July 8, 1958: Baltimore played host to its first-ever All Star Game. A capacity crowd of 48,829 watched the American League defeat the National League 4-3. The Orioles were represented by catcher Gus Triandos and pitcher Bill O'Dell.
On September 28, 1953, baseball's owners unanimously agreed upon the move of the St. Louis Browns to Baltimore. The move followed a season in which the Browns went 54-100 and drew a crowd of only 3,174 to their season finale, an 11-inning loss to Chicago.
The Orioles debut in the modern day game was not a stellar one, as they finished 54-100 and 57 games back in the division. However, the love affair with the Birds had begun as the O's drew 1,060,910 fans to their 67 home dates of their inaugural season.
The second season of the Orioles actually began in the previous off-season, as Paul Richards took over as manager and general manager and fashioned a 17-player trade with New York that brought eventual Orioles Hall of Famers Gus Triandos and Gene Woodling to the club. Triandos led the team with 12 homers and 65 RBI while the Birds improved by three wins (57-94) but remained in 7th place. Brooks Robinson, signed out of high school in June, made his big league debut in September.
The 1956 Orioles improved to 69-85 and finished 6th in the American League, led again by first baseman Gus Triandos with 21 homers and 85 RBI. Future Hall of Famer George Kell was acquired from the White Sox in late May and became the first Oriole to start in an All-Star Game.
An indication of better days appeared in '57 as the Birds finished at .500 for the first time. Veteran Connie Johnson (14-11, pictured right) led the charge of a surprising Orioles pitching staff that saw four pitchers throw shutouts on consecutive days in late June.
For the first time, the 1958 Orioles had four starters win at least 10 games during the season, finishing in 6th place with a 74-79 record. The Orioles hosted their first All-Star Game in 1958, with reliever Billy O'Dell retiring the last nine National League batters in a row for the save. Knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm, claimed on waivers in late August, made history by pitching the first no-hitter in club history, beating New York 1-0 on September 20 at Memorial Stadium.
Following the 1958 season, Lee MacPhail was hired as general manager, with Paul Richards remaining as manager. The 1959 Orioles finished 6th, led by 15-game winners Hoyt Wilhelm and Milt Pappas. Brooks Robinson, sent to AAA in early May, was recalled after the All-Star break, never to return to the minors.
The Orioles of 1960 made a charge for the pennant and the team emerged as a perennial contender. Finishing with 85 wins, it was clear that the future was bright with rookies Jim Gentile, Ron Hansen, and Steve Barber shining bright alongside more established players such as Milt Pappas and Brooks Robinson, who went to the first of his 16 All-Star Games.
After finishing 2nd the year before, the 1961 Orioles slogan was "It Can Be Done in '61." Despite a dazzling 95-67 record, however, they finished a distant 3rd behind the Yankees and Tigers. On May 9 at Minnesota, first baseman Jim Gentile became the first player in history to hit grand slams in consecutive innings. He went on to hit .302 with a club-record 46 homers and tied Roger Maris for the AL RBI lead with 146. The Orioles top four starting pitchers - Steve Barber, Milt Pappas, Jack Fisher and Chuck Estrada, all were 23 or younger - combined for 56 wins, giving rise to the nickname "the Kiddie Korps."
Paul Richards left the club in September to join the new Houston franchise in the National League.
The 1962 Orioles, under new manager Billy Hitchcock, slumped to 7th place in the league. The "Kiddie Korps" of starters - Steve Barber, Milt Pappas, Jack Fisher and Chuck Estrada - fell to 37-42 and saw their collective ERA rise by half a run from the season before.
The 1963 Orioles rebounded to an 86-76 record and 4th place finish. Lefty Steve Barber became the Orioles' first 20-game winner, going 20-13, and newly acquired shortstop Luis Aparicio became the first Oriole to lead the AL in stolen bases with 40. Second-year outfielder Boog Powell led the club with 25 homers.
Under new manager Hank Bauer in 1964, the Orioles were tied for the AL lead on September 18. Despite going 8-4 over their final 12 games, they finished in 3rd place with a 97-65 record, 2 games behind the Yankees (12-4 after September 18) and a game behind the White Sox (10-2 after September 18). Brooks Robinson was the AL's Most Valuable Player, batting .318 with 28 homers and 118 RBI. Boog Powell hit .290 with 39 homers and 99 RBI and Luis Aparicio led the AL for the 9th straight season with 57 steals, while rookie right-hander Wally Bunker led the pitching staff with a 19-5 record and 2.69 ERA.
