The son of Pedro Orta, known as the Babe Ruth of Cuban baseball, Jorge turned down
a basketball scholarship to UCLA to play baseball in the Mexican League. There he
batted .391 in 1971 and was purchased by the White Sox. He began 1972 as Chicago's
shortstop but was sent down for some seasoning and returned as a second baseman.
Uncomfortable with American ways, the soft-spoken young Mexican struggled with English
and his fielding before blossoming into a hitting star in 1974. That year he finished
second in the AL batting race to Rod Carew (.364 to .316), three times collecting
five hits in a game.
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Orta batted .304 with a career-high 83 RBI in 1975. In 1976
he was named to Mexico's Baseball Hall of Fame. The White Sox shuttled him around
the infield and outfield in an effort to keep his bat in the lineup, but he never
developed fielding consistency at any position. He signed as a free agent with Cleveland
in December 1979 and batted .291 in 1980, tying a ML record with six hits in a game
on June 15. His performance began to decline in 1981, and he spent his final four
seasons as a platooned Royals DH.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»May 26, 1976: In a scoreless game in Anaheim, Chicago's Ken Brett has a no-hitter with two out in the 9th when California's Jerry Remy tops a slow roller down the 3B line. 3B Jorge Orta lets the ball roll and, in a controversial ruling, it is scored a hit, though many thought it ought to be ruled an error. Brett gives up a hit in the 10th to ex-Sox Bill Melton but wins the game 1–0 in 11 innings.
»June 15, 1980: Cleveland's Jorge Orta goes 6-for-6 (5 singles and a double) in a 14–5 rout of the Twins, tying the American League record for hits in a 9-inning game.
»December 9, 1981:
The Dodgers trade 1979 Rookie of the Year Rick Sutcliffe, unhappy with his exile to the Dodger bullpen, and infielder Jack Perconte to the Indians for OF Jorge Orta. Orta will hit just .217 for the Dodgers next season, while Sutcliffe will lead the AL in ERA.
»October 26, 1985: Aided by a blown call, a bungled pop-up, and a passed ball, Kansas City scores two runs in the bottom of the 9th to beat St. Louis 2–1 and even the World Series at three games apiece. The Cardinals are three outs away from the World Championship when Jorge Orta reaches base on a disputed infield single. The next batter, Steve Balboni, lofts a foul pop that Clark loses track of and lets fall untouched, then singles. After Darrell Porter's passed ball puts runners on 2B and 3B and Hal McRae is intentionally walked to load the bases, pinch hitter Dane Iorg singles home two runs to end the game.