Monday, November 11, 2013

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #80 MICKEY TETTLETON


THE LONG BALL FIT TETTLETON TO A T.




A PASSING RESEMBLANCE TO THE MICK.


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Switch-hitting catcher Mickey Tettleton and Orioles threw baseball for a loop in 1989. After never hitting more than 11 home runs nor playing regularly, Tettleton broke out with 26 in a surge fueled superstitiously by eating Fruit Loops every day beginning in spring training. He helped lead the Why Not Orioles to a second-place finish a year after losing 107 games, including the first 21. After establishing himself as one of the better hitting catchers in the game during his three years in Baltimore, Tettleton went on to play a total of 14 years and hit 245 homers.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • In what would turn out to be his last at-bat with the Orioles, Tettleton came to the plate on Oct. 3, 1990, in the bottom of the ninth with the score 2-2. Facing Blue Jays closer #164 Tom Henke, Tettleton crushed a 2-2 pitch deep into the right-field seats for a game-winning homer. The victory concluded a disappointing season for the Birds, who went from 87 to 76 victories. Tettleton would be traded in January to the Tigers for pitcher Jeff Robinson in a deal that will go down as one of the worst in Orioles' history.

DEFINING SEASON

  • In '93 with the Tigers, Tettleton drove in a career-high 110 runs and tied a career-high in homers with 32. He also walked 109 times, the fourth consecutive year of 100-plus.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Named after Mickey Mantle, another celebrated baseball player from Oklahoma.
  2. Holds the major-league record for strikeouts in a season by a switch-hitter with 160 in '90.
  3. Despite never hitting higher than .263 in a full season, Tettleton had a good eye, walking 90 or more times in seven seasons.
  4. Fans in Baltimore during the magical '89 season began bringing boxes of Fruit Loops to Memorial Stadium and throwing that crunchy swill like confetti when Tettleton would homer.
  5. Became the fifth player to hit two homers over the right-field roof at Tiger Stadium and the first to hit a ball onto Eutaw Street beyond the right-field fence at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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