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Craig Worthington

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Craig Richard Worthington

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[edit] Biographical Information

Craig Worthington was signed by the Baltimore Orioles and scout Ed Crosby as the first round pick of the secondary phase in the 1985 amateur draft. Worthington began his professional career with the class A Bluefield Orioles, where he batted .341/.388/.589 with 7 homers and 20 RBI in 39 games. He did not play enough to qualify for the batting title, or he would have finished second in that category. He was named to the Appalachian League All-Star team at third base and Appy league managers voted him as the #3 prospect in the loop behind Gregg Jefferies and Alex Cole.

In 1986, Worthington advanced to the high class-A Hagerstown Suns where he batted .300/~.402/.471 with 15 HR's, 82 walks and 105 RBI. Craig finished among the Carolina League leaders in several categories and led in both RBI and game-winning RBI (16). He again was picked to his league's All-Star team and the 21-year-old was selected as the second-best prospect in the circuit, behind Jefferies and ahead of Ron Gant.

That peformance sent Worthington to the AAA Rochester Red Wings in 1987, bypassing AA completely. In Rochester he struggled, batting .258/~.316/.355 with seven homers and 50 RBI. In 1988, he returned to Rochester and hit .244/~.307/.419 with 16 HR's and 73 RBI. He finished second in the International League in runs batted in, two behind Ron Jones, and tied for second in homers. He was named to the IL All-Star team at the hot corner. He also won IL MVP honors as Rochester had won the title, beating out teammate Steve Finley, who had provided the contact while Worthington provided the power. Worthington's .244 average is presumably one of the lowest by an IL MVP position player. In the midst of the longest losing streak to ever start a season, the 1988 Orioles gave Worthington a look in late April and early May of that year, but he hit just 3 times in 27 AB and was sent back down.

Craig was called back up to the O's in September and hit 15 for 54 (.278). His overall line in Baltimore that year was .185/.267/.284 but he was looking much better than he had at the beginning of the season.

Rick Schu had proven to be a bust the year earlier so in 1989 Worthington was named the Orioles starting third baseman; he batted .247/.334/.384 with 15 HR and 70 RBI. He fell to .226/.328/.322 with 8 long balls and 44 runs batted in in 1990. By 1991, Worthington played little with the Orioles because of the development of fellow Oriole farmhand Leo Gomez, and struggled, batting .225/.313/.373 with 4 home runs and 12 RBI.

In February 1992 the Orioles traded Worthington along with pitcher Tom Martin to the San Diego Padres for pitcher Jim Lewis and minor league outfielder Steve Martin. However he didn't last long with the Padres, being released in March. Worthington went on to sign with the Cleveland Indians in April. He played mostly with the AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox, posting a line of .295/.365/.429 with 6 HR and 57 RBI. The Indians called him up briefly; he batted .167/.231/.167 in 9 games for them and was released in September.

The Chicago Cubs signed Worthington in February 1993. Craig was assigned to the AAA Iowa Cubs, where he batted .273/.358/.405 with 13 HR and 66 RBI. He returned to the Cubs in 1994 and again played at Iowa, hitting .288/.384/.477 with 17 home runs and 69 RBI.

After the season, he became a free agent, and signed with the Cincinnati Reds that November. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1994 Rule V Draft, though the Phillies returned him to the Reds the following April. He spent most of his 1995 season with the AAA Indianapolis Indians, where he batted .318/.390/.484 with 9 home runs and 44 RBI. He earned a call-up to the major league squad, where he batted .278/.350/.500 in 10 games. The Reds traded him to the Texas Rangers in August for infielder Stephen Larkin and cash; he finished up with Texas, batting .221/.293/.368 with 2 homers and 6 RBI in 26 games.

In his final year in the majors in 1996, he split time between AAA Oklahoma Redhawks where he batted .264/.332/.358 with one homer and 4 RBI, and Texas, where he batted .158/.333/.316, also with one homer and 4 runs batted in. Worthington closed his major league career out with a .230/.322/.351 career line with 33 HR's and 114 RBI and was released in June. He showed above-average walk ability and basically league-average isolated power, but did not make frequent enough contact. His career OPS+ in the majors was 90.

Worthington played part of the 1996 season with the Monterrey Sultans, hitting .259/~.351/.341. He signed with the Hanshin Tigers in June to replace the released Scott Coolbaugh. He batted .267/.380/.413 with 3 homers and 12 RBI in 22 games.

Craig finished his career with the Newark Bears, playing for the Atlantic League team from 1998 through 2000; his best year there was in 1999 when he hit .282 with 16 homers.

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