were worthy of notice. But, when comparing the best of the decade, Conine wins. Palmeiro’s two years in 2004 and 2005 were a combined measly 1.1. Millar’s weren’t much better at 2.2 over three years.
Conine, on the other hand, played first base between 1999 and 2003. His WAR for those three seasons was 5.1. No one was outstanding in the 2000s, and it’s easy to see this with Conine’s 2001 season having the best WAR for any first basemen in the decade. He recorded a 2.9 WAR that season.
As a jack-of-all-trades, Conine played between 116 and 139 games per year during his tenure in Baltimore. He joined the team in 1999, after several seasons with the then Florida Marlins and one with the Kansas City Royals. He was traded back to the Marlins at the August deadline in 2003.
During his time with the Orioles, he hit .287/.341/.442. Only his numbers with the Marlins were better. He played primarily first base, but also found his way around the outfield. In 2000, he played a few more games at third than he did at first. Will Clark was at first more frequently, until he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals and finished his career.
Conine was reliable at first base. In 2002 and 2003, his range was above average. He finished his short time with the Orioles with a fielding percentage above .990.