Baltimore Orioles Team

Daniel Collins

Written by: Daniel Collins

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Read Time: 4 minutes

The Baltimore Orioles started their tenure in Baltimore in 1954 when the St. Louis Browns moved east and changed their team name to the Orioles.

At the time, Baltimore had not had its own baseball team in quite some time, and the people of Baltimore welcomed the Orioles with open arms. Playing in beautiful Memorial Stadium, the Orioles were blessed to be brought into such a beautiful stadium.

Major Moves

The first major move in the Baltimore Orioles history would be the trade that brought Hall of Famer Frank Robinson to Baltimore. In 1966, Frank Robinson won the AL MVP, with 49 home runs and an above .300 batting average. Frank Robinson joined the likes of Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, and took the Orioles to their first ever World Series victory over the Dodgers.

In the late 60’s and early 70’s, the Orioles had arguable one of the most memorable managers in all of baseball. Earl Weaver was known as a fiery man, constantly getting ejected from arguing with umpires. Behind the fire, Weaver was a fantastic baseball mind, following the concept of big home runs and big innings.

The Orioles rode the wave of Earl Weaver, crafting a very power heavy lineup that was backed by phenomenal pitching from starters like Jim Palmer and Mike Cuellar.

The Orioles would go on to win four more AL Pennants under Weaver in ‘69, ‘70, ‘71, and ‘79. Again highlighted by power lineups, players like Boog Powell, Brooks Robinson, and Eddie Murray solidified the Orioles as a power house in the 70’s.

Even better, the Orioles starting pitching in the 70s was top of the line, showcasing one of only two teams to ever have a squad of 4 different 20 game winning pitchers in a single season in 1971 (Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar, and Pat Dobson).

The Orioles entered the 80’s still at the top of the pack, looking for another World Series following the heartbreaking loss against the Pirates in the 1979 World Series.

In 1982, Earl Weavers’ last season as a manger, the Orioles struck gold in their rookie shortstop named Cal Ripken Jr. Cal would go on to win the 1982 AL Rookie of the Year, beginning a legendary Hall of Fame career.

In 1983, the Orioles would welcome a new manager for the first time in 15 years. Joe Altobelli won the job, overtaking an already very good baseball team.

1983 would be a year of glory for the Orioles, as Cal Ripken won AL MVP in his second season, they won the AL East, and would go on to top the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. This would be the Orioles third, and as of now, last World Series victory.

Through the rest of the 80’s and most of the 90’s the Orioles would be a mediocre baseball club, shuffling through managers including a second stint from Earl Weaver and a few under the rule of former Oriole player Frank Robinson.

In September of 1995, Cal Ripken would finally break arguably the greatest record in all of baseball. Cal Ripken broke the record set by Lou Gerhig, marking 2,131 consecutive games played. This streak lasted over a decade, stretched until over 2600 games, and gave Cal Ripken the immortal name of the Iron Man.

In 1996, the Orioles would return to the postseason. Now a whole new club from their last playoff appearance, manager Davey Johnson has a team that could surprise people in October.

On a chilly night in October, a play happened that cursed the lives of Oriole fans forever. During a playoff game against the rival New York Yankees being played in New York, a young Yankees fan by the name of Jeffrey Maier reached over the right field fence, interfering with a ball that would have been caught. The play was ruled a home run, and the Yankees went on the defeat the Orioles.

The Orioles would make another trip to the ALCS in 1997, eventually being knocked off by the Cleveland Indians, marking the last playoff appearance for the Orioles for 17 years.

The Orioles were plagued by bad baseball for almost 20 years, failing to have a .500 season the entire time. In 2006, a rookie named Nick Markakis would join the team, turning towards to future alone with second baseman Brian Roberts.

Fast forward to 2011, and it is manager Buck Showalter’s first full season as the skipper. The Orioles made monumental leaps, crafting their farm system while having their first .500 season in 15 years.

In 2012, the Orioles would win 93 games, and would make the playoffs for the first time since 1997. Players like Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters and Chris Davis would put the Orioles on the map as a team no one wanted to pitch to. The Yankees would beat the Orioles in the ALDS in 2012, marking the end of a magical season.

In 2014 the Orioles got even better, hitting more home runs, playing phenomenal defense, and had a great bullpen. The 96 win Orioles were able to win the AL East for the first time since 1997, and swept the Tigers in the ALDS as a part of a memorable series that will stay in the hearts of Oriole fans forever.

The last playoff appearance came in 2016, when Manny Machado the Orioles were knocked out on a walk-off home run against the Toronto Blue Jays.

2018 is maybe the worst season for the Orioles, as their long time core of players were broken up following an awful first half of the season. Most notably, Manny Machado who was maybe the best Orioles prospect ever, was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July. This would mark the end of an era in Baltimore, and would end Buck Showalter’s career In Baltimore following the 2018 season.

Moving Forward

2019 would mark a new beginning, starting a full team rebuild that brought in rookie manager Brandon Hyde. The Orioles are still rebuilding, making huge leaps in their farm system as well as acquiring the #1 pick on the 2019 draft which was spent on #1 prospect Adley Rutschman. The future is near!

Still owned by the Peter Angelos family, the Baltimore Orioles continue to be a staple in Baltimore and will always be a huge part of the lives of everyone in that city.