Jorge Orta

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Jorge Orta
Second baseman / Outfielder
Born: (1950-11-26) November 26, 1950 (age 68)
Mazatlán, Mexico
Batted: LeftThrew: Right
debut
April 15, 1972, for the Chicago White Sox
Last appearance
June 10, 1987, for the Kansas City Royals
Career statistics
Batting average .278
Home runs 130
Runs batted in 745
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the Mexican
Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svgEmpty Star.svgEmpty Star.svg
Induction1996

Jorge Orta Núñez (born November 26, 1950) is a Mexican former professional baseball second baseman and outfielder. He played fifteen seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1972 to 1987 for the Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, and Kansas City Royals. He is best remembered for being at the center of one of the most controversial plays in World Series history. [1]

Professional baseball is played in leagues throughout the world. In these leagues and associated farm teams, baseball players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system.

Second baseman defensive position in baseball and softball, played on the right side of the infield near second base

In baseball and softball, second baseman is a fielding position in the infield, between second and first base. The second baseman often possesses quick hands and feet, needs the ability to get rid of the ball quickly, and must be able to make the pivot on a double play. In addition, second basemen are usually right-handed; only four left-handed throwing players have ever played second base in Major League Baseball since 1950. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the second baseman is assigned the number 4.

Outfielder defensive position in baseball

An outfielder is a person playing in one of the three defensive positions in baseball or softball, farthest from the batter. These defenders are the left fielder, the center fielder, and the right fielder. An outfielder's duty is to try to catch long fly balls before they hit the ground or to quickly catch or retrieve and return to the infield any other balls entering the outfield. Outfielders normally play behind the six other members of the defense who play in or near the infield.

Contents

Chicago White Sox

Orta signed with the Chicago White Sox out of the Mexican Baseball League, [2] and made the team out of Spring training 1972 at shortstop without having played in the minor leagues for the Chisox. [3] He batted just .211 through the middle of May to lose his starting job to Rich Morales. He hung around for an additional two months as a utility infielder, but was optioned to the Southern League's Knoxville Sox in mid-July with a .191 batting average, one home run and seven runs batted in. [4] After batting .316 with seven home runs at Knoxville, he returned to Chicago when rosters expanded that September. His second major league home run was an extra innings game winner on September 19 against Gary Waslewski and the Oakland A's. [5]

Chicago White Sox Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Chicago, Illinois, United States

The Chicago White Sox are an American professional baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) Central division. The White Sox are owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, and play their home games at Guaranteed Rate Field, located on the city's South Side. They are one of two major league clubs in Chicago; the other is the Chicago Cubs, who are a member of the National League (NL) Central division.

Spring training training during the spring season, in baseball

In Major League Baseball (MLB), spring training is a series of practices and exhibition games preceding the start of the regular season. Spring training allows new players to try out for roster and position spots, and gives established players practice time prior to competitive play. Spring training has always attracted fan attention, drawing crowds who travel to the warm climates of Arizona and Florida to enjoy the weather and watch their favorite teams play, and spring training usually coincides with spring break for many US college students.

The 1972 Major League Baseball season was the first to have games cancelled by a player strike. It was also the last season in which American League pitchers would hit for themselves on a regular basis; the designated hitter rule would go into effect the following season.

He was shifted over to second base for the 1973 season after batting over .500 in Spring training. [6] Playing through injuries for much of the year, [7] he batted .266 and tied for second in the AL with eighteen errors committed at second base.

The 1973 Major League Baseball season was the first season of play for the designated hitter in the American League. The Kansas City Royals moved their home games from Municipal Stadium to the new Royals Stadium, adjacent to the Chiefs' football facility, Arrowhead Stadium. Royals Stadium also played host to the 1973 All-Star Game on July 24, with the NL defeating the AL, 7–1.

Error (baseball) term in baseball

In baseball statistics, an error is an act, in the judgment of the official scorer, of a fielder misplaying a ball in a manner that allows a batter or baserunner to advance one or more bases or allows an at bat to continue after the batter should have been put out. The term error can also refer to the play during which an error was committed.

After beginning the 1974 season batting at the bottom of the White Sox line-up, he was moved up to the number two spot in manager Chuck Tanner's batting order, and batted .411 with 23 runs scored in the month of June. More specifically, he batted .516 with four home runs from June 17 to June 23 to earn AL "Player of the Week" honors. [8] For the season, his .316 batting average was second only to Minnesota Twins second baseman Rod Carew in the American League.

The 1974 Major League Baseball season. The Oakland Athletics won their third consecutive World Series, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers four games to one.

Manager (baseball) someone who manages a baseball team

In baseball, the field manager is the equivalent of a head coach who is responsible for overseeing and making final decisions on all aspects of on-field team strategy, lineup selection, training and instruction. Managers are typically assisted by a staff of assistant coaches whose responsibilities are specialized. Field managers are typically not involved in off-field personnel decisions or long-term club planning, responsibilities that are instead held by a team's general manager.

