July 8, 1958: Baltimore played host to its first-ever All Star Game. A capacity crowd of 48,829 watched the American League defeat the National League 4-3. The Orioles were represented by catcher Gus Triandos and pitcher Bill O'Dell.
On September 28, 1953, baseball's owners unanimously agreed upon the move of the St. Louis Browns to Baltimore. The move followed a season in which the Browns went 54-100 and drew a crowd of only 3,174 to their season finale, an 11-inning loss to Chicago.
The Orioles debut in the modern day game was not a stellar one, as they finished 54-100 and 57 games back in the division. However, the love affair with the Birds had begun as the O's drew 1,060,910 fans to their 67 home dates of their inaugural season.
An indication of better days appeared in '57 as the Birds finished at .500 for the first time. Veteran Connie Johnson (14-11, pictured right) led the charge of a surprising Orioles pitching staff that saw four pitchers throw shutouts on consecutive days in late June.
The Orioles of 1960 made a charge for the pennant and the team emerged as a perennial contender. Finishing with 85 wins, it was clear that the future was bright with rookies Jim Gentile, Ron Hansen, and Steve Barber shining bright alongside more established players such as Milt Pappas and Brooks Robinson, who went to the first of his 16 All-Star Games.
The Orioles eclipsed the 90-win mark for the first time finishing 95-67, but still finished 14 games behind the Yankees who were being powered by Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Jim Gentile (right) had a stellar season and set 11 team records finishing third in the MVP vote behind Maris and Mantle.
As late as mid-September the O's were in first place in a tight pennant race with the Yankees and White Sox but the Yankees won 11 straight down the stretch to take the division by a game over Chicago and two games over the Birds. Brooks Robinson (right) had a fantastic season hitting .317 with 194 hits, 28 HR, and 118 RBI.
In a trade for Milt Pappas and two others, Frank Robinson (right) came to the Birds and proved to be the missing ingredient for the Championship. The Orioles defeated the favored LA Dodgers in the World Series with awe-inspiring pitching and timely power - traits that would become the staples of the franchise for years to come. The Birds won their first-ever title in decisive fashion, outscoring LA 13-2 in the Series for a 4-game sweep.
Jim Palmer's (16-4, pictured right) dominance was on display as he fired off an 11-game win streak in the summer of '69. The O's finished 109-53 and played the Minnesota Twins in the first American League Championship series, which they promptly swept in 3 games. The World Series pitted the favored Birds against the Miracle Mets who shocked all of baseball with a 4-1 victory in the Fall Classic.
The O's posted three 20-game winners in 1970 with Dave McNally (24-9) and Mike Cuellar (24-8) leading the way, followed by Jim Palmer, whose 20-10 record included five shutouts. Sweeping the Twins in the ALCS for the second straight year put the O's back in the Series against the NL champion Cincinnati Reds. However, the Big Red Machine proved to be no match for an Orioles team set on avenging '69's loss to the Mets. The Birds took the Series 4-1 for their second title behind the MVP play of Brooks Robinson who made several plays for the ages at third and batted .429.
Not satisfied with their pitching brilliance in 1970, the O's outdid themselves by posting four 20-game winners in '71. Pat Dobson joined McNally, Cuellar, and Palmer as the Birds went on to win 101 games. Again an ALCS sweep, over Oakland this time, put the Orioles into the World Series for the 3rd straight year where they would meet up with Roberto Clemente and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Clemente hit .414 and was the catalyst for a Pirates victory in a hard-fought seven game series.
The O's returned to form going 97-65 and facing the powerhouse A's in the ALCS. In the decisive final game it was Jim "Catfish" Hunter (right) who took the reigns and shutout the Birds 3-0 to clinch the title for Oakland. During the regular season rookie Al Bumbry shined as he hit .337 and stole 23 bases and Earl Weaver was voted Manager of the Year for the first time.
Orioles Magic came to town for the 1979 season as the Birds always seemed to find a way. If it wasn't a home run from someone you least expected, it was a late-inning rally that willed the O's to victory. Mike Flanagan (right) took over as the ace of the staff going 23-9 with 16 complete games, five shutouts, and a 3.08 ERA on his way to the Cy Young Award. The team finished 102-57 and faced the Pirates in the World Series where history repeated itself as the "We Are Family" Bucs overcame a 3-1 series deficit to win the Championship on an RBI single by Willie Stargell in the eighth inning of the decisive seventh game.
