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Scott Garceau: Top Oriole's Great Opening Acts

Too bad Chris Parmelee's opt-out wasn't May 15 instead of June 15, the Orioles could have used another month of this. Good performance at AAA Norfolk had something to do with Parmalee showing up at Camden Yards this week but his arrival was also driven by that June 15 opt-out date in his contract, if he wasn't part of the Baltimore roster by then he could be a free agent and take his game elsewhere.

The Orioles didn't want to lose the former Minnesota Twin so there he was Tuesday night at Camden Yards listed in Buck Showalter's lineup playing right field. As debuts go I think the critics would call this one a smashing success.

In his first game as an Orioles Chris Parmelee had 4 base hits and 2 of them left the building. The 4 hits tied his major league high and the 2 home runs also tied his MLB best. Think about it this way, Chris Parmelee has played 275 games in the big leagues and his best came in his first game with the Orioles.

Let's make that 5 for 7 because in the first inning of his second game as an Oriole he launched his third homer this time in Philadelphia, so in his first 7 at bats as an Oriole that's 5 hits and 3 home runs, here are the keys to the city Mr. Parmelee.

What we have here is a .252 career hitter batting .556 after two games, a man who has never hit more than 8 home runs in a season has 3 in his first 7 at bats, it's hardly sustainable but it'll go down as a remember when moment when O's fans look back on the 2015 season.

It's not the first time this year that a debut has sparked the Orioles, in mid- May the Orioles were 4 games under .500 for the first time since 2011 that's when Mike Wright came to the rescue. Chris Tillman was unable to make his start due to a stiff back, no problem. Wright's MLB debut was a dandy he threw shutout ball into the 8th inning as the Orioles blanked the Angels 3-0.

There's no time like the first time, here are some other Orioles debuts burned into the memory bank.

  • The 1983 Orioles had a hole at third base and purchased Todd Cruz from the Mariners in late June. The book on Cruz was good glove, weak bat. He made his debut with the Orioles in Detroit and the "weak bat" didn't look so weak that game.  Cruz hit a homer run and drove in 6 runs as the Orioles beat the Tigers 9-5. Cruz's defense was key for the rest of the '83 season and he was at 3rd base when the Orioles beat the Phillies in game 5 to win their last World Series. He played with the Orioles in 1984 but it was his last year in the big leagues.
  • Earl Weaver was in trouble in 1986 when Eddie Murray went out with a severe hamstring pull early in July. The Orioles trailed the Red Sox by 10 games when they brought up Jim Traber, a former Oklahoma State quarterback. This wasn't quite a debut Traber had 21 at bats late in '84 but it was a coming out party. The "Whammer" went wild and ignited the Orioles. The Orioles went 8-3 after his arrival and he was key in most of the wins. A grand slam gave him five home runs in just 29 at-bats with 13 runs batted in. Traber was the American League Player of the Week and the Orioles were back in the pennant race.

The Orioles weren't expecting much when they called up the rookie from Wilde Lake High School in Columbia but Jim Traber delivered. That was then Chris Parmalee is now.

There may not be a place in Cooperstown for this bunch but there will always be a place in the hearts of Baltimore fans for these O's who made a stunning first impression.

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