Those are just some of the words that Nick Markakis’ teammates have used to describe a man who has never been to an All-Star game despite being one of the most important ball players to ever wear an Orioles uniform.
He’s seen the likes of Ty Wiggington and George Sherrill take his well-deserved All-Star spot. He’s watched his friend and fellow outfield teammate Adam Jones play four times in the Mid-Summer Classic. Manny Machado made the team as a rookie. None of this fazes the quiet, yet reliable Markakis as he continues to be one of the most consistent players in Baltimore history.
O’s players to Make All-Star team since Markakis Joined the League:
|Miguel Tejada (2006)|
|George Sherrill (2008)|
|Adam Jones (2009, 12, 13, 14)|
|Ty Wiggington (2010)|
|Matt Wieters (2011, 12, 14)|
|Jim Johnson (2012)|
|J.J. Hardy (2013)|
|Manny Machado (2013)|
|Nelson Cruz (2014)|
He is not your ideal leadoff hitter. He’s a singles machine that lacks speed coveted by a traditional table setter. He has just four stolen bases on six attempts. He ideally would be a team’s No. 2 hitter.
However, Nick has especially done well in setting the table in the first inning, batting .333. Markakis has also performed well in extra innings, batting 8-for-13. He hits lefties (.288) and righties (.285) at nearly the same average. His defense is one of the best in history, evidenced by a streak of 283 consecutive games without an error in the outfield, a franchise record.
Markakis is first in the league in plate appearances with 505. He ranks fifth in hits with 131, and his .286 batting average and .349 on-base percentage are in the Top 20. With 73 more hits, he will catch Boog Powell, the former American League Most Valuable Player and four-time All-Star, for fifth on the Orioles’ all-time list and only Brady Anderson (1,589) has more hits as an Orioles outfielder.
“I hope everybody understands what we’re watching here,” Showalter told the Baltimore Sun. “We talk about some of those guys through the years that were solid Orioles, you’ve got to mention his name, hopefully for many years.”
On the day that he collected his 1,500th career hit, Markakis finished a triple short of the cycle and carried an Orioles offense that owns the worst batting average and on-base percentage in the American League since the All-Star break.
Despite the inefficiency from the offense, the win was the ninth in 13 games for the AL East-leading Orioles, who won the season series from Seattle, 5-2. Baltimore is 10-6 since the All-Star break, and currently holds a 3.5 game lead over Toronto in the AL East.
With the O’s offense continuing to struggle, they needed another strong effort from their improving pitching staff. During that same stretch, Baltimore’s ERA (2.78) and opponents’ batting average are the third best in the league. Eight of the last nine games have been decided by one run and all of their last six wins have come by that same margin.
The leadoff home run by Markakis was the first time in the club history that the Orioles won a game when the lone run came on a leadoff homer.
“That’s what we’re out here to do,” Markakis said told reporters after the game yesterday. “We’re out here to win ballgames, no matter if it’s by one run like today or if it’s by 10 runs.”
Prior to this season, many wondered whether the Monkton resident was worthy of his current contract following a disappointing 2013 campaign. It was a forgone conclusion that this would be his last season in orange and black. Now, it’s hard to imagine the Orioles not keeping such a valuable member of the team moving forward. The Baltimore brass has a club option for him to be retained by the Orioles for $17.5 million in 2015.
Sign the man.Embed from Getty Images