When your baseball franchise has lasted well over a century, you’re bound to have plenty of managers along the way. A lot of them end up being not so great at the job and don’t last for very long, while others become Hall of Famers. The Baltimore Orioles have had dozens of managers to lead the team throughout the franchise’s history, some of which stuck around for just a couple of games.
Out of all of the men that have managed the Orioles, though, which ones are the best? Here are our picks for the five greatest managers in Baltimore Orioles history.
5. Joe Altobelli
Detroit native Joe Altobelli had a lengthy playing career but spent most of his time in Minor League Baseball. He hit .210 for the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins over three different seasons between 1955 and 1961. In 1977, Altobelli became a manager for the first time, spending three seasons leading the San Francisco Giants.
Altobelli finished with a record of 225-239 with San Francisco and after a few years away from managing, he took over the Orioles in 1983. In his first season, Altobelli won the World Series with the Orioles after a 98-64 regular season. The following season, the Orioles finished 85-77 and in 1985 he was fired after the team started 29-26.
4. Paul Richards
Despite not playing between 1935 and 1943, Paul Richards spent a lot of time in the Major Leagues from 1932 to 1946 as a player for four different franchises. He became the manager for the Chicago White Sox in 1951 but resigned following the 1954 season despite posting a career-best 91-54 record
Richards was hired by the Orioles prior to the 1955 season and was also given the title of general manager, and he spent seven seasons leading the O’s. During that time, Richards had a record of 517-539 before resigning toward the end fo the 1961 season even though the team was on its way to its best record under his leadership.
3. Hank Bauer
Hank Bauer was a fine ballplayer in his time, spending most of his career with the New York Yankees following World War II. Bauer was a three-time All-Star in New York, and he went immediately into managing at the end of his playing career, spending 1961 and 1962 leading the Kansas City Athletics.
In 1964, Bauer made the move to Baltimore where he found immediate success. Bauer won 97 games in his first season, which was followed up with a 94 win campaign. In 1966, Bauer led the Orioles to another 97-win season, but this time they made the World Series and swept the Los Angeles Dodgers for the franchise’s first World Series.
2. Buck Showalter
It seems like the list of teams that Buck Showalter hasn’t managed would actually be shorter, as he’s spent time leading five different franchises in the MLB. From 1992 to 1995, Showalter had the difficult task of managing the Yankees under George Steinbrenner, and from 1998 to 2001 he led the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Following a four-season stint in the mid-2000s with the Texas Rangers, Showalter became manager of the Baltimore Orioles in 2010. He would stay with the team through the 2018 season. It was clear that the Orioles were tanking in his final season and going in a new direction, and if you take out the 47-115 record in that last year, Showalter finished with an impressive 622-569 mark.
1. Earl Weaver
There’s almost no debate that the greatest manager in Orioles history is Earl Weaver, who first took over the team in 1968 and continued his career through the 1982 season. After leaving the franchise for two seasons, Weaver returned to manage the 1985 and 1986 seasons before calling it a career that got him into the Hall of Fame.
Weaver’s Orioles won the American League East six times while he was in the dugout, and made it to the World Series four times. Weaver had one World Series win which came in 1970 after the Orioles defeated the Cincinnati Reds to cap off their 108-win season.