Joe Orsulak

Orsulak is Polish for "mock turtleneck."

Why we like him: If, for some reason, you're looking to complete your outfield platoon and you're only using players from the 80s and early 90s, Joseph Michael Orsulak is your guy.  Everything the guy did on the diamond, whether it was legging out a triple or taking the donut off the bat in the on-deck circle, looked difficult because he did it with so much hustle.  He even admittedly likes watching minor leaguers more than the majors just because of the passion and love for the game.

Orsulak's 14-year career was both underwhelming and under-appreciated.  He was a career .273 hitter who managed a total of 57 homers and 405 RBI.  Despite some decent seasons, he was never close to making an All Star squad, but he did finish 6th in Rookie of the Year voting in 1985.  He was the kind of guy you wanted in the dugout and the clubhouse.  He was willing to do whatever it took to put his team in the best situation to win, which is really all you can ask of him.  Whether it was starting in left field, pinch hitting, pinch running, or just finishing up on defense in a blowout, "Joe O" was there to do whatever needed to be done.

Joe Orsulak is especially highly revered in Oriole lore, as he was the first player to make a putout in the then-new Camden Yards on Opening Day in 1992, catching a fly ball off the bat of Kenny Loafin' Lofton.  Also, fittingly, he was the first player to emerge from the dugout that day, sprinting to his position in right field like any real ballplayer would.  I'm willing to bet he was already dirty too.  If you're wondering, Orsulak was 0-for-3 on April 6, 1992, but I'm fairly certain every out was productive.  His O's and Rick Sutcliffe beat the Indians and Charles Nagy 2-0.

A player like Joe Orsulak probably wouldn't have a chance in the league today.  He's too much of a man.  He'd be replaced by some heartless bench-warmer with the potential to hit 20 homers.  Players don't show pride in the smallest things anymore, but when you see it, you know it, and you love it.  Next time you see a guy jog out a grounder to second or walk the last 40 feet to his position, think about Joe Orsulak, a man of pride and a rarely-seen love for the game.

Ladies and gentlemen, Joe Orsulak, Ballplayer.

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