The Orioles won 100 games behind the brilliant pitching of Scott McGregor (20-8) and Steve Stone (25-7, pictured right), who went on to win the Cy Young, but finished 3 games behind the Yankees in the division. On the other side of the ball, Al Bumbry had 205 hits for the season and batted .318.
Rookie Cal Ripken Jr. (right) made his presence known early on, going 3-5 with a homer on Opening Day. Eddie Murray made a bid for the MVP award hitting .316 with 32 HR and 110 RBI. Earl Weaver announced that this would be his final season at the helm of the O's. The Orioles had an up and down season but made a heroic final charge down the stretch that put them into a tie with Milwaukee Brewers on the final day of the regular season and it was a head-to-head matchup. Unfortunately, league MVP Robin Yount and the rest of the "Wallbangers" proved to be too much and the Birds finished one game back at 94-68.
Joe Altobelli became the new manager and took over an Orioles team on a mission. The mission looked to be derailed by several key injuries to players such as Jim Palmer, Mike Flanagan, Dan Ford, and Tippy Martinez, but the O's stayed the path and charged all the way to the World Series to face Pete Rose and the Philadelphia Phillies. It was MVP Rick Dempsey (right) who led the Birds to the Championship, batting .385 and throwing out the speedy Joe Morgan twice, as the Orioles claimed their third title and avenged the heartbreaks of the previous four seasons.
On a night where 50,402 turned out to welcome the 1-23 Orioles back from a 1-11 road trip, Governor William Donald Schaefer announced that owner Edward Bennett Williams and the Maryland Stadium Authority had agreed upon a long-term lease for a new downtown ballpark to be built in time for the 1992 season. Williams, who was very ill, never attended another game after that and lost his battle with cancer on August 13, 1988. The season was a lost one as the Birds went 54-107, but the process of rebuilding had begun.
The Orioles new uniforms and new attitude were on display as the team improved by 32 1/2 games in the standings and spent nearly three months of the season in first place. '89 became known as the "Why Not?" season and Frank Robinson won American League Manager of the Year for his role in leading this young group into a pennant chase that ended on the next-to-last day of the season following consecutive 1-run losses to Toronto.
The dawn of a new era of Orioles baseball began as Camden Yards was introduced to the world. Despite many comments about how hitter-friendly the park was, the first three games played there were low-scoring shutouts with the O's winning two of them. At the end of the '92 season, Cal Ripken Jr.'s consecutive games streak had reached 1,735 and Lou Gehrig's record was in sight.
The All-Star Game returned to Baltimore for the first time since 1958 in the beautiful setting of Camden Yards and All-Star Fanfest Week was a celebration unlike any in recent memory. In the Home Run contest, Ken Griffey Jr. became the first player to hit the warehouse on the fly. Not to be outdone, Juan Gonzalez, a right-hander, reached the 3rd deck in left field with a shot estimated to be over 500 feet. The Birds as a whole had a streaky season, but catcher Chris Hoiles was solid throughout en route to winning Oriole MVP. He hit .310 with 29 HR and 82 RBI even though he missed 21 games due to injury.
On September 5th and 6th at Oriole Park at Camden Yards against the California Angels, Cal Ripken Jr. (right) became baseball's all-time "Iron Man", tying and breaking Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played record of 2,130. Cal's streak began on May 30, 1982. In the games Cal went a combined 5-9 and hit home runs in each. Ceremonies were held after the tying game and included a "roast" of Cal to congratulate him on his achievement, but the best celebration was to come during the record breaking game. After the game was in the books as an official game, play was halted for over 20 minutes and Cal made a victory lap as the fans showed their appreciation for baseball's new "Iron Man".
After a frustrating first half which saw the team struggle to find their identity, the Birds made a charge and captured the AL Wild Card. In the Division Series against Cleveland, Roberto Alomar (right) secured victory for the O's with his heroics on the field and at the plate and the Orioles moved on to face the Yankees in the ALCS. Two extremely close games in New York, including the famous Home Run That Wasn't game, brought the series back to Baltimore tied 1-1 but the Yankees proved to be too much to take and the O's fell short, losing the series 4-1 to the eventual World Champs.
The O's potent attack, led by Rafael Palmeiro (right), Roberto Alomar, and B.J. Surhoff, and double digit wins from 5 Orioles pitchers propelled the Birds to a season-long reign in the division as they went wire-to-wire. Their dominance brought them back to a Division Series rematch with the Indians, who had also been nothing short of dominating throughout the regular season campaign. This time around the Tribe got the best of the favored Orioles, whose offense had suddenly gone silent in the series, and the Indians eeked out a six-game series win to take the AL pennant before falling to the Marlins in the World Series.
Under new manager Ray Miller, the Orioles had only residue from their previous two playoff teams and finished just 79-93 in what was truly a transition year. Joe Carter was traded to the Giants and rookies such as Jerry Hairston and Sidney Ponson made their debut. It was a sparkling season for Rafael Palmeiro, his final one in Baltimore. The first baseman hit .296 with 43 homers and 121 RBI to earn an All-Star berth while Eric Davis put up a vintage season with a team-leading .327 average and 28 homers. The Orioles finished in fourth place in the AL East.
The transition continued as Rafael Palmeiro, Roberto Alomar and Eric Davis left via free agency and the Orioles welcomed slugger Albert Belle in what would be his second to final season. Belle led the Orioles in home runs and RBI while B.J. Surhoff hit .308 for the 78-84 Orioles and Ray Miller, who would be fired at season's end. Mike Mussina led the pitching staff with 18 wins and made the All-Star team. The Orioles would finish in fourth place in the AL East for the second consecutive season.
The rebuilding phase began in Baltimore as the Orioles began mixing rookies and youngsters with their veterans and finished 74-88 under first-year manager Mike Hargrove. Cal Ripken was limited to just 83 games in the first injury-plagued season of his amazing career while Albert Belle hit a team-leading 23 homers playing with what eventually would be a career ending hip injury. Veteran pitcher Jose Mercedes led the staff with 14 wins while the club lost stalwart Scott Erickson to elbow surgery.
This was a landmark season in Baltimore, as Cal Ripken announced that it would be his last in the Major Leagues. What was another rebuilding season for the Orioles transformed into a farewell tour for the most durable player in the history of the game. Ripken received numerous gifts and accolades as he stopped by visiting Major League parks for the final time. The season ended at home and the Orioles and Major League baseball agreed to switch the season finale to Saturday, and Ripken played his final game on Oct. 6, 2001. He finished the year hitting .239 with 14 homers and 68 RBI. He capped his career by hitting a home run in the All-Star Game and winning the MVP award.
A young Orioles club took the field and was one of the league's surprises through the first 126 games, winning 63 and seemingly en route to a winning season. A 4-32 finish put a damper on the year, but there were some bright spots. Rodrigo Lopez was named Team MVP and the Sporting News American League Rookie Pitcher of the Year while Jay Gibbons hit 28 home runs. It was the fifth consecutive fourth place finish for the Orioles, who finished the year on a 12-game losing streak.
The Orioles introduced first-year manager Lee Mazzilli and free-agent signees Miguel Tejada and Javy Lopez as well as old friends Rafael Palmeiro and Sidney Ponson. The O's set several offensive records and finished 78-84, their best record since 1999. Rookie Daniel Cabrera emerged on the scene by winning 12 games in his first Major League exposure. Tejada set a club record for RBIs in a season and Brian Roberts set a club record for doubles, as the Orioles finished with a .281 average.
The 2005 season saw the Orioles leap into first place in the division early, leading their American League East brethren from mid-April well into June before a cold spell -- and a hot Boston Red Sox -- caught up to the Birds for good. Paced by April Player of the Month Brian Roberts (.314, 18 HR, 27 Steals), Baltimore stayed in the race most of the summer. A plethora of injuries and locker room turmoil surrounding Rafael Palmeiro derailed a once-promising year, and cost manager Lee Mazzilli his job on Aug. 4. His replacement, Sam Perlozzo, went 23-32 after taking over, his club finishing the year in fourth place at 74-88.
The Orioles continued their homegrown youth movement in 2006, with high-wattage prospects Nick Markakis and Adam Loewen joining the fray. Chris Ray adjusted well to closing, picking up where BJ Ryan left off by converting 33 of his 38 save opportunities. Erik Bedard grew into a staff ace but missed inclusion in his first All-Star Game. Miguel Tejada had another outstanding season -- setting a club record for hits (214) and driving in 100 runs for the sixth time in seven years -- but it wasn't enough to keep the Orioles from posting their ninth straight losing record and their worst win-total since 2002.
Baltimore won just 11 of its final 39 games in 2007, a stretch that left the Orioles as one of three teams in the Major Leagues (along with Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh) to have 10 straight seasons with a losing record. Manager Sam Perlozzo was dismissed in early June, and the team played well under replacement Dave Trembley early before fading late. Miguel Tejada broke a bone in his wrist at midseason, causing his consecutive games streak -- the fifth-longest in Major League history -- to end. Second baseman Brian Roberts returned to form, and Erik Bedard led the American League in strikeouts (221). Nick Markakis played in 161 games and led the team with 112 RBIs.
The Orioles started out hot and faded down the stretch, losing 11 of their last 12 and 28 of their last 34 games en route to their 11th straight losing season. The season was marked by the absence of former standouts Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard, who were traded before the year to enact a new rebuilding movement. Jeremy Guthrie established himself as the team's staff ace, and Aubrey Huff had a huge resurgence to win the AL's Silver Slugger for designated hitters. Right fielder Nick Markakis had another prime season in the middle of the batting order and Adam Jones successfully took over in center field, giving the Orioles two building blocks to watch going forward.
The Orioles finished 2009 with a 64-98 record, fifth place in American League East Division. The Orioles saw a breakout season from Adam Jones and the introduction to the Major Leagues for catcher Matt Wieters, who was billed by many analysts as the best prospect in baseball. Wieters slowly became more comfortable at the plate as the season progressed and ended the year on an impressive surge. Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts reprised their roles as the team's two most dangerous hitters, and Nolan Reimold established himself as a keeper. Perhaps nobody inspires more optimism than twin prospects Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz, who both made it to the Majors before their 23rd birthday and held their own in their late-season auditions.
While the O's first half of the season was marred by injury, inconsistency and underperformance, the tide turned on Aug. 2 when Buck Showalter stepped in as the new manager. Buoyed by the second-half additions of a healthy Brian Roberts, Felix Pie, Koji Uehara, Jim Johnson and Michael Gonzalez, the Orioles posted their first winning August in 13 seasons. Simply put, Baltimore saved its best baseball for the final two months of the season, finishing with the AL East's best record in August and September.
The Orioles finished the 2011 season with their 14th consecutive losing season, the second-longest active streak in the Majors. Top pitching prospect Zach Britton made his Major League debut, and promising young catcher Matt Wieters was selected to his first All-Star team. The Orioles acquired pitcher Tommy Hunter and infielder Chris Davis in a midseason trade with Texas that cost them Japanese reliever Koji Uehara. For the second consecutive season, Brian Roberts was noticeably absent on the field as the second baseman suffered a concussion in May and never returned. The team lost a valuable member of Orioles history with the sudden passing of color commentator Mike Flanagan, a death that rocked the collective baseball world. President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail chose not to seek a contract extension at the end of the season, making way for November's hiring of Dan Duquette as executive vice president of baseball operations.
The Baltimore Orioles reached the postseason for the first time in 15 years, winning their first playoff game in the first year of the extra Wild Card team in each division. The O's defeated the Texas Rangers, with left-handed starter Joe Saunders playing the part of unlikely hero in a season full of underdogs. Saunders picked up his first career win at Rangers Ballpark, where he was 0-6 with a 9.38 ERA in 6 career starts, and closer Jim Johnson nailed down the 5-1 victory to advance the Orioles to the American League Division Series. Facing the New York Yankees, who had the best record in the AL, the O's lost the series in five games, ending the success of a wild ride no one saw coming. The organization, which celebrated its 59th season in Baltimore, also paid tribute to the famed Oriole Ballpark at Camden Yards' 20th season. There was plenty of celebrate in the present, with the Major League debut of top prospects infielder Manny Machado and pitcher Dylan Bundy, along with surprising heroics from rookie pitchers Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez. The turnaround was led by manager Buck Showalter, who helped engineer the 93-69 year in his second full season, with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette taking over for president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail the previous winter. Duquette made lots of smaller moves that paid off big time, most notably trading for pitcher Jason Hammel and signing outfielder Nate McLouth.
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