The 1965 Orioles again finished in 3rd place. Six different pitchers won at least 10 games, led by Steve Barber's 15 victories. Reliever Stu Miller finished second with a 14-7 record and 24 saves. Outfielder Curt Blefary was named AL Rookie of the Year, hitting 22 homers with 70 RBI.
In a trade for Milt Pappas and two others, Frank Robinson (right) came to the Birds and proved to be the missing ingredient for the Championship. The Orioles defeated the favored LA Dodgers in the World Series with awe-inspiring pitching and timely power – traits that would become the staples of the franchise for years to come. The Birds won their first-ever title in decisive fashion, outscoring LA 13-2 in the Series for a 4-game sweep.
After winning their first World Series title the year before, the 1967 Orioles suffered from injuries and a collective slump, falling to 6th place and their first losing season in five years. The season was epitomized on June 27 when Frank Robinson – batting .337 in 68 games and on pace to surpass his previous season's homer and RBI totals with 21 and 59 – was injured sliding into second base against the White Sox. Robinson missed a month and suffered from blurred vision when he returned, batting .282 with 9 homers and 35 RBI over his final 60 games. Rookie Tom Phoebus was the only pitcher to win in double-figures, going 14-9.
With the Orioles in 3rd place, 10 1/2 games behind the Tigers at the All-Star break, first base coach Earl Weaver replaced Hank Bauer as manager. The Orioles rallied and went 48-34 in the second half finishing second in the league but 12 games behind Detroit. Left-hander Dave McNally went 22-10 and right-hander Jim Hardin finished 18-13, but the highlight of the season came on April 27 when Baltimore-born Tom Phoebus tossed a 6-0 no-hitter to beat the Red Sox at Memorial Stadium.
Jim Palmer's (16-4, pictured right) dominance was on display as he fired off an 11-game win streak in the summer of '69. The O's finished 109-53 and played the Minnesota Twins in the first American League Championship series, which they promptly swept in 3 games. The World Series pitted the favored Birds against the Miracle Mets who shocked all of baseball with a 4-1 victory in the Fall Classic.
The O's posted three 20-game winners in 1970 with Dave McNally (24-9) and Mike Cuellar (24-8) leading the way, followed by Jim Palmer, whose 20-10 record included five shutouts. Sweeping the Twins in the ALCS for the second straight year put the O's back in the Series against the NL champion Cincinnati Reds. However, the Big Red Machine proved to be no match for an Orioles team set on avenging '69's loss to the Mets. The Birds took the Series 4-1 for their second title behind the MVP play of Brooks Robinson who made several plays for the ages at third and batted .429.
Not satisfied with their pitching brilliance in 1970, the O's outdid themselves by posting four 20-game winners in '71. Pat Dobson joined McNally, Cuellar, and Palmer as the Birds went on to win 101 games. Again an ALCS sweep, over Oakland this time, put the Orioles into the World Series for the 3rd straight year where they would meet up with Roberto Clemente and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Clemente hit .414 and was the catalyst for a Pirates victory in a hard-fought seven game series.
The O's returned to form going 97-65 and facing the powerhouse A's in the ALCS. In the decisive final game it was Jim "Catfish" Hunter (right) who took the reigns and shutout the Birds 3-0 to clinch the title for Oakland. During the regular season rookie Al Bumbry shined as he hit .337 and stole 23 bases and Earl Weaver was voted Manager of the Year for the first time.
Orioles Magic came to town for the 1979 season as the Birds always seemed to find a way. If it wasn't a home run from someone you least expected, it was a late-inning rally that willed the O's to victory. Mike Flanagan (right) took over as the ace of the staff going 23-9 with 16 complete games, five shutouts, and a 3.08 ERA on his way to the Cy Young Award. The team finished 102-57 and faced the Pirates in the World Series where history repeated itself as the "We Are Family" Bucs overcame a 3-1 series deficit to win the Championship on an RBI single by Willie Stargell in the eighth inning of the decisive seventh game.
The Orioles won 100 games behind the brilliant pitching of Scott McGregor (20-8) and Steve Stone (25-7, pictured right), who went on to win the Cy Young, but finished 3 games behind the Yankees in the division. On the other side of the ball, Al Bumbry had 205 hits for the season and batted .318.
