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All-Time Team – Baltimore Orioles/St. Louis Browns
Originally the St. Louis Browns, the franchise re-named itself the Orioles after it moved to the city of Baltimore prior to the start of the 1954 campaign. As a result, the All-Time Team presented here includes members of both the Orioles and the Browns.
First Base – George Sisler
This was a close call between two of the greatest first basemen in baseball history – George Sisler and Eddie Murray. Sisler spent 12 of his 15 major league seasons in St. Louis, establishing himself in the process as the finest American League first baseman prior to Lou Gehrig. Sisler hit only 93 home runs for the Browns, but he knocked in 959 runs, scored 1,091 others, accumulated 2,295 hits and 145 triples, stole 351 bases, batted .344, and compiled on-base and slugging percentages of .384 and .481, respectively. Murray played for the Orioles for 13 years, posting superior power numbers to Sisler, even though their overall statistics were extremely comparable. Murray hit 343 home runs and drove in 1,224 runs for the Birds, while scoring a total of 1,084 runs, amassing 2,080 hits (only 25 of which were triples), stealing just 62 bases, batting .294, compiling an on-base percentage of .370, and posting a slugging percentage of .498. Murray was also a fine fielder, winning three consecutive Gold Gloves. But Sisler was generally considered to be the best fielding first baseman of his day, leading all league first basemen in assists no fewer than seven times. He also was an outstanding base-runner, stealing more than 30 bases six times and leading the A.L. in thefts on four separate occasions. The thing that finally tipped the scales in favor of Sisler, though, was the greater level of dominance he displayed during his time with the Browns. Murray posted outstanding numbers year after year, but he led the A.L. in a major offensive category a total of only four times during his years in Baltimore. On the other hand, Sisler was a league-leader on 11 separate occasions, topping the junior circuit with amazing totals of 257 and 246 hits in 1920 and 1922, respectively, while also leading the league with batting averages of .407 and .420 those two years. Oriole fans might not like it, but Sisler is the choice here for the franchise’s all-time first baseman.
Second Base – Brian Roberts
This was a much easier decision. In his 10 years in Baltimore, Brian Roberts has clearly established himself as the best second baseman in franchise history. Roberts has batted over .290 three times, scored more than 100 runs four times, amassed more than 50 doubles three times, and stolen more than 20 bases on seven separate occasions. His outstanding play has earned him two All-Star selections.
Third Base – Brooks Robinson
Another easy choice…Brooks Robinson in a landslide over Doug DeCinces and Melvin Mora. The winner of an all-time record 16 Gold Gloves, Robinson was also a pretty fair hitter, compiling 268 home runs, 1,357 runs batted in, and 2,848 hits over the course of his career.
Shortstop – Cal Ripken Jr.
While “The Streak” became a national obsession, Cal Ripken Jr. continued to post numbers that place him among the greatest shortstops of all-time. He hit 431 home runs, drove in 1,695 runs, scored 1,647 others, accumulated 3,184 hits, and won two MVP Awards during his 21 seasons in Baltimore.
Left Field – Ken Williams
Although most Oriole fans have probably never heard of him, Ken Williams was the first major leaguer to surpass 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season. Williams accomplished the feat for the Browns in 1922, when he led the A.L. with 39 home runs and 155 runs batted in, while also stealing 37 bases, scoring 128 runs, and batting .332. Williams hit a total of 185 home runs in his nine full seasons with the team, also knocking in 808 runs, scoring 757 others, batting .326, and posting on-base and slugging percentages of .403 and .558, respectively.
Center Field – Brady Anderson
Brady Anderson’s .257 batting average over the course of his 14 seasons in Baltimore wasn’t particularly impressive, and his 1996 power-display was clearly an aberration. Nevertheless, he accomplished enough during his time with the Orioles to get the not for the starting center field spot on their All-Time Team. Batting leadoff much of the time, Anderson hit 209 home runs, scored 1,044 runs, compiled 1,614 hits, and stole 307 bases for the Birds. He performed his best during the aforementioned 1996 campaign, when he established career highs with 50 home runs, 110 runs batted in, 117 runs scored, and a .297 batting average, while also stealing 21 bases and posting a .637 slugging percentage. Anderson didn’t come close to matching most of those numbers in any other season, but he did manage to hit more than 20 home runs two other times and score more than 100 runs on three other occasions. Paul Blair was a better defensive centerfielder, but Anderson was no slouch, and he was much more of a threat on offense. As a result, Blair and his eight Gold Gloves will have to settle for a spot on the bench.
Right Field –Frank Robinson
Ken Singleton had several outstanding seasons in Baltimore, compiling totals of 182 home runs, 766 RBIs, 684 runs scored, and 1,455 hits in his 10 years with the team, while also posting a batting average of .284 and an on-base percentage of .388. The switch-hitting outfielder earned two top-five finishes in the league MVP voting, doing so in both 1977 and 1979. In the first of those campaigns, he hit 24 homers, knocked in 99 runs, batted .328, and compiled an exceptional .438 on-base percentage. Two years later, he established career highs with 35 home runs and 111 runs batted in, while also batting .295 and posting a .405 on-base percentage. Singleton played for two pennant-winning teams and one world championship club during his time in Baltimore. Frank Robinson, though, led the Orioles to four pennants and two world championships in his six years with the team. He captured A.L. MVP honors in 1966 when he won the Triple Crown by leading the league with 49 homers, 122 RBIs, and a .316 batting average, while also topping the circuit with 122 runs scored, a .410 on-base percentage, and a .637 slugging percentage. Robinson earned five All-Star selections and three top-five finishes in the league MVP balloting while playing for the Orioles. Furthermore, his competitive spirit and fierce determination turned the Orioles into a perennial contender, making Robinson the clear-cut choice over Singleton as the team’s starting right fielder.
Catcher - Gus Triandos
After being acquired from the Yankees prior to the start of the 1955 season, Gus Triandos spent the next eight years with the Orioles, serving them primarily as a catcher. During his time in Baltimore, Triandos hit 142 home runs and knocked in 517 runs, surpassing 20 homers three times and 75 RBIs twice. Triandos had his two best years in 1956 and 1958. In the first of those campaigns, he hit 21 home runs and established career highs with 88 runs batted in and a .279 batting average. Two years later, he hit a career-best 30 homers and drove in 79 runs. Triandos appeared in three All-Star Games while with Baltimore.
Designated Hitter - Eddie Murray
Jim Gentile, Boog Powell, Lee May, and Ken Singleton all had some big years for the Orioles, and each of them would have made an excellent designated hitter. However, once the decision was made to put George Sisler at first base, it became a foregone conclusion that Eddie Murray would be slotted into the DH spot.
Starting Pitcher – Jim Palmer
The greatest pitcher in Orioles history, Jim Palmer holds franchise records for most wins (268), innings pitched (3,948), shutouts (53), and strikeouts (2,212). A superb pitcher from the time he first joined the Orioles in 1965, Palmer posted a career ERA of 2.86, finishing with a mark below 3.00 in nine of his 14 seasons as a regular member of the team’s starting rotation. The lean right-hander surpassed 20 victories on seven separate occasions, leading the American League in wins three times. Palmer won three Cy Young Awards and appeared in six All-Star games during his 19-year career, spent entirely with the Orioles.
Starting Pitcher – Dave McNally
A four-time 20-game winner, Dave McNally was a mainstay of the Orioles’ starting staff from 1965 to 1974. After debuting with Baltimore shortly before the end of the 1962 campaign, McNally gradually worked his way into the team’s starting rotation, establishing himself as the ace of the staff by 1968. The left-hander posted a combined record of 87-31 from 1968 to 1971, surpassing 20 victories all four seasons and leading the league with 24 wins in 1970. McNally had perhaps his finest season in 1968, when he finished 22-10, with a 1.95 ERA and 18 complete games. He ended his 13-year stint in Baltimore with a record of 181-113 and an ERA of 3.18.
Starting Pitcher – Mike Cuellar
The third member of Baltimore’s outstanding trio of starters that helped lead the team to three straight World Series appearances from 1969 to 1971, Mike Cuellar blossomed into a star after the Orioles stole him from the Houston Astros for Curt Blefary at the conclusion of the 1968 campaign. Originally a reliever, Cuellar developed a screwball during his time in Houston that eventually turned him into one of the game’s most effective pitchers. In his first year with the Orioles, the left-hander finished 23-11, with a 2.38 ERA and 18 complete games, to earn a share of the Cy Young trophy (Detroit’s Denny McLain was named co-winner). Cuellar followed that up with 24 victories in 1970 and another 20 wins in 1971. He surpassed 20 victories in four of his eight seasons in Baltimore, winning 18 games another two times. Cuellar’s overall record with the Orioles was 143-88, with a 3.18 ERA.
Starting Pitcher – Mike Mussina
Although the Orioles rarely contended for the A.L. pennant during his time with them, Mike Mussina posted an outstanding 147-81 record in his 10 years with the club. Mussina surpassed 13 victories in eight of his nine years as a regular member of Baltimore’s starting rotation, posting at least 18 victories on four separate occasions. He had his three best years in 1992, 1994, and 1995. In the first of those seasons, Mussina finished 18-5, with a 2.54 ERA. He then went 16-5 during the strike-shortened 1994 campaign, with a 3.06 ERA. Mussina led the league with 19 victories the following year, while also compiling a 3.29 ERA and a league-leading four shutouts. Mussina made the All-Star Team five times while with Baltimore.
Starting Pitcher – Urban Shocker
Urban Shocker edged out Mike Flanagan and Barney Pelty for the final spot in the starting rotation. Pelty posted a losing record for the St. Louis Browns during the first decade of the 20th century, but was clearly a victim of circumstance. The Browns were a poor team, preventing Pelty from compiling the type of record befitting someone of his talents. The right-hander compiled a 2.62 ERA over the course of his 10 seasons with the club, posting a mark below 2.00 on two separate occasions. He also completed at least 25 of his starts a total of four times. Meanwhile, Flanagan compiled a record of 141-116 in his 15 years in Baltimore, earning A.L. Cy Young honors in 1979, when he went 23-9, with a 3.08 ERA and a league-leading five shutouts. The left-hander won at least 15 games five times for the Orioles. Nevertheless, the decision here was to go with Shocker, who pitched extremely well for mostly mediocre Browns teams during the 1920s. The right-hander spent seven years in St. Louis, during which time he surpassed 20 victories four times. Shocker won a league-leading 27 games in 1921, then followed that up by posting another 24 victories in 1922. He compiled an ERA below 3.00 four times for the Browns, completing more than 20 of his starts on four separate occasions and also throwing more than 300 innings twice. Shocker posted an overall record of 126-80 in his seven years with the Browns.
Closer – Gregg Olson
Stu Miller and Tippy Martinez also merited consideration, but Gregg Olson’s 160 saves in his six seasons in Baltimore ended up being the deciding factor. After first joining the Orioles in 1988, Olson assumed the role of closer the following year. He spent the next five years averaging 32 saves per-season, while posting an ERA well below 3.00 all but once, including two seasons with a mark below 2.00. Olsson also averaged about a strikeout an inning, while allowing the opposition far fewer hits than innings pitched.
Manager – Earl Weaver
The cantankerous one, Earl Weaver established himself as one of the finest managers in baseball during his time in Baltimore. Weaver led the Orioles to six A.L. East titles, four pennants, and one world championship in his 17 years as skipper, piloting the team to an overall record of 1,480-1,060, for an excellent .583 winning percentage. Though sometimes criticized for depending too much on the “big inning,” Weaver wisely built his teams primarily around good pitching and solid defense.
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