B.J. Surhoff was always a favorite among fans during his eight seasons with the Orioles. And he knew the primary reason.
"One is playing well," he said. "You can be as popular as you want, but if you don't produce in this day and age, you're not going to be as popular with them as you'd like."
Surhoff was good enough to be inducted into the Orioles' Hall of Fame, which will happen before tonight's game against the Minnesota Twins. His tenure with the club was divided into two tours, and he was an outfielder on the last two playoff teams in 1996 and 1997 - his first two seasons in Baltimore.
"It's a really nice honor," he said of the coming ceremony, which also will include former radio and television broadcaster Bill O'Donnell, who died in 1982. " ... I'm very thankful. It's no surprise I loved playing here. I live here. This is where I want to be."
In 1999, Surhoff was named Most Valuable Oriole after batting .308 and establishing career highs in home runs (28), RBIs (107), hits (207) and runs (104). He set a club record with 637 at-bats and was selected for the All-Star team.
Surhoff spent the first nine of his 19 major league seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers, so reaching the postseason with the Orioles tops his other achievements.
"I was, unfortunately, getting to one of those lists of most games played and not making the playoffs," said Surhoff, who broke down numerous times during his 30-minute speech yesterday at the Oriole Advocates luncheon.
Surhoff played for the Orioles from 1996 to 2000, when they traded him to the Atlanta Braves at the non-waiver deadline. He returned in 2003 and remained with the club through the 2005 season. He batted .291 with 120 homers and 551 RBIs as an Oriole.