BALTIMORE –Melvin Mora had the highest single-season average in Orioles history. He hit .340 in 2004 for a team that lost 88 games, and that’s the best Orioles team he played on.
On Friday night, Mora, who played with the Orioles from 2001-09, was inducted in the team’s Hall of Fame.
“I don’t like to think about the past a lot, but those years helped me make a lot of friends like Cal [Ripken] and [Miguel] Tejada and Javy Lopez. To be able to play with those guys was great, a great time then,” Mora said on Friday morning.
Sadly for Mora, he never played on a team that won.
“To see these Orioles right now, and to not be able to be a part of this I feel jealous to be honest with you. This is what I play for: to win. I play to be in October. And that’s why I played hard from the beginning [every year] to see what we can do,” Mora said. “Now I see a different Oriole and I have to give a lot of credit to the manager, to pull all of this together. They don't have a big, big names but they play baseball the way it’s supposed to be played.”
Mora, whose wife gave birth to quintuplets in 2001, had his children, who are now 14 and getting ready for high school in Harford County, Md. has made this area his home.
“I think one of the big memories is my kids. They were born here in Baltimore. A big memory I have is the whole hospital, the front office, the people in the tunnel they all helped me to make my life easier to play baseball,” Mora said. “That’s the one thing that comes to my mind every time. Because you are talking about a baseball game but without the front office and people helping take care of my family they made my life and my career better and better.”
Gary Roenicke, who played eight seasons from 1978-85, was part of a celebrated pair of outfielders with John Lowenstein. While not always a platoon, there’s an incorrect perception that Roenicke is eager to refute that they never played together.
Roenicke played for the last Orioles team to win a World Series in 1983.
“It means to me how hard it is to win a World Series. They’ve had some great teams and now they are starting to get back and play really well again and have god players, good manager and GM. The whole works here, kind of like when I played,” Roenicke said.
Roenicke was a right-handed hitter and Lowenstein left-handed. Both were also inducted, but Lowenstein was not in attendance. Nor was longtime scout Fred Uhlman, Sr., who is also a new member of the Hall of Fame.
A longtime scout for the Orioles, Roenicke’s recommendations were instrumental in the trades that brought Adam Jones and Chris Davis to Baltimore. At 61, he’s out of baseball and eager to return.
“I don’t know what’s going there, but I keep trying and hopefully someday, they’ll let me come and work for Baltimore,” Roenicke said.