Melvin Mora had plenty to hug and smile about yesterday, as he went 5-6 with 2 doubles and 2 home runs totaling 6 RBI in the O's rout of the Detroit Tigers, 16-8.
I've been openly critical of Mora in the past and his usual mid-.700 OPS and base-running blunders. But I have to give the father of quintuplets credit. He's en fuego right now.
Since the All Star Break, Mora is hitting .432 with 9 HR and 43 RBI. That's a 1.241 OPS, folks. Mora has single-handedly raised his OPS from .690 at the break to the current .834 OPS he has now in just one month.
My past souring on Mora has more to do with the front office signing and re-signing aging veterans when the team should be placing an emphasis on getting younger, but I think Melvin Mora is the exception to that rule.
Mora has been an Oriole for 9 years and barring an unlikely trade, it'll be 10 years. He's the longest tenured Oriole on the team. I'd be willing to call him the second-best third-baseman in Orioles history, behind you-know-who. Let's face it, after Brooks, there's not much to pull from. Mora's closest competition is Doug DeCinces.
But that's not taking anything away from Mora. It's time to anoint Mora with the second-tier "Great Oriole" moniker that Brady Anderson, Boog Powell and Paul Blair currently have. Mora is a shoe-in for the Oriole Hall of Fame and more importantly, he's is a good guy.
Other than a few out-of-context quotes where Mora can sound like a "me first" kinda guy, Mora has been the ultimate team player, and his occasional bunting proves it. He loves Baltimore, and he loves the Orioles, hence his demand for a no-trade clause when he last re-signed with the O's. And I'll always be grateful that he was the only active Oriole who was respectful enough to show up for Elrod Hendricks' funeral. Why every player who ever came into contact with Elrod didn't show up for the funeral, we'll never know.
Now, Mora may not equal his insane 2004 season this year, but he could come close. And what makes that really cool is that he's done it after 2 mediocre seasons that caused many fans to say he was on a decline and on his way out of baseball.
That still may be true, but not before he proves a lot of fans wrong for at least one year.