Flashback Friday: Jesse Orosco, The Snapdragon, and a Relief Record

Matthew TaylorContributor IJune 26, 2009

8 Mar 1999:  Pitcher Jesse Orosco #47 of the Baltimore Orioles pitching the ball during the Spring Training game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Fort Lauderdale Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The Orioles defeated the Dodgers 10-0.

Thursday was the 10th anniversary of Jesse Orosco's record-setting relief appearance. 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 '95-'99. 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. Although he led American League in 1995 with 65 games played, although it was the fewest appearances Orosco 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 Orioles lost 9-8.

A fan and media favorite, Orosco has a plaque honoring his accomplishment in the Camden Yards. In 2004, he was named to the Os 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 league playerin 2008.