The 1981 season saw the Orioles finish one game behind Milwaukee for the best record in the AL East (59-46), but because of a strike-shortened season that was divided into two halves, the Orioles ended up finishing two games out of first in each half and missed the playoffs. Three starting pitchers - Cy Young winners Steve Stone, Mike Flanagan and Jim Palmer - missed significant time with injuries and combined to go only 20-21. Eddie Murray led the AL with 78 RBI and tied for the home run crown with 22, and Dennis Martinez tied for the league lead in wins with 14.
Rookie Cal Ripken Jr. (right) made his presence known early on, going 3-5 with a homer on Opening Day. Eddie Murray made a bid for the MVP award hitting .316 with 32 HR and 110 RBI. Earl Weaver announced that this would be his final season at the helm of the O's. The Orioles had an up and down season but made a heroic final charge down the stretch that put them into a tie with Milwaukee Brewers on the final day of the regular season and it was a head-to-head matchup. Unfortunately, league MVP Robin Yount and the rest of the "Wallbangers" proved to be too much and the Birds finished one game back at 94-68.
Joe Altobelli became the new manager and took over an Orioles team on a mission. The mission looked to be derailed by several key injuries to players such as Jim Palmer, Mike Flanagan, Dan Ford, and Tippy Martinez, but the O's stayed the path and charged all the way to the World Series to face Pete Rose and the Philadelphia Phillies. It was MVP Rick Dempsey (right) who led the Birds to the Championship, batting .385 and throwing out the speedy Joe Morgan twice, as the Orioles claimed their third title and avenged the heartbreaks of the previous four seasons.
The 1984 Orioles finished among the "also-rans" in the AL East at 85-77, only 4 games behind second-place Toronto but 19 games behind the runaway Detroit Tigers who won 104 games. Mike Boddicker lost his first three decisions but still was the AL's only 20-game winner and also led the league with a 2.79 ERA. Eddie Murray (.306-29-110) won his third straight Gold Glove at first base.
The 1985 season was marked by turnover, with the departure of longtime Orioles Al Bumbry, Ken Singleton, John Lowenstein and others. Following a five-game losing streak that left the club eight games out of first on June 12, the Orioles announced the return of Earl Weaver as manager, replacing Joe Altobelli. Under Weaver, the Orioles went 53-52 to finish the season in 4th place. They set a club record with 818 runs, with Cal Ripken (116) and Eddie Murray (11) finishing second and third in the league. Murray batted. 297, hit 31 homers and drove in 124 runs, second in the AL, and won his 5th straight (6th overall) Most Valuable Oriole Award.
The 1986 Orioles were in second place in the AL East at 59-47, just 2 ½ games out of first, through August 5. The next night, despite grand slams in the same inning by Jim Dwyer and Larry Sheets, the Orioles lost to Texas, starting a 14-42 finish that ended a streak of 18 consecutive winning seasons. It marked the only losing season in the managing career of Earl Weaver, who announced in September that he would not return for the 1987 season.
Longtime coach, scout and minor league skipper Cal Ripken Sr. took over the managing duties and became the first person to manage two sons, Bill and Cal Jr., in the majors. A 5-30 stretch from May 29 to July 5 doomed the Orioles to their first season of 90 or more losses since 1955. Between injuries and other roster moves, only eight players were with the team the entire season. The Orioles became the first team ever to both hit and allow 200 or more homers in a season.
On a night where 50,402 turned out to welcome the 1-23 Orioles back from a 1-11 road trip, Governor William Donald Schaefer announced that owner Edward Bennett Williams and the Maryland Stadium Authority had agreed upon a long-term lease for a new downtown ballpark to be built in time for the 1992 season. Williams, who was very ill, never attended another game after that and lost his battle with cancer on August 13, 1988. The season was a lost one as the Birds went 54-107, but the process of rebuilding had begun.
The Orioles new uniforms and new attitude were on display as the team improved by 32 1/2 games in the standings and spent nearly three months of the season in first place. '89 became known as the "Why Not?" season and Frank Robinson won American League Manager of the Year for his role in leading this young group into a pennant chase that ended on the next-to-last day of the season following consecutive 1-run losses to Toronto.
The Orioles wanted to make 1991 a "season to remember" and drew a club-record 2,252,783 fans as they played their 38th and final season at Memorial Stadium. Cal Ripken earned his second AL Most Valuable Player Award, finishing with a .323 batting average, 34 homers and 114 RBI, but the team struggled from the start and finished in 6th place in the AL East. A tear-filled ceremony featuring more than 100 Orioles past and present after the last game of the season provided a fitting tribute to the closing of the team's 38-year home.