Chuck Tanner American baseball player

Charles William Tanner was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played as a left fielder in Major League Baseball. He was known for his unwavering confidence and infectious optimism. He managed the Pittsburgh Pirates to a World Series championship in 1979. He last served as a senior adviser to Pirates general manager Neal Huntington.

Early in the 1975 season, Orta was involved in a controversy when he hit a triple off the wall at Comiskey Park that Cleveland Indians manager Frank Robinson believed should have been called a ground rule double. Robinson argued with first base umpire Jerry Neudecker, eventually shoving him to get ejected from the game and fined by the league. [9] He batted .296 with four home runs and 46 RBIs in the first half to be named to the AL All-Star team, but did not appear in the game due to a pulled hamstring in his right leg. [10] He returned healthy on July 17, and batted .314 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs in the second half.

The 1975 Major League Baseball season saw Frank Robinson become the first black manager in the Major Leagues. He managed the Cleveland Indians.

Triple (baseball) in baseball, a three-base hit

In baseball, a triple is the act of a batter safely reaching third base after hitting the ball, with neither the benefit of a fielder's misplay nor another runner being put out on a fielder's choice. A triple is sometimes called a "three-bagger" or "three-base hit". For statistical and scorekeeping purposes it is denoted by 3B.

Comiskey Park former baseball park

Comiskey Park was a baseball park in Chicago, Illinois, located in the Armour Square neighborhood on the near-southwest side of the city. The stadium served as the home of the Chicago White Sox of the American League from 1910 through 1990. Built by White Sox owner Charles Comiskey and designed by Zachary Taylor Davis, Comiskey Park hosted four World Series and more than 6,000 Major League Baseball games. Also, in one of the most famous boxing matches in history, the field was the site of the 1937 heavyweight title match in which Joe Louis defeated then champion James J. Braddock in eight rounds that launched Louis' unprecedented 11-plus year run as the heavyweight champion of the world.

Prior to the start of the 1976 season, the White Sox acquired Jack Brohamer from the Cleveland Indians. [11] New Chisox manager Paul Richards opted to use Brohamer at second and Orta at third. [12] Orta proved himself a poor third baseman, and was eventually moved into the outfield while rookie Kevin Bell took over at third. The Sox narrowly avoided a hundred losses in 1976. For his part, Orta batted .274 with hitting a career-high fourteen home runs and scoring a career high 74 runs.

The 1976 Major League Baseball season was the last post 1961-season until 1993 in which the American League (AL) and the National League (NL) had the same number of teams. The season ended with the Cincinnati Reds taking the World Series Championship for the second consecutive season by sweeping the New York Yankees in four games. It would be the Reds' last title until Lou Piniella guided the club in 1990, and the second time that the Yankees were swept in World Series history. The only team to do it before was the 1963 Los Angeles Dodgers.

John Anthony Brohamer is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) player. A second baseman, he played with the Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, and Boston Red Sox from 1972 to 1980.

Cleveland Indians Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Cleveland, Ohio, United States

The Cleveland Indians are an American professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) Central division. Since 1994, they have played at Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. Since their establishment as a major league franchise in 1901, the Indians have won two World Series championships: in 1920 and 1948, along with 10 Central Division titles and six American League pennants. The Indians' current World Series championship drought is the longest active drought.

Orta returned to second base when Bob Lemon replaced Richards at the helm in 1977. [13] The Chisox returned to their winning ways as they won ninety games to finish third in the American League West. Orta, now batting third in the line-up, finished second on the team (to Richie Zisk) with a career high 84 RBIs. He remained at second in 1978, but was used as the designated hitter by Don Kessinger when he took over as player-manager in 1979. Orta failed to put up the numbers expected of a DH (.212 batting average, 3 home runs, 21 RBIs through June 27). Meanwhile, second base had become something of a revolving door, with Kessinger, Alan Bannister, Joe Gates, Jim Morrison and Greg Pryor all manning the position at one point or another. He returned to second base in the middle of July, and batted .313 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs the rest of the way.

Cleveland Indians

Following the 1979 season, Orta signed a five-year deal with the Cleveland Indians. [14] With the Indians, Orta became a full-time right fielder, and soon emerged as one of the better fielding right fielders in the league. He maintained a .987 fielding percentage in his two seasons in Cleveland, and his eleven assists in 1981 tied for second among A.L. outfielders.

On June 15, 1980, he tied an A.L. record for the most hits in one game with six. [15] The feat raised his season average to .339, and likely played a part in his being named Cleveland's sole representative at the 1980 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. He did not, however, appear in the game.

