5 of the Most Underappreciated Baltimore Orioles of All Time
Every MLB team has players throughout its history who are adored and loved. Those players are legends in the eyes of fans.
Then, there are players who played for a franchise at one point, and played well, but were never really given the kind of credit they may have deserved.
For the most part, fans do a pretty good job of getting it right when it comes to giving their team's players credit. Sometimes, however, we mess up.
In this slideshow, I'll be taking a look at a few of the most underappreciated Baltimore Orioles players of all time.
Jeff Conine had a very solid career, and he spent the bulk of it with the Florida Marlins. He's the only player to have been on the original Marlins squad while also being on both championship teams in 1997 and 2003.
But when he wasn't with the Marlins, he was mostly with the O's, spending about five seasons with the club. He played both first base and left field during his career, and he had a pretty solid bat that you could slot either in the middle of the order or a little lower to provide thump towards the bottom.
He finished his career with a .285 batting average and .347 OBP while clubbing 214 homers.
Conine was always appreciated by fans, but I feel like he was never given enough credit for being a solid player coupled with his great clubhouse presence and leadership skills.
A switch-hitter, Don Buford put up some fantastic numbers for a few seasons with the Baltimore Orioles as a leadoff hitter.
He played with the team from 1968-1972 alongside greats like Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer and Boog Powell.
What sets Buford apart from other players is that he hit into the fewest double plays per at-bat in MLB history. He hit into just 34 total double plays in his career (4.553 at-bats), which is one every 138 at-bats.
He also is one of two players to leadoff a World Series with a home run, the other player being Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox in 2007. Buford hit his in 1969.
He then became the ace by default, and since he wasn't a true ace, he was looked down upon often for not performing as such every single start.
Don't get me wrong, the people of Baltimore certainly appreciated Guthrie for what he did during his time in an O's uniform. He helped provide a stable slot in the starting rotation for five years. But he wasn't given the credit and understanding that he deserved overall, due to his habit of "pitching well enough to get a loss."
Guthrie didn't light the world on fire, and he is by no means a Hall of Fame pitcher, but he did provide a stability for a franchise with very little of it.
Part of the infamous deal to acquire Glenn Davis, Steve Finley didn't really shine until a few years after he left Baltimore.
Finley became a legitimate center fielder with some pop in his bat and solid on-base skills. He helped lead the Arizona Diamondbacks to a World Series win in 2001.
Most baseball fans know Steve Finley's name. But many of them don't realize that he was a two-time All Star, won five Gold Gloves for his ability in center field and hit 304 home runs over the course of his career while also swiping 320 bags.
Finley may not have been an O for long, but he's still one of the most underrated players to have ever put on an Orioles uniform.
It's not you, Orioles fans, who underrate Nick Markakis. Oh no, it's the rest of the baseball world.
Fans give Markakis praise. They know he's a solid player. But they don't realize just how good he truly is.
He usually hits for the best average on the team. He walks the most. He can hit pretty much anywhere in the order. And he has a cannon for an arm in right field. Honestly, it baffles me how it took the baseball world so long to award him a Gold Glove.
Essentially, Markakis is to the O's squad what Derek Jeter is to the New York Yankees in terms of player ability and importance of having him in the lineup. His power numbers haven't quite lived up to expectations, with that being the main beef against him. However, he does have some pop, and when he does pretty much everything else well in the game of baseball, what more could you ask for?