January 13, 2012 Leave a comment
Something many Cubs fans may have taken advantage of is the consistent play and production of Aramis Ramirez ever since he came over from the Pirates along with Kenny Lofton in the 2003 season. Prior to that, it was a long running joke/sad truth that the Cubs did not employ a respectable third baseman since Ron Santo retired. That’s a period from 1974-2003 (don’t be alarmed non-Cubs fans, we’re used to prolonged periods of mediocrity).
Which brings me to my next subject in the “Dusting Off The Old Sports Alamanac” series, Kevin Orie. Orie by no means was supposed to supplant Cubs legend Ron Santo as the next great Cubs third baseman. However, Orie’s rookie season offered Cubs fans a glimmer of hope.
After being selected with the 29th overall pick in the first round of the 1993 MLB draft, Orie took his time reaching the major leagues making his official debut on April 1, 1997. Orie hit a respectable .275 his rookie year with 8 home runs and 44 RBI’s in 114 games played. At the end of the season, Orie received 11 votes as Rookie of the Year but ended up losing out to Scott Rolen, a wise choice in the long run.
Coming into the 1998 season with increased expectations, Orie did nothing but disappoint. Orie’s start to the season was slower than molasses sliding down a frying pan on a hot Georgia Sunday. After hitting .181 in his first 64 games with the Cubs, he was traded to Florida for fellow disappointment Felix Heredia. Just like that, Orie’s reputation as a major league caliber player began to dwindle. He spent the entire 1999 season with the Marlins hitting .254 with 6 homers and 29 RBI’s. After the conclusion of the season Orie was released and surprisingly sustained his presence in professional baseball for the ensuing seven seasons bouncing around minor league clubs of various organizations. Orie hung up the cleats in 2006 after the first game of the year with Houston’s Triple A affiliate Round Rock.
Much like fellow athlete Kerry Kittles, Orie currently finds himself happily employed in the professional world. Kevin Orie is now an associate specializing in retail with real estate management firm Grubb Ellis in Pittsburgh.
Orie will go down most famously as botching Kerry Wood’s chance for a no hitter in his infamous 20 strikeout game against the Astros by letting a Ricky Gutierrez single go off of his glove as the only hit of the game.
Make sure to check back again tomorrow when we have a special guest contribution dusting off the profile of current NBA forward Brian Scalabrine.