With prospect Von Hayes ready to assume an everyday major league job in right field, Orta became trade-bait at the 1981 Winter meetings. On December 9, he and two minor leaguers (Jack Fimple and Larry White) were sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Jack Perconte and former Rookie of the Year winning pitcher Rick Sutcliffe. [16]

Los Angeles Dodgers

With the Dodgers, Orta found himself in a reserve role for the first time in his career. As a pinch hitter, Orta batted just .150 with one home run and five RBIs. He would occasionally spell Pedro Guerrero a day off in right field, and batted .291 in that role. After his only season in Los Angeles, he was traded to the New York Mets for pitcher Pat Zachry. [17]

Toronto Blue Jays

Shortly after acquiring Orta, the Mets traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays for pitcher Steve Senteney. [18] Orta was used primarily at DH by the Jays, though he did occasionally sub for Jesse Barfield in right. After the 1983 season, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Willie Aikens. [19]

Kansas City Royals

Orta made 438 plate appearances in 1984, his most since 1980. He and Hal McRae formed a very successful lefty/righty platoon at DH with the Royals, as the Royals got a .305 batting average, ten home runs and 81 RBIs out of their DH position for the season. Orta also played some outfield, batting .310 with three home runs and fifteen RBIs in that role. His ninth inning sacrifice fly on September 12 defeated the Minnesota Twins to move the Royals into a first place tie in the A.L. West. [20] The race came down to the wire between the Royals, Twins and California Angels with the Royals eventually winning the division by three games over each team. Orta may have been on the receiving end of some gamesmanship on September 20 when Angels catcher Bob Boone accused Orta of using a corked bat after his first at-bat of the game. [21] His bat was confiscated by umpire Jim McKean, and the accusation turned out to be fruitless. Orta led off the fifth with a single with a different bat.

Orta's first trip to the post-season did not go as well as he may have hoped. The Royals were swept by the Detroit Tigers in the 1984 American League Championship Series. Orta went one-for-ten with a triple and an RBI. [22]

The Royals stuck with the platoon of McRae and Orta at DH in 1985. Though the DH position's batting average dropped to .256, they hit nineteen home runs while driving in 114 runs. The 1985 season once again came down to the wire between the Royals and Angels. The Royals went on an eight-game winning streak at the start of September to jump into first place in the A.L. West for the first time on September 6. They took first place for good when they took three of four games with the Angels in Kansas City toward the end of the season to head to the post-season for the second year in a row.

1985 World Series

Orta was held hitless in five at-bats in the 1985 American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays. At-bats were hard to come by in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, as it was played under National League rules without the DH in 1985. Orta appeared in games one and two as a pinch hitter, flying out to center each time. The Royals lost both of the first two games held in Kansas City, but surprisingly, took two out of three in St. Louis to return home in a two games to three hole.

Game six was a pitchers' duel between the Royals' Charlie Leibrandt and St. Louis' Danny Cox. Each held the opposing team scoreless through seven innings before the Cards finally broke through for a run in the eighth. Orta was called upon to pinch hit for Pat Sheridan leading off the ninth inning with the Royals down 1-0. He hit a slow roller Cardinal first baseman Jack Clark fielded, and flipped to pitcher Todd Worrell covering first. First base umpire Don Denkinger called Orta safe on what turned out to be a very close play, but television replays showed that Worrell beat him to the bag.

The following batter, Steve Balboni hit a pop foul that ended up falling between Clark and catcher Darrell Porter. Given new life, Balboni hit a single to left on the very next pitch, moving Orta to second base. With Onix Concepción pinch running for Balboni, Jim Sundberg followed with an unsuccessful sacrifice bunt in which Orta was thrown out at third. The next batter was Hal McRae, pinch hitting for Buddy Biancalana. After Porter allowed a passed ball that allowed both runners to move up a base, McRae was intentionally walked to load the bases. Dane Iorg, pinch hitting for Dan Quisenberry, singled to right field driving in two runs, and giving Kansas City a 2–1 win. The only out recorded by the Cardinals in the inning was Orta at third. [23]

The win shifted momentum of the Series to the Royals, who won the Series the next night on Bret Saberhagen's 11–0 shutout. Years of debate between Cardinals' and Royals' fans have followed over what might have happened if Orta had been put out at first instead of third. [24]

Retirement

Orta shared DH duties with Hal McRae in 1986 as well. In 1987, with rookie Kevin Seitzer ready to assume a starting job at third base, Hall of Famer George Brett was shifted to first base, and Balboni became the Royals' DH. Orta was released June 17, followed by McRae on July 21. [25]

Personal life

Orta was born in Mazatlán from Cuban parents. His father Pedro Orta, former baseball player and a legend of Cuban baseball and Mexican League. [26]

See also

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References

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  3. "Wood Quiets Tribe Lumber". Toledo Blade . April 26, 1972.
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  13. "Lemon Named Chisox Pilot". Spokane Daily Chronicle . November 16, 1976.
  14. Chuck Perazich (December 23, 1979). "Lauds Gabe Paul for Getting Orta". Youngstown Vindicator .
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