Boddicker amazed by staying power of Ks Ex-Oriole still a part of Baltimore record book

May 23, 1993|By Milton Kent | Milton Kent,Staff Writer

Nearly five years after leaving Baltimore, Mike Boddicker is still in the Orioles record book, though, frankly, no one is more surprised about that than he is.

Boddicker, who was a mainstay of the Baltimore rotation for five years, shares the record for most strikeouts (14) in a game.

That Boddicker, now with the Milwaukee Brewers, nearly lost his share of the record two weeks ago when Mike Mussina struck out 14 Detroit Tigers surprised him. He didn't know he had it in the first place.

Boddicker said: "I didn't even know that was a record. I figured [Jim] Palmer or some body would have struck out more than 14. [I'm not surprised] with Mike. Mike's a great pitcher. He's got great stuff. Me doing it surprises me, with the stuff I've got."

Boddicker, 35, is the last Orioles 20-game winner, in 1984.

Mussina may well erase that distinction, but these days, Boddicker is feeling lucky to be working regularly.

Boddicker, who struck out 14 Chicago White Sox in Game 2 of the 1983 American League Championship Series for the Orioles, signed with the Kansas City Royals in 1991 after spending parts of three seasons in Boston.

But spending most of the last three months of last season on the disabled list, Boddicker fell out of favor in Kansas City and began this season relegated to the bullpen.

So, when the Royals traded Boddicker to the Brewers last month, the right-hander saw the trade as a chance to resuscitate his career.

"I'm doing fine. I'm happy again. I'l getting the opportunity to pitch on a good ballclub with a good group of guys. That's all you can ask for," said Boddicker. "I never asked for a trade. I just wanted to pitch. I wanted the opportunity to do what I can do. Obviously, I wasn't in Kansas City's plans, which was fine. I'm just happy to be here with Milwaukee."

The relocation is working out well. Boddicker, who will not pitch this weekend, is 3-2 with a 4.30 ERA, the only Milwaukee starter with a winning record.

But no matter what happens this season, Boddicker has determined that this year, his 11th in the majors, will be his last.

Boddicker said: "I'm tired of living out of a suitcase, tired of traveling. . . . I'm not so tired of the aches and pains as much as I'm just tired. I haven't seen my family grow up. The kids are growing, and I'm not there. Pretty soon, they'll be out of the house and I won't have been there to see them and the stuff they do, the soccer, Cub Scouts, things like that."

The declaration of retirement makes this season a sort of farewell tour for Boddicker, who carries a strong attachment for Baltimore, if not the current home of the Orioles.

"My memories are of Memorial Stadium. This [Oriole Park] is a beautiful ballpark, and it's probably the best in baseball right now, when you take in everything, but my memories stem back to Memorial Stadium, and I think it you go to the other ballplayers, they'll say the same thing. I loved Memorial Stadium."

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