Orioles

Quick Links

Jeffrey Maier opens up about life after robbing the Orioles in 1996 ALCS

Jeffrey Maier opens up about life after robbing the Orioles in 1996 ALCS

Do you feel old yet? Baltimore's most hated 12-year-old, Jeffrey Maier, is now 36 with three kids and lives in the New England area. 

Maier etched his name in baseball lore when he notoriously reached over the right-field wall at Yankee Stadium and snatched Derek Jeter's fly ball from the playing field and into the stands, resulting in a historically controversial home run in the 1996 American League Championship Series. 

It didn't matter that the replay clearly showed evidence of fan interference or that umpire Rich Garcia admitted after the fact that Jeter should have been called out. There was no replay review back then. The umpire called it a home run, so the initial call stood.

His actions helped the Yankees tie Game 1 of that infamous series against the Orioles, and eventually, win the game in 11 innings. New York would go on to win the series in five games and beat the Braves in the World Series. 

Maier joined WFAN's Sweeny Murti to talk about the play and the two types of reactions he dealt with in the aftermath. 

First, there's the obvious backlash that comes with robbing a team and an entire fan base of an important game. Maier said he understands Orioles fans' feelings on the subject, but that didn't stop the hate mail and unpleasant calls from pouring in. 

The vitriol continued into his baseball career at Wesleyan, where Maier would routinely get thrown at whether he was in the batter's box or out in the field. 

"It stuck with me throughout my baseball career," Maier said. "I've been hit several times when I played competitively, certainly with intent. Things were certainly thrown at me at one point in my freshman year at Wesleyan."

For the most part though, people haven't made Maier suffer for something he did as a pre-teen. But then there's the other side of this. The side where he was lauded as a Yankee hero, was given free tickets to games and showered with fan mail from fellow fans across the country. 

Maier even got to meet and spend time with Jeter ahead of sring training the following season. 

"[Jeter] signed a ball for me that said, 'To Jeff, thanks a lot. - Derek Jeter,'" he said. "And he signed a glove that Mizuno had sent me, because Mizuno had gotten a lot of attention because the glove I used [during Game 1] was a Mizuno glove. He signed that and that still sits and resides in our basement as well as a picture I have with him."

For some, like Tony Tarasco, the Orioles' right fielder during the incident, they've been able to put the event behind them in a way. Maier detailed how he met Tarasco years later and how positive the interaction was. 

But for others, this is one of, if not the darkest moment in Orioles history and every detail still stings. There was nothing the Orioles could really do. A 12-year-old cost them the game, and it was against the Yankees to put a cherry on top of it all. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE ORIOLES NEWS:

Quick Links

One year ago today, Adley Rutschman became the face of the Orioles' rebuild

One year ago today, Adley Rutschman became the face of the Orioles' rebuild

The Orioles officially got a face of the rebuild one year ago today. 

Adley Rutschman, the former Oregon State catcher, was selected first overall by the Orioles on June 3, 2019, which was the first pick of the team’s multi-year rebuild. 

A switch-hitting catcher, the former College World Series Most Outstanding Player hit .408 and .411 in back-to-back seasons as a Beaver. In each of his last two seasons, his on-base percentage was over .505. His OPS in 2018 and 2019 were 1.133 and 1.327, respectively. 

In his final season in Corvallis, he hit 17 home runs and had 76 hits in 57 games played. He also walked 76 times and struck out just 38 times.

The sixth catcher to go first overall, and the first since Joe Mauer in 2001, he was the first ever selection of general manager Mike Elias as the Orioles began their rebuild toward contention once again.

“I think just to go No. 1 overall is an honor and a tribute to all the people who’ve shaped me into who I am today,” Rutschman told NBC Sports Washington that night. “Just to be able to do that for the people around me, my friends and family, to be the first one for Baltimore is truly a special honor.”

Rutschman played in 37 games after he was drafted for Delmarva, Aberdeen and the Gulf-Coast Orioles, where he slashed .254/.351/.423 and hit four home runs. His fielding percentage was .976 and he tallied 150 putouts. 

He’s been compared to Mauer and San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey in the past, a fact not lost on Rutschman himself.

“It’s an honor,” Rutschman said. “Those guys are phenomenal players, phenomenal athletes, and a lot of them are phenomenal humans. So to be talked about in that same comparison is very special.”

Rutschman will be joined by the Orioles eventual second overall pick in a week, but make no mistake, Rutschman is the face of the rebuild. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NEWS:

Quick Links

Orioles in statement: 'We are committed to advocate for the change our country needs'

oriolestarp_usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Orioles in statement: 'We are committed to advocate for the change our country needs'

The Orioles were one of many teams to release a statement about protests and the Black Lives Matter movement across the country late Tuesday, as nearly every professional sports team has in the last two days.

“Nearly six decades ago, at another low point in our country’s ongoing struggle to understand and rectify the racial injustice our fellow Americans have endured since the inception of our nation, the author James Baldwin warned, ‘Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced,’” the statement began. 

The Orioles statement came amidst a flurry of statements released by MLB teams in the late afternoon.

“Today, as our friends and neighbors experience the same mistreatment of generations ago in the form of engrained, unyielding and institutionally-discriminatory systems that deny justice and equality and provide in their place a steady supply of brutalizing misconduct, compounded in some cases by voices that fan the flames of violence and racism, it is imperative that we face the past and present,” the statement continued. 

The statement concluded with the phrase, “Black Lives Matter,” one of the only team-released statements to reference the specific movement. 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE NEWS: