The Baltimore Orioles have a long history that dates back to the late 19th century, and though the franchise has just three World Series titles, they have also had some of the best players in Major League Baseball. In terms of the best Orioles players of all time, you can probably guess who number one is, but where do the rest rank? Here are our picks for the five greatest Orioles in franchise history.
5. George Sisler
Starting the top five is George Sisler, who began his career way back in 1915 and held the American League record for hits in a season for a very long time before Ichiro Suzuki set the new standard in the 2000s. Sisler played with the Orioles before their move to Baltimore, spending 12 seasons with what was then the St. Louis Browns.
During his career with the franchise, Sisler posted a .344 batting average with 93 home runs and 962 runs batted in, collecting an MVP Award in 1922. Sisler won two batting titles and was a master of stolen bases, swiping a career-high 51 bags during his MVP season. Sisler was even the Browns’ manager for three seasons and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.
4. Eddie Murray
“Steady” Eddie Murray is one of just a handful of players that’s hit 500 home runs while recording 3,000 career hits. Murray had two stints with the Orioles, starting his career in Baltimore from 1977 to 1988 and returning for the 1996 season. Murray was a seven-time All-Star with the Orioles and took home the Rookie of the Year Award with a .283 batting average and 27 home runs.
In his overall Orioles career, Murray slugged 363 home runs and knocked in 1,224 runs with a .294 batting average. Murray was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003 in his first year on the ballot. He has also been inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame and has his jersey number 33 retired by the franchise.
3. Jim Palmer
The only pitcher on the list is Jim palmer, who spent his entire career with the Orioles between 1968 and 1984, only taking off the 1968 season. Palmer was named an American League All-Star six times during his career, winning four Gold Gloves and learning the league in wins for three years in a row between 1975 and 1977.
The crown jewel of Palmer’s career is being a three-time AL Cy Young Award winner, taking home the title in 1973, 1975, and 1976. After retiring in 1984, Palmer was a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 1990 and had his number 22 jersey retired as he was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame.
2. Brooks Robinson
There’s a reason Brooks Robinson was known as the “Human Vacuum Cleaner” thanks to his tremendous defensive play that won him 16 Gold Glove Awards, the most by a non-pitcher in baseball history. Robinson played his entire career with the Orioles that spanned from 1955 to 1977 and included a long list of non-Gold Glove Awards, too.
Robinson was named to the American League All-Star Team 18 times during his career and won the MVP Award in 1964 thanks to a .317 batting average, 28 home runs, and 118 runs batted in. Like the others on the list, Robinson was a first-ballot Hall of Famer and was inducted in 1983, and the number five jersey is retired in his honor.
1. Cal Ripken Jr.
It’s probably no surprise that the number one player on the list is Cal Ripken Jr., who will always be known for his consecutive games played record that’s almost guaranteed to never be broken. Ripken played all 21 of his Major League Baseball seasons with the Orioles, and the former Rookie of the Year was named to the American League All-Star Team 19 times.
Ripken was an eight-time Silver Slugger winner for being one of the best-hitting shortstops of all time, while also winning a pair of Gold Glove Awards. Ripken won two MVP Awards, the first coming in 1983 and the second in 1991. Ripken was nearly a unanimous Hall of Fame entry on his first time on the ballot in 2007 and no Oriole will wear number eight again.