The dawn of a new era of Orioles baseball began as Camden Yards was introduced to the world. Despite many comments about how hitter-friendly the park was, the first three games played there were low-scoring shutouts with the O's winning two of them. At the end of the '92 season, Cal Ripken Jr.'s consecutive games streak had reached 1,735 and Lou Gehrig's record was in sight.
The All-Star Game returned to Baltimore for the first time since 1958 in the beautiful setting of Camden Yards and All-Star Fanfest Week was a celebration unlike any in recent memory. In the Home Run contest, Ken Griffey Jr. became the first player to hit the warehouse on the fly. Not to be outdone, Juan Gonzalez, a right-hander, reached the 3rd deck in left field with a shot estimated to be over 500 feet. The Birds as a whole had a streaky season, but catcher Chris Hoiles was solid throughout en route to winning Oriole MVP. He hit .310 with 29 HR and 82 RBI even though he missed 21 games due to injury.
In 1994, the Orioles were never under .500 but finished a distant second in the AL East despite a 64-49 record in the strike-shortened season. Mike Mussina was among the league's top pitchers with 16 wins and a 3.05 ERA, but was thwarted in his bid for 20 wins when the season ended on August 10.
On September 5th and 6th at Oriole Park at Camden Yards against the California Angels, Cal Ripken Jr. (right) became baseball's all-time "Iron Man", tying and breaking Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played record of 2,130. Cal's streak began on May 30, 1982. In the games Cal went a combined 5-9 and hit home runs in each. Ceremonies were held after the tying game and included a "roast" of Cal to congratulate him on his achievement, but the best celebration was to come during the record breaking game. After the game was in the books as an official game, play was halted for over 20 minutes and Cal made a victory lap as the fans showed their appreciation for baseball's new "Iron Man".
After a frustrating first half which saw the team struggle to find their identity, the Birds made a charge and captured the AL Wild Card. In the Division Series against Cleveland, Roberto Alomar (right) secured victory for the O's with his heroics on the field and at the plate and the Orioles moved on to face the Yankees in the ALCS. Two extremely close games in New York, including the famous Home Run That Wasn't game, brought the series back to Baltimore tied 1-1 but the Yankees proved to be too much to take and the O's fell short, losing the series 4-1 to the eventual World Champs.
The O's potent attack, led by Rafael Palmeiro (right), Roberto Alomar, and B.J. Surhoff, and double digit wins from 5 Orioles pitchers propelled the Birds to a season-long reign in the division as they went wire-to-wire. Their dominance brought them back to a Division Series rematch with the Indians, who had also been nothing short of dominating throughout the regular season campaign. This time around the Tribe got the best of the favored Orioles, whose offense had suddenly gone silent in the series, and the Indians eeked out a six-game series win to take the AL pennant before falling to the Marlins in the World Series.
Under new manager Ray Miller, the Orioles had only residue from their previous two playoff teams and finished just 79-93 in what was truly a transition year. Joe Carter was traded to the Giants and rookies such as Jerry Hairston and Sidney Ponson made their debut. It was a sparkling season for Rafael Palmeiro, his final one in Baltimore. The first baseman hit .296 with 43 homers and 121 RBI to earn an All-Star berth while Eric Davis put up a vintage season with a team-leading .327 average and 28 homers. The Orioles finished in fourth place in the AL East.
The transition continued as Rafael Palmeiro, Roberto Alomar and Eric Davis left via free agency and the Orioles welcomed slugger Albert Belle in what would be his second to final season. Belle led the Orioles in home runs and RBI while B.J. Surhoff hit .308 for the 78-84 Orioles and Ray Miller, who would be fired at season's end. Mike Mussina led the pitching staff with 18 wins and made the All-Star team. The Orioles would finish in fourth place in the AL East for the second consecutive season.
The rebuilding phase began in Baltimore as the Orioles began mixing rookies and youngsters with their veterans and finished 74-88 under first-year manager Mike Hargrove. Cal Ripken was limited to just 83 games in the first injury-plagued season of his amazing career while Albert Belle hit a team-leading 23 homers playing with what eventually would be a career ending hip injury. Veteran pitcher Jose Mercedes led the staff with 14 wins while the club lost stalwart Scott Erickson to elbow surgery.
