With the All-Star Game taking place July 11, it might surprise some Orioles fans that one longtime former Oriole who never made an All-Star team is right fielder Nick Markakis.
Markakis, who is in his third season with the Atlanta Braves, batted. 290 during nine seasons with the Orioles and won two Gold Gloves, yet he never represented the Orioles in the midsummer classic -- although a strong case can be made that he should have.
In 2010, for example, when Ty Wigginton was picked to represent the Orioles as a first baseman, Markakis had a .308 average with a .395 OBP. Wigginton had a .252 average and superior power numbers (14 home runs, 45 RBIs to Markakis' six homers, 31 RBIs at the break), but as an all-around player, Markakis was a far better choice.
There were several other seasons Markakis, 33, could have been an All-Star, but late in his Orioles career, the team started winning and instead of one player representing the team, there were several who invariably had better stat lines than Markakis.
Whenever Markakis would be asked about being an All-Star during his Orioles career, he always said he'd rather have the break from playing instead.
Markakis's tenure with the Orioles ended Dec. 3, 2014, when he signed a four-year, $44 million contract with the Braves. The Orioles were reluctant to give Markakis a long-term deal because of medical concerns.
During Markakis' nine years with the Orioles, he suffered serious injuries twice. In June 2012, Markakis had surgery to remove the hamate bone in his right wrist, and his season ended that September when Yankees starter CC Sabathia broke his left thumb with a pitch, robbing Markakis of his chance to play during his first postseason.
Before the 2012 season, Markakis had an operation to repair an abdominal muscle, but he didn't miss any regular-season games.
Shortly after Markakis signed with Atlanta, he had fusion surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck, but he was ready to play in time for the 2015 season.
Despite the Orioles' fears that Markakis wouldn't hold up, he has played in all but 10 games in two-and-a-half seasons with the Braves and has not missed a game this season.
During his time with the Orioles, other than the 2012 season, Markakis rarely missed time. In seven of his nine seasons in Baltimore, Markakis played in at least 155 games.
With Atlanta, Markakis hasn't shown much power -- he has a total of 20 home runs as a Brave -- but he's batted .283 with a .360 OBP.
Without Markakis, the Orioles tried desperately to find a replacement in right field, trading two young left-handed pitchers, Steven Brault and Stephen Tarpley, to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Travis Snider.
After Snider failed to perform well, the Orioles traded right-hander Zach Davies to the Milwaukee Brewers for another right fielder, Gerardo Parra, who wasn't re-signed at the end of the season.
Drafted seventh overall in the 2003 draft, Markakis reached the majors three years later, and he was the first of several first-round draft choices (catcher Matt Wieters in 2007 and third baseman Manny Machado in 2010) to make an impact on the team.
In his 12 years in the majors, Markakis has hit more than 20 home runs, driven in more than 100 runs and batted .300 or better just twice each, but he never hit below .271.
Markakis is 17 hits away from 2,000 and stands 11th among active players on the hits list. Markakis is the only player in the active top 30 on the list who's never played in an All-Star Game.
Markakis was sorry to leave the Orioles and maintains a home in the area. He also has family ties with the team. His sister-in-law married infielder Ryan Flaherty last December.
As an Oriole, Markakis was a fan favorite and was held in high esteem by his teammates for his work ethic and lack of pretense.
Nearly three years later, he's still missed -- in right field and in the clubhouse.