Melvin Mora: Confounding the Experts

1993 Classic/Best Gold # 15
1995 Smokey Jackson Generals

Who knew, huh? As I write, in late May 2004, Baltimore Oriole Melvin Mora has a higher batting average than Barry Bonds, a better OBP than Manny Ramirez, and a better slugging percentage than Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, and Vladimir Guerrero.

His breakout performance in the 1999 NLCS surprised everybody, most of all I'm sure the Astros, who had granted him his free agency following the 1997 season. But in a previous version of this database, I had written that the 1999 playoffs were his "fifteen minutes of fame," considering him thereby a latter-day Dusty Rhodes, or Francisco Cabrera. The Mets obviously agreed with me, trading Mora during the 2000 season--along with three marginal Major Leaguers--for Mike Bordick, who ended up playing 56 games for the Mets, and went 5 for 33 in the 2000 playoffs. Needless to say, Bordick's five hits was a figure that Mora had surpassed during the '99 playoffs in 40% of the at-bats. . .

Mora's success even confounded, I think, the club that ended up with him. The Orioles were so surprised at his performance that they couldn't even find a position for him throughout 2003. Mora played no less than six different positions for the Orioles in 2003, surely the most positions played by an All-Star during a single season in some time.

Melvin Mora in the Astros System
Season Team BA HR RBI League Class
1991 Ingenio Santa Fe .299  020 Dominican Summer Summer
1992 GCL Astros .222  0  8 Gulf Coast Rookie
1993 Asheville Tourists*.285  231 South Atlantic A
1994 Osceola Astros.282  846 Florida State A
1995 Tucson Toros.600  0  1 Pacific Coast AAA
1995 Jackson Generals.298  345 Texas AA
1996 Tucson Toros.281  326 Pacific Coast AAA
1996 Jackson Generals.286  523 Texas AA
1997 New Orleans Zephyrs.257  238 American Assoc. AAA
*Midseason SAL All-Star
Led the club in 8 different offensive categories including AVG, HR, H, and SB
Led squad in hits with 139, while finishing fifth in the league