When I reported that the Orioles had held a brief workout for lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes at Camden Yards on Thursday, I received a whole lot of age jokes on my Twitter account.
For once, they weren’t aimed at me.
Rhodes, who didn’t pitch professionally in 2012 and was last seen winning a World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011, turned 43 in October. (That’s actually slightly older than me, so take that).
I think the best line I saw on Twitter was from the guy who asked me if Rhodes had developed a deer-antler spitball to get hitters out. Hey, insulting and topical.
Honestly, it's very unlikely that Rhodes will receive an invitation to the Orioles’ spring training camp, but he still lives in Baltimore, so there really was no harm in giving him a workout to see what he has left.
If Rhodes did make the Orioles on Opening Day – and again, I am talking the longest of long shots – he’d be nearly 43 and a half years old (I know, most of us stopped counting halves at about age 10).
But I mention the five-plus months, because it would make him the oldest Oriole in club history, according to the team’s media guide. The oldest player was 43 years and 14 days old when he played his last game for the club (and the finale of his career).
It’s an exceptionally recognizable name around here. Do you have a guess?
Wrong, it wasn’t lefty reliever Jesse Orosco – which was my guess – who pitched until he was 46. He was the second-oldest Oriole when he played his last game for the club in 1999 at age 42 (and 160 days). Orosco, amazingly, pitched four more seasons, finishing his career in Sept. 2003 with the Minnesota Twins, the club that drafted him in, wait for it, 1978.
The oldest Oriole was 1983 World Series MVP Rick Dempsey, who finished his 24-season career on Sept. 27, 1992, two weeks after turning 43.
Dempsey, who debuted in 1969 and therefore played in four different decades, appeared in just eight games for the Orioles in 1992 before retiring.
Rhodes would eclipse that mark, but it almost got shattered last summer by 49-year-old Jamie Moyer, who pitched for the Orioles' Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk but was never promoted.
There was a little movement in the top five in 2012, however. Jim Thome played his final Orioles game in the playoffs last year at age 42 (and 45 days). That puts him fourth on the franchise list behind Dempsey, Orosco and pitcher Dizzy Trout, who was 42 (and 74 days) when he last pitched for the club in 1957.
Tim Raines Sr. (42 and 16 days in 2001) gets dropped to fifth now, and Harold Baines (41 and 136 days in 2000) falls out of the top five.