History

The Baltimore Orioles are an American professional baseball team based in Baltimore, Maryland. The Orioles compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member of the American League (AL) East division. One of the AL’s eight charter franchises when the league was established in 1901 with President Ban Johnson, this particular franchise spent its first year as a major league club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin as the Milwaukee Brewers before moving to St. Louis, Missouri to become the St. Louis Browns. After 52 often-beleaguered years in St. Louis, the franchise was purchased in November 1953 by Baltimore business interests led by Clarence Miles. The franchise officially moved to Baltimore for the 1954 season and adopted the historic “Orioles” name in honor of the official state bird of Maryland. The Orioles name had also been used by several previous major and minor league baseball clubs in Baltimore, including the franchise that would eventually become the New York Yankees. Nicknames for the team include the “O’s” and the “Birds”.

The Orioles experienced their greatest success from 1966 to 1983, when they made six World Series appearances, winning three of them (1966, 1970, 1983). The franchise has also won a total of nine division championships (1969–1971, 1973–1974, 1979, 1983, 1997, 2014), six pennants (1966, 1969–1971, 1979, 1983), three wild card berths (1996, 2012, 2016), and five Most Valuable Player Awards (third baseman Brooks Robinson in 1964, outfielder Frank Robinson in 1966, first baseman Boog Powell in 1970, and shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. in 1983 and 1991).

Baltimore Orioles

 The “Oriole Bird”, official mascot figure since April 6, 1979.

The Miles-Krieger (Gunther Brewing Company)-Hoffberger group renamed their new team the Baltimore Orioles soon after taking control of the franchise. The name has a rich history in Baltimore, having been used by a National League team in the 1890s. In 1901, Baltimore and McGraw were awarded an expansion franchise in the growing American League, naming the team the Orioles. After a battle with Ban Johnson, the Head of the American League in 1902, McGraw took many of the top players including Dan McGann, Roger Bresnahan and Joe McGinnity to the New York Giants. As an affront to Johnson, McGraw kept the black and orange colors of the New York Giants, which San Francisco wears to this day. In 1903, the rest of the team was transferred to New York where they were nicknamed the Highlanders until circa 1912, by which time Yanks or Yankees had taken over as their popular monicker. As a member of the high-minor league level International League, the Orioles competed at what is now known as the AAA level from 1903 to 1953. When Oriole Park burned down in 1944, the team moved to a temporary home, Municipal Stadium, where they won the Junior World Series. Their large postseason crowds caught the attention of the major leagues, eventually leading to a new MLB franchise in Baltimore.

Seeds of success (1954–1959)

After starting the 1954 campaign with a two-game split against the Tigers in Detroit, the Orioles returned to Baltimore on April 15 to a welcoming parade that wound through the streets of downtown, with an estimated 350,000 spectators lining the route. In its first-ever home opener at Memorial Stadium later in the afternoon, they treated a sellout crowd of 46,354 to a 3–1 victory over the Chicago White Sox. The remainder of the season would not be as pleasant, with the team enduring 100 losses while avoiding the AL cellar by only three games. With fellow investors both frustrated with his domination of the franchise’s business operations and dissatisfied with yet another seventh-place finish, Clarence Miles resigned in early November 1955. Real estate developer James Keelty, Jr. succeeded him as president with investment banker Joseph Iglehart the new board chairman.

The seeds of long-term success were planted on September 14, 1954, when the Orioles hired Paul Richards to become the ballclub’s manager and general manager. He laid the foundation for what would years later be called the Oriole Way. The instruction of baseball fundamentals became uniform in every detail between all classes within the organization. Players were patiently refined until fundamentally sound instead of being hastily advanced to the next level.

For the remainder of the 1950s, the Orioles crawled up the standings, reaching as high as fifth place with a 76–76 record in 1957. Richards succeeded in stocking the franchise with a plethora of young talent which included Dave Nicholson, Pete Ward, Ron Hansen (1960 AL Rookie of the Year), Milt Pappas, Jerry Adair, Steve Barber (20 wins in 1963), Boog Powell, Dave McNally and Brooks Robinson. Unfortunately, Richards also had the tendency to recklessly spend money on individuals with dubious baseball skills. This became a major problem as bidding wars between the ballclubs to land the best amateur players escalated signing bonuses.

The solution came on November 5, 1958, when Lee MacPhail was appointed general manager, allowing Richards to focus on his managerial duties. MacPhail added much needed discipline to the scouting staff by establishing cross-checkers who thoroughly evaluated young hopefuls to determine whether they were worthy of being tendered a contract. He also accepted the title of president after Keelty resigned in mid-December 1959.

Glory years (1966–1983)

In the 1960s, the Orioles farm system produced an especially large number of high-quality players and coaches and laid the foundation for two decades of on-field success. This period included eighteen consecutive winning seasons (1968–1985) — a run of success that saw the Orioles become the envy of the league, and the winningest team in baseball.

During this period, the Orioles played baseball the “Oriole Way”, an organizational ethic best described by longtime farm hand and coach Cal Ripken, Sr.’s phrase “perfect practice makes perfect!” The Oriole Way was a belief that hard work, professionalism, and a strong understanding of fundamentals were the keys to success at the major league level. It was based on the belief that if every coach, at every level, taught the game the same way, the organization could produce “replacement parts” that could be substituted seamlessly into the big league club with little or no adjustment. Elaborations on the Oriole way include pitching coach and manager Ray Miller’s maxim “Work fast, change speeds, and throw strikes” and manager Earl Weaver’s maxim “Pitching, defense and three-run homers.” ” The “Oriole Way” began flourishing in 1966 after the Robinson-for-Pappas deal, as Robinson won the “Triple Crown Award”. His Orioles would easily sweep the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1966 World Series. After a mediocre 1967 season, Hank Bauer would be replaced by Earl Weaver halfway into 1968. The Orioles would finish second in the American League. This would only be a prelude to 1969, when the Orioles won 109 games and easily won the newly created American League East division title. Mike Cuellar shared the Cy Young Award with Detroit’s Denny McLain. After sweeping Minnesota in the American League Championship Series, Baltimore was shocked by losing to the New York Mets in a five-game World Series. The next year, Boog Powell won the MVP and the Orioles won another 108 games. After sweeping the Twins once again in the ALCS, the Orioles won the 1970 World Series by defeating the Cincinnati Reds’ Big Red Machine in five games.

In 1971, the Orioles won another division title thanks to four 20-game winners on their pitching staff (Cuellar, Jim Palmer, Pat Dobson, and Dave McNally). After defeating the young Oakland A’s in the ALCS, the Orioles would lose a heartbreaking seven-game World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Orioles would miss the playoffs in 1972, but rebounded to win the division in 1973 and 1974. Each time, they would lose to Oakland in the ALCS. During this stretch, the Orioles began to phase out their veteran infield by replacing Davey Johnson and Brooks Robinson with younger stars Bobby Grich and Doug DeCinces, respectively. Johnson would be dealt along with Johnny Oates to the Atlanta Braves for catcher and 1971 National League Rookie of the Year Earl Williams. Although Williams had hit 63 home runs in two seasons with Atlanta, he would only hit 36 homers in two seasons with the Orioles.

In 1975, the Birds acquired slugger Lee May in a trade with Houston, and traded Dave McNally, Rich Coggins and minor-league pitcher Bill Kirkpatrick to Montreal for star outfielder Ken Singleton, and future 20-game winner Mike Torrez. Jim Palmer won the Cy Young Award, but the Orioles lost the division title to the Boston Red Sox and their mega-rookies Fred Lynn and Jim Rice. The 1976 season brought Reggie Jackson and Ken Holtzman from a trade with Oakland, but the Orioles only won 88 games. It was this season when the Orioles made a trade that brought them players such as Tippy Martinez and Rick Dempsey. This young foundation, along with the departures of the unhappy Jackson and Holtzman, would create the basis for 1977. The “No Name Orioles”, along with Rookie of the Year Eddie Murray, won 97 games and finished tied for second place with Boston. After finishing fourth in 1978, the Orioles finally won the division in 1979 thanks to strong play from Ken Singleton and Cy Young winner Mike Flanagan. The Orioles defeated the Angels in the ALCS, but lost to Pittsburgh in another stunning World Series. This started a short period of heartbreak for Baltimore that would nevertheless culminate in a championship.

The Orioles won 100 games in 1980 thanks to Cy Young winner Steve Stone, but the Yankees won 103 games. Although Baltimore had the best overall record in the AL East in 1981, they finished second in each half. As a result, they were out of the playoffs due to the postseason structure that year because of the strike. The 1982 campaign saw Baltimore eliminated on the final weekend of the season by the Milwaukee Brewers. In an unforgettable scene, despite the season-ending loss eliminating them from the playoffs, fans stayed to honor the retiring Earl Weaver, who would be succeeded by Joe Altobelli. In 1983, Altobelli would lead the Orioles to 98 wins and a division title thanks to MVP Cal Ripken, Jr.. The Orioles defeated the Chicago White Sox in the ALCS thanks to a 10th-inning homer by Tito Landrum in the deciding game. The Orioles won the World Series in five games by defeating the Philadelphia Phillies.

During their most productive years and only World Series championships thus far, the Orioles saw three of its players named MVP: Frank Robinson in 1966; Boog Powell in 1970; and Cal Ripken, Jr. in 1983. Additionally, Brooks Robinson was named Most Valuable Player in 1964, just two years before the 1966–1983 golden era began. The pitching staff was phenomenal, with four pitchers winning six Cy Young Awards (Mike Cuellar in 1969; Jim Palmer in 1973, 1975, and 1976; Mike Flanagan in 1979; and Steve Stone in 1980). In 1971, the team’s four starting pitchers, McNally, Cuellar, Palmer, and Pat Dobson, all won 20 games, a feat that has not been replicated. In that year, the Birds went on to post a 101–61 record for their third-straight AL East title.[8] Also during this stretch three players were named rookies of the year: Al Bumbry (1973); Eddie Murray (1977); and Cal Ripken, Jr. (1982). One might date the glory years of the Orioles dating back to 1964, which would include two third-place seasons, 1964–65, in which the Orioles won 97 and 94 games, respectively, and a year in which third-baseman Brooks Robinson won his Most Valuable Player Award (1964). The glory years of the Orioles effectively ended when the Detroit Tigers, a divisional rival at the time, went 35–5 to open the 1984 season on the way to winning the World Series, in which Hall-of-Fame pitcher Jim Palmer retired during the 1984 season.

From Wikipedia