This was a landmark season in Baltimore, as Cal Ripken announced that it would be his last in the Major Leagues. What was another rebuilding season for the Orioles transformed into a farewell tour for the most durable player in the history of the game. Ripken received numerous gifts and accolades as he stopped by visiting Major League parks for the final time. The season ended at home and the Orioles and Major League baseball agreed to switch the season finale to Saturday, and Ripken played his final game on Oct. 6, 2001. He finished the year hitting .239 with 14 homers and 68 RBI. He capped his career by hitting a home run in the All-Star Game and winning the MVP award.
A young Orioles club took the field and was one of the league's surprises through the first 126 games, winning 63 and seemingly en route to a winning season. A 4-32 finish put a damper on the year, but there were some bright spots. Rodrigo Lopez was named Team MVP and the Sporting News American League Rookie Pitcher of the Year while Jay Gibbons hit 28 home runs. It was the fifth consecutive fourth place finish for the Orioles, who finished the year on a 12-game losing streak.
The Orioles were within two games of the .500 mark on August 10 but sputtered to a 14-32 finish over the final seven weeks of the season to finish in 4th place with a 71-91 record. Melvin Mora made the All-Star team and was among the league's batting leaders before missing most of the second half with wrist and MCL injuries. Jay Gibbons hit 23 homers and drove in 100 runs and was named Most Valuable Oriole.
The Orioles introduced first-year manager Lee Mazzilli and free-agent signees Miguel Tejada and Javy Lopez as well as old friends Rafael Palmeiro and Sidney Ponson. The O's set several offensive records and finished 78-84, their best record since 1999. Rookie Daniel Cabrera emerged on the scene by winning 12 games in his first Major League exposure. Tejada set a club record for RBIs in a season and Brian Roberts set a club record for doubles, as the Orioles finished with a .281 average.
The 2005 season saw the Orioles leap into first place in the division early, leading their American League East brethren from mid-April well into June before a cold spell -- and a hot Boston Red Sox -- caught up to the Birds for good. Paced by April Player of the Month Brian Roberts (.314, 18 HR, 27 Steals), Baltimore stayed in the race most of the summer. A plethora of injuries and locker room turmoil surrounding Rafael Palmeiro derailed a once-promising year, and cost manager Lee Mazzilli his job on Aug. 4. His replacement, Sam Perlozzo, went 23-32 after taking over, his club finishing the year in fourth place at 74-88.
The Orioles continued their homegrown youth movement in 2006, with high-wattage prospects Nick Markakis and Adam Loewen joining the fray. Chris Ray adjusted well to closing, picking up where BJ Ryan left off by converting 33 of his 38 save opportunities. Erik Bedard grew into a staff ace but missed inclusion in his first All-Star Game. Miguel Tejada had another outstanding season -- setting a club record for hits (214) and driving in 100 runs for the sixth time in seven years -- but it wasn't enough to keep the Orioles from posting their ninth straight losing record and their worst win-total since 2002.
Baltimore won just 11 of its final 39 games in 2007, a stretch that left the Orioles as one of three teams in the Major Leagues (along with Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh) to have 10 straight seasons with a losing record. Manager Sam Perlozzo was dismissed in early June, and the team played well under replacement Dave Trembley early before fading late. Miguel Tejada broke a bone in his wrist at midseason, causing his consecutive games streak -- the fifth-longest in Major League history -- to end. Second baseman Brian Roberts returned to form, and Erik Bedard led the American League in strikeouts (221). Nick Markakis played in 161 games and led the team with 112 RBIs.
The Orioles started out hot and faded down the stretch, losing 11 of their last 12 and 28 of their last 34 games en route to their 11th straight losing season. The season was marked by the absence of former standouts Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard, who were traded before the year to enact a new rebuilding movement. Jeremy Guthrie established himself as the team's staff ace, and Aubrey Huff had a huge resurgence to win the AL's Silver Slugger for designated hitters. Right fielder Nick Markakis had another prime season in the middle of the batting order and Adam Jones successfully took over in center field, giving the Orioles two building blocks to watch going forward.
The Orioles finished 2009 with a 64-98 record, fifth place in American League East Division. The Orioles saw a breakout season from Adam Jones and the introduction to the Major Leagues for catcher Matt Wieters, who was billed by many analysts as the best prospect in baseball. Wieters slowly became more comfortable at the plate as the season progressed and ended the year on an impressive surge. Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts reprised their roles as the team's two most dangerous hitters, and Nolan Reimold established himself as a keeper. Perhaps nobody inspires more optimism than twin prospects Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz, who both made it to the Majors before their 23rd birthday and held their own in their late-season auditions.
While the O's first half of the season was marred by injury, inconsistency and underperformance, the tide turned on Aug. 2 when Buck Showalter stepped in as the new manager. Buoyed by the second-half additions of a healthy Brian Roberts, Felix Pie, Koji Uehara, Jim Johnson and Michael Gonzalez, the Orioles posted their first winning August in 13 seasons. Simply put, Baltimore saved its best baseball for the final two months of the season, finishing with the AL East's best record in August and September.
The Orioles finished the 2011 season with their 14th consecutive losing season, the second-longest active streak in the Majors. Top pitching prospect Zach Britton made his Major League debut, and promising young catcher Matt Wieters was selected to his first All-Star team. The Orioles acquired pitcher Tommy Hunter and infielder Chris Davis in a midseason trade with Texas that cost them Japanese reliever Koji Uehara. For the second consecutive season, Brian Roberts was noticeably absent on the field as the second baseman suffered a concussion in May and never returned. The team lost a valuable member of Orioles history with the sudden passing of color commentator Mike Flanagan, a death that rocked the collective baseball world. President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail chose not to seek a contract extension at the end of the season, making way for November's hiring of Dan Duquette as executive vice president of baseball operations.
The Baltimore Orioles reached the postseason for the first time in 15 years, winning their first playoff game in the first year of the extra Wild Card team in each division. The O's defeated the Texas Rangers, with left-handed starter Joe Saunders playing the part of unlikely hero in a season full of underdogs. Saunders picked up his first career win at Rangers Ballpark, where he was 0-6 with a 9.38 ERA in 6 career starts, and closer Jim Johnson nailed down the 5-1 victory to advance the Orioles to the American League Division Series. Facing the New York Yankees, who had the best record in the AL, the O's lost the series in five games, ending the success of a wild ride no one saw coming. The organization, which celebrated its 59th season in Baltimore, also paid tribute to the famed Oriole Ballpark at Camden Yards' 20th season. There was plenty of celebrate in the present, with the Major League debut of top prospects infielder Manny Machado and pitcher Dylan Bundy, along with surprising heroics from rookie pitchers Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez. The turnaround was led by manager Buck Showalter, who helped engineer the 93-69 year in his second full season, with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette taking over for president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail the previous winter. Duquette made lots of smaller moves that paid off big time, most notably trading for pitcher Jason Hammel and signing outfielder Nate McLouth.
The 2013 season was full of standout seasons, although the club fell short its ultimate goal to repeat a trip to the postseason. Led by Chris Davis' record-setting 53 home runs and 137 RBIs, the O's hit the most homers in the Majors. They also set a new record in errorless games and fewest errors in a season, resulting in six Gold Glove finalists and three winners: third baseman Manny Machado, center fielder Adam Jones and shortstop JJ. Hardy.
The Orioles 2014 season was topped with the club bringing home its first American League East pennant since 1997. Baltimore then went on to sweep the Tigers in the AL Division Series. The club got contributions up and down the lineup, with players like Delmon Young and Steve Pearce having career years. Shortstop J.J. Hardy, center fielder Adam Jones and right fielder Nick Markakis all received Gold Glove Awards.
With Chris Davis leading the Majors in homers for the second time in three seasons and a career-year from Manny Machado, the Orioles finished at .500 or better for the fourth straight season for the first time since 1985. All-Star relievers Darren O'Day and Zach Britton helped overcome a struggling starting rotation, but an August stretch in which the Orioles lost 16 of 20 games took them out of playoff contention.
The Orioles overcame low expectations to finish tied for second in the American League East and earn a wild card berth in the post-season. Outfielder Mark Trumbo, acquired in a winter trade with Seattle, hit 47 homers, the fourth straight season an Orioles hitter led the majors in that category. The Orioles had three players with at least 30 homers for the first time in club history, as Chris Davis -signed to a 6-year contract before the season - hit 38 and third baseman Manny Machado, who turned in another impressive season (.294/.343/.533 slash line) hit a career-high 37 homers. Three others hit at least 22 homers: center fielder Adam Jones (29), second baseman Jonathan Schoop (25) and DH Pedro Alvarez (22). The Orioles got off to a strong start, finishing the first half on top of the AL East and 15 games above .500 on the strength of their offense and bullpen. With young pitchers Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy coming into their own in the second half, and a re-energized performance from Ubaldo Jimenez to back Chris Tillman (16-6, 3.77), the starting pitching gave the team a lift in the second half. The bullpen, led by lock-down closer Zach Britton (47-for-47 in saves with a 0.54 ERA) and fellow All-Star Brad