O's 1-game wonders are interesting mix

Positions, details vary, but fleeting careers are all the same

September 19, 2006|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,Sun Reporter

They may not be Eddie Gaedel, the 3-foot-7 pinch hitter for Bill Veeck's 1951 St. Louis Browns, or Archibald "Moonlight" Graham, the two-inning outfielder for the New York Giants in 1905 who was immortalized by the film Field of Dreams.

But each of the Orioles' one-game wonders had his own unique experience.

Roger "Noonie" Marquis, 18, right fielder, Sept. 25, 1955

Marquis was a prep hitting and pitching star in Holyoke, Mass., in 1955 when the Orioles signed him. He was targeted as a left-handed pitcher, but he had one at-bat and played at least one inning in right field in the Orioles' 5-4 win at Washington.

Marquis, who died unexpectedly in July 2004 after a brief illness, injured himself in 1956 when he took a ball off the shin, said his wife, Alice. The injury originally was ignored, but turned serious and needed significant rehabilitation. He eventually ditched baseball for a position in his father's oil company.

"He said that's all he ever prayed for and wished for and he got what he wanted," Alice Marquis said. "I said, `You should have asked for more.' But he said his prayers were answered. He played one game in the major leagues."

George Werley, 18, right-handed pitcher, Sept. 29, 1956

Werley was 17 and Missouri's American Legion Player of the Year when the Orioles signed him in 1956. His lone appearance was in relief on the second-to-last day of the season, a 7-1 loss at Washington that featured Brooks Robinson's first career homer. Werley pitched one inning that day, walking two and allowing Jim Lemon's RBI single.

The Sun reported that Werley "nevertheless showed a good fastball and considerable poise in his one-inning trial." He is still the third-youngest ever to play for the Orioles. Werley bounced around in the minors for a few years before retiring in the early 1960s. A businessman in Missouri, he did not return phone calls.

Tom Patton, 21, catcher, April 30, 1957

Patton was drafted out of the St. Louis Cardinals' minor league system for $10,000 in December 1956 and was forced to the big leagues the next April when starting catcher Gus Triandos got hurt. Patton wasn't expected to play, but reserve catcher Myron Joe Ginsberg was hit by a foul tip during a 6-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park. Patton's debut was delayed because pitching coach Harry Brecheen locked the bullpen door as a practical joke, forcing a groundskeeper to unlock it.

"I was like a monkey trying to get out of a cage out there," Patton said.

He grounded out to the pitcher and reached on an error in two official at-bats. He also threw out Larry Doby trying to steal. For years, his at-bats were incorrectly recorded as strikeouts and he had to convince his sons that the Baseball Encyclopedia was wrong. (Major League Baseball made an official change several years ago.)

Once Triandos was healthy, Patton was dealt to the Kansas City Athletics in a trade that days later was nullified by the commissioner's office. He never learned why. Patton, who lives in suburban Philadelphia and is retired from the Pepperidge Farm bakery, spent time in the Orioles' and Philadelphia Phillies' systems before a shoulder injury ended his career in 1961.

Jeff Rineer, 23, left-handed pitcher, Sept. 30, 1979

A third-round supplemental pick in 1975, Rineer debuted in the season finale of a championship season. He relieved Dennis Martinez with one on in the sixth and the Orioles trailing the Cleveland Indians 4-3. He induced a flyout and an inning-ending double play. Catcher Dave Skaggs then hit a two-run homer to give the Orioles the lead and make Rineer the pitcher of record in his lone inning.

The lead lasted until two outs in the bottom of the ninth, when closer Don Stanhouse walked two and gave up a game-tying single. The Orioles lost, 6-5, in 11 innings.

Now living in Millersville, Pa., and working as a district manager for Herr's Snack Foods, Rineer suffered a torn elbow muscle while pitching for Triple-A Rochester the next year. He was finished by 1981.

"I led the American League in ERA that year [1979]," Rineer said. "That's what I tell everybody."

Radhames Dykhoff, 23, left-handed pitcher, June 7, 1998

The fourth Aruban to play in the majors, he was the cousin of former Oriole Sidney Ponson. He was recalled from Double-A Bowie and spent 13 days in the majors, but played in just one game, a 9-0 interleague loss to the Atlanta Braves at Camden Yards. Greg Maddux pitched a shutout that afternoon.

Dykhoff entered in the ninth and allowed two runs on a leadoff walk and two hits, including Andruw Jones' double. He was sent down to Bowie 10 days later and pitched the following full season at Rochester.

Claimed on waivers in April 2000 by the New York Mets, Dykhoff never pitched again in the majors. He is believed to be living in Aruba, but the Orioles and his former agent have lost touch with him.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

Sun researcher Paul McCardell contributed to this article.

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