2013 Topps Heritage card #419 is not a terribly flattering shot of Joe Saunders, but it is likely the only Orioles cardboard appearance of the man the 2012 team trusted with their season on the line twice in a single week, leading the Birds to the AL Wild Card and staving off elimination in Game 4 of the American League Division Series. And, much like Miguel Gonzalez’s Topps Heritage card, Joe’s card shows him during an important game - in this case, the photo is from the Wild Card game where Saunders earned his first postseason win, and the Orioles’ first since 1997.
I wrote about Joe on this blog last month, spotlighting the former Virginia Tech standout in this post, but here’s a moment to recognize Saunders’ Topps Oriole debut, and enjoy MLB.com’s newly restocked video archives.
Saunders enters 2013 with a one-year deal with the Seattle Mariners and a career record of 5-0 against the Orioles in seven starts - his best unbeaten mark against any club. On the other hand, his career ERA against the Orioles is 4.73 and both no-decisions were Oriole wins. So, good luck and bad luck, Bazooka Joe - those seven weeks - that last one especially, may not be enough to get you a plaque at Camden someday, but I guarantee you’ll never pay for your own drinks here again.