While the Orioles, to some people, still feel like a team that entered the league in the 1990s (thanks to Camden Yards), they are actually among the oldest franchise in Major League Baseball. For more than a century, the Orioles have experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, with a lot of surprises along the way.
What really stands out as the most shocking to hear, though? Here are five surprising facts about the Baltimore Orioles throughout their long and sometimes illustrious history.
They Were Originally The Milwaukee Brewers
There is a Milwaukee Brewers franchise in Major League Baseball that has been active since their move from Seattle in 1970, but the current Baltimore Orioles were the original Milwaukee Brewers. That’s right, the Orioles franchise roots date back to the 1870s when they were a minor league team named the Milwaukee Brewers, and moved up to the American League in 1901 for one season.
The following year, the Brewers moved to St. Louis, becoming the Browns. When owner Bill Veeck was forced to sell the team, they were moved to Baltimore under the Miles-Krieger-Hoffberger group and renamed the Orioles in 1954. The team has operated as the Baltimore Orioles ever since.
They Match The Yankees For One Obscure Record
Through the 2022 MLB season, there have only been 13 seasons in which a team has won at least 108 games. The 1906 Chicago Cubs were the first to do it, winning a whopping 116 games to set the standard that has yet to be broken. Since then, several franchises including the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates have reached 108 wins, but only two teams have done it twice.
The Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees are the only two, with the Yankees accomplishing the feat three times. The Orioles did it in back-to-back seasons, winning 109 games in 1969 and then 108 games in 1970. The team reached the World Series in both years, winning it all in 1970 over the Cincinnati Reds.
Only Three Teams Have Longer Pennant Droughts
After having tremendous success from the late 1960s through the 1970s, the Baltimore Orioles crowned the peak of the franchise’s success with a World Series title in 1983 over the Philadelphia Phillies. Since then, the Orioles have yet to win the American League pennant and get back to the World Series.
That drought is the fourth longest in Major League Baseball, and the second longest in the American League behind the Seattle Mariners, who have never reached the World Series. The two National League teams with longer pennant droughts are the Pittsburgh Pirates (1979) and Milwaukee Brewers (1982), who we know as the new Orioles.
Cal Ripken Leads In Just About Everything
It’s probably not a surprise that Cal Ripken Jr. holds a lot of franchise records since he has the most games played for the franchise and the most consecutive games by any MLB player. However, Ripken holds just about every single batting record. This includes having the most hits, doubles, home runs, runs batted in, walks, and even strikeouts.
There are a couple of franchise records that Ripken doesn’t hold though, surprisingly. Brady Anderson holds the record for the most times hit by a pitch, getting plunked 148 times. Ripken also takes a backseat in franchise triples to George Sisler (145) and shares the record with Chris Davis for most strikeouts at 1,305. What makes this surprising is that Ripken played in almost three times as many games (3,001 to 1,151) as Davis.
Nobody Has Had A Worse Start To A Season
1988 was a rough year for Baltimore Orioles fans, with the team’s postseason hopes dashed before the end of April. That season, the Orioles started with 14 consecutive losses, which was the first time that’s happened in MLB history. Only the 1997 Chicago Cubs have matched that start ever since.
However, the streak didn’t end there. The Orioles continued to lose until their streak reached 21 games and were 16 games out of first place. The Orioles finally snapped their skid, defeating the Minnesota Twins 4-2.