And here I was thinking they’ve always been in Maryland!
Well I’ve been doing some research on the Orioles (admittedly while at the bar and watching the Mets) and I confess – I had no idea they weren’t Baltimore natives! Apparently, the Orioles existed as the St. Louis Browns from 1902 – 1953 before they were bought and moved to Maryland, and re-branded after the state bird, and the Orioles. Though they were wildly popular the first two decades in St. Louis, the Browns never won a World Series title until their move east. The wins were due in large part to one of their most famous players, the great slugging outfielder Frank Robinson, who actually lead them to two of their three World Series titles, in 1966 and 1970. Also helping the team was legendary coach Cal Ripken Sr., who worked with the Orioles minor league to shape players through intense practice and hard work, known as “The Oriole Way”.
Clearly Cal knew what he was doing, because the team racked up another win in 1983, and his son, Cal Ripken Jr. won Rookie of the Year in 1982 – the first of many accolades. The younger Ripken played with the O’s the entire 20 years of his career, broke the record for most consecutive games of any player, 2,632, was an All-Star for 19 seasons, 2 time Gold Glove winner, and several other insanely impressive accolades, not to mention copious amounts of charity work, and just being an all-around great guy. Picture Captain America playing baseball, and you get the idea. The Orioles made Cal Ripken Jr. the face of their organization, even referring to their stadium, Camden Yards, as ‘the house that Cal built’. Side note – I toured it myself nearly 2 decades ago, and it’s a fantastic park in the heart of downtown Baltimore that you should absolutely put on your bucket list to visit!
Sadly after Cal left in 2001, the team went on a downward spiral for over a decade, and only recently started to show signs of life in the past few years. In fact, this season they’re currently in first place in the AL East, followed closely behind in a tie for second, by the Red Sox and Blue Jays. That being said, there’s only two months left in the regular season, and this playoff race is about to get REALLY interesting, so keep your eyes peeled and stick around! You want to do your team proud, don’t you? 😉