You might say Tim Beckham was an underachieving backup infielder but that all changed the first day he slipped on his Orioles jersey. Beckham, the very first pick in the 2008 draft, received a signing bonus of over $6-million but never lived up to that billing with Tampa Bay, but what he's done since his trade to Baltimore is incredible.
The shortstop is hitting .485 as an Oriole (32 for 66); in just over 2 weeks he's raised his career batting average from .247 to .267. In his first week as an Oriole he was named American League Player of the Week. The Elias Sports Bureau tells us Beckham is the first player in the Modern Era (since 1900) to record 13 hits and three home runs in his first five games with a team.
Tim Beckham is living the dream; he's 1 of only 2 players since 1902 to have 30 hits in his first 15 games with a team, Kenny Lofton is the other. Yesterday I'm pretty sure I heard him screaming "Don't wake me up!" He will wake up from this white-hot run he's not a .485 or .385 hitter nobody is.
Two plus weeks, and 66 at bats, doesn't make a career, but Tim Beckham's amazing start in Baltimore tells us two things; the Rays may have given up on their top pick too soon and the Orioles may have their shortstop of the future.
Beckham's sizzling start with the Birds reminds us of some others in Baltimore who had fire in their bats:
Jim Gentile (1961)—A 9 RBI game against the Twins in Minnesota, the incredible part he had 8 RBI's in the first 2 innings with 2 grand slams. Years later he told me he was out all night and didn't sleep before this afternoon game. Gentile was hung over and considered opting out of this game. Not much of a drinker he made an exception this night and early morning hitting several Twin Cities bars owned by a minor league friend's family.
Boog Powell (1966)—In a doubleheader against Kansas City Boog barbequed the A's driving in a club record 11 runs.
Jim Traber (1986)-- Called up from AAA to fill in for Eddie Murray the local product was on fire. "The Whammer" hit 5 homers and drove in 13 runs between July 20 and July 27 not a bad Murray impersonation.
Jeff Manto (1995) --- In a career with only 31 home runs Manto had his shining moment. He hit 9 HR's in June, 5 in 3 games with back to back 2 home run games. "Mickey" Manto at his best!
Robbie Alomar (1996)—In his first year with the O's the Hall of Fame second baseman came out of the gate swinging with a batting average over .400 in mid-June.
Miguel Tejada (2004)—Miggy came to Baltimore with a bang! He hit .304, had 203 hits, 34 HR's and drove in 150 runs in 162 games.
Brooks, Frank, Eddie, Cal, Palmer, Mussina and Manny have all made Orioles history with signature moments so Tim Beckham is in some special company with his memorable slice of August in 2017.
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