Baseball History

History of the Baltimore Orioles

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The Baltimore Orioles came to fruition via St. Louis. The major league baseball owners approved the move of the St. Louis Browns to Baltimore, thus creating the major league franchise known as the Baltimore Orioles. Born in 1953, the Orioles were an immediate hit with the Baltimore fans. The team lost 100 games and finished 57 games behind in their division. Amazingly, the team drew 1,060,910 fans that first season in spite of their futility. The 1957 season spurned the first season of .500 baseball which was an indication of things to come.

The decade of the sixties started with the Orioles making their first pennant run. They finished 1960 with 85 wins and the emergence of stars like Brooks Robinson was eminent. In 1964, the Orioles were in first place late in the season with the Yankees and the Chicago White Sox in hot pursuit. The Yankees put together an eleven game win streak that closed out the Orioles from the pennant. In 1966 another Robinson was added to the Baltimore roster. Frank Robinson along with Brooks led the Orioles to a World Series victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in a four game sweep. In 1969 another Hall of Famer anchored the Baltimore pitching staff. Jim Palmer went on an eleven game win streak which led the Orioles to the American League Championship Series where they defeated the Minnesota Twins. Their second appearance in the World Series was against the Miracle Mets. The Mets had come from way behind to win their division title and went on to beat the Orioles in the World Series.

In 1970, the Orioles were led by three twenty game winners. Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar, and Dave McNally took Baltimore to the World Series again after sweeping the Twins in the ALCS. This time the Orioles ran in to the "Big Red Machine" and the Orioles were up to the challenge by beating the Cincinnati Reds 4 games to 1. Brooks Robinson was named most valuable player with a .429 batting average in the series. In 1971 the Orioles added yet another twenty game winner to their pitching staff. Pat Dobson joined Cuellar, McNally, and Palmer in winning twenty games again. The birds made their third appearance in a row in the World Series falling to Roberto Clemente and the Pittsburgh Pirates in a hard fought seven game series. In 1973 Baltimore returned to the ALCS but was defeated by the Oakland Athletics. Earl Weaver was voted Manager of the Year for the first time in his career. In 1979, the Orioles returned to the World Series to take on the Pirates again. Baltimore went out to a three games to one lead but the Pirates rebounded and went on to win the series in seven games.

The early eighties saw Baltimore continue to be very competitive and successful. Names like Cal Ripken Jr., Eddie Murray, and Rick Dempsey started grabbing the headlines. In addition, Earl Weaver announced his retirement and the managerial reigns were handed over to Joe Altobelli. In 1983, the Orioles returned to the Fall Classic to take on the Philadelphia Phillies and Pete Rose. The birds were up to the challenge and won their third World Series title. The eighties ended with owner Edward Bennett Williams striking a deal with the city for a new ballpark and long term lease to keep the Orioles in Baltimore. In addition, Frank Robinson was named Manager of the Year in 1989 as the Orioles came up just short in another tight division race.

Cal Ripken Jr. started off the nineties in style. He won MVP, All-Star MVP, and Major League Player of the Year. In addition, the last game at Memorial Stadium was played in 1991. The very next year the Orioles opened up their new state of the art baseball stadium. Camden Yards became the new home for the Baltimore Orioles. In 1995 one of the most amazing records in baseball was broken. Cal Ripken Jr. became the new iron man in baseball as he tied and broke Lou Gehrig's record for most consecutive games played. In 1996, Baltimore qualified for the playoffs as a wild card team and was eventually beaten in the ALCS by eventual World Series champions, the New York Yankees. The late nineties gave way to players like Rafael Palmiero, Roberto Alomar, and B.J. Surhoff. These Baltimore greats led the team to another divisional title as they took on the Cleveland Indians in a divisional playoff. The Orioles came up short in a losing effort. In 1998 Ray Miller took over the reigns as manager and rebuilding began.

Year 2000 began with Mike Hargrave taking over as manager of the Orioles. The following year the cornerstone of the Orioles announced his retirement. Cal Ripken Jr. called it quits but not before being named MVP of the All Star game. Still swimming in mediocrity, the team announced Lee Mazilli as its new manager in 2004 and brought names like Miguel Tejada, Javy Lopez, and rookie Daniel Cabrera to Baltimore. In addition, the birds promoted players from within the organization to rebuild their team. Sam Perlozzo was added as the new manager.

The Baltimore Orioles have a rich history in winning. Today, the franchise is in the rebuilding phase of trying to get back to the World Series. The teams they have fielded over the years have won World Series and many individual awards. The Orioles franchise is as solid as any in Major League Baseball.

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