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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Jeff Tackett, Backup - 310

Check out the updated feature on Jeff Tackett from July 2011: Jeff Tackett, Fatherly Influence

Watching the 1993 movie "Dave," there were two ways to pick out Orioles backup catcher Jeff Tackett.

Tackett was, of course, the only catcher in the movie, receiving the ceremonial first pitch from the title character, the president. Tackett himself joked to the Baltimore Sun about the second way to spot him.

"Just look for the best-looking guy on the screen," Tackett told The Sun as the movie was released in May 1993. "It'll be me."

Tackett's appearance in the movie actually mirrored his major league career. Tackett backed up Orioles starter Chris Hoiles for parts of four seasons in Baltimore, having his best season in both games played and batting average in 1992.

It was that same year that Tackett filmed a scene from the movie "Dave," filling in for an injured Hoiles.

Tackett had a similar role in the 1992 movie "Bob Roberts." The blog Orioles Card 'O' the Day has a discussion on why a Baltimore catcher was the obvious choice. (Orioles Card also has another Tackett post, figuring out the card photo story behind the photo on one of Tackett's cards.)

Tackett had been in the Orioles system since he was taken in the second round of the 1984 draft. He made his debut as a September call-up in 1991. In between, Tackett never hit much. His best year at the plate was in 1986, for the Carolina League's Hagerstown Suns, hitting .285.

In the majors, Tackett's bat was no different. In 135 total games, he hit just .217 filing in for the starter. His major league career ended a couple days before the 1994 strike began. But he went out swinging, hitting a home run in what would be his final at-bat. He hung in the minors until 1997, then retired.

While Tackett had his problems at the plate. His ERA was a little better.

During a 15-5 blowout on Aug. 11, 1993, O's manager Johnny Oates called on the catcher to play another role, that of pitcher. The bullpen needed a rest. In one inning, Tackett gave up a hit, a walk and zero runs.

"He said he could do it and he did it," Oates told The Sun. "He didn't look as bad as some guys, but he didn't look like a pitcher. The main thing is, he didn't embarrass us and he did not get hurt."
1990 CMC Tally
Cards Reviewed: 71/880 - 8.1%
Made the Majors: 42 - 59%
Never Made the Majors: 29 - 41%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 16
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 22

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