Orioles rookie Cedric Mullins became the first player in team history to collect three hits in his major league debut, with two doubles and a single in a 19-12 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Friday at Camden Yards.
Mullins, 23, became the 20th player with a multihit debut in team history — the first being Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson on Sept. 17, 1955 — and was honored by the idea that in the team’s 64-year history, his three-hit debut was the first.
“That’s a long time for a team to be around, and for me to be the first one, it’s a privilege,” Mullins said.
Even in the midst of this lost season, moments like Mullins got to enjoy in his debut Friday are memorable ones for the Orioles. Manager Buck Showalter said he could tell there was an energy around the team with Mullins in the fold.
“That was fun to watch,” he said. “I was glad to have a seat for it. I spent a little time with Al Bumbry today — it’s peach season, I guess. He was my player comp on Cedric first time I saw Cedric, so I thought that was kind of apropos. Same kind of life to the body, and effortless athleticism, so to speak. That was fun to watch. You can imagine [his excitement] — his family made it, and you try to take stuff like that in.”
The day was bookended by a pair of moments Mullins might not soon forget. As the game began, Adam Jones, who played right field Friday so Mullins could play in center field, urged the rookie to lead the team out onto the field. Mullins balked at the idea.
“In all honesty, I thought he was messing with me,” Mullins said. “I was looking around, like, is the pitcher good? And all the players were saying, ‘Go, you’re leading it.’ I took their word for it. I went out on the field, and I took the scenic route, the long way around.”
There was plenty of significance to it for him.
“It’s hard to explain,” Mullins said. “It kind of felt like a pass-the-torch situation, just being able to feel like you’re taking charge of your debut. That was my reaction from it.”
Once Mullins got his first at-bat, he said things settled down for him. He doubled in the second inning to drive in a run, singled in the third inning to score a second and added a double to make Orioles history in the ninth inning. He scored on singles from second base after each hit.
And once it was through, he retreated into the Orioles clubhouse, and then the tunnel below Camden Yards to greet his parents and siblings for a photo in his uniform.
“It was huge,” Mullins said. “Just having my family out there to support was a really good feeling for me.”