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Orosco Sets Mark for Games Pitched

August 18, 1999|From Associated Press

BALTIMORE — Jesse Orosco walked out of the bullpen and into baseball's record book, moving to the top of a prestigious list that features some of the finest relief pitchers in the history of the game.

Orosco pitched in his major league-record 1,072nd game Tuesday night, helping preserve Mike Mussina's 15th victory as the Baltimore Orioles defeated the Minnesota Twins, 8-3.

Orosco, 42, broke a tie with Dennis Eckersley atop the career list. Hoyt Wilhelm is in third place, followed by Kent Tekulve and Lee Smith.

"It's a real nice milestone, being the guy with the most games pitched," Orosco said.

As Orosco left the bullpen with two out in the seventh inning, bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks told him, "Let's go, have some fun."

He tried, but it wasn't easy to keep his focus on the Orioles' one-run lead in the midst of a warm standing ovation from the Camden Yards crowd of 40,485.

"Well, I didn't fall, so that was a good start," Orosco said. "It was overwhelming."

Orosco waved his cap to the fans and went to work. His first pitch to Todd Walker, who was 6 when Orosco made his debut with the New York Mets in 1979, was high and inside.

Walker then hit a fly ball to center on the second pitch. He was the only batter Orosco faced.

The two-pitch effort was typical, given that Orosco has been used for years primarily against left-handed batters. He hasn't started a game since 1982 and has pitched in more games than innings in every season since 1990.

Jeff Conine went four for four with a homer and Harold Baines homered and drove in two runs for the Orioles, who snapped a three-game losing streak.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Busy Bodies

Most career pitching appearances through Tuesday (x-active):

1. Jesse Orosco-x: 1,072

2. Dennis Eckersley: 1,071

3. Hoyt Wilhelm: 1,070

4. Kent Tekulve: 1,050

5. Lee Smith: 1,022

5. Rich Gossage: 1,022

7. Lindy McDaniel: 987

8. Rollie Fingers: 944

9. Gene Garber: 931

10. Cy Young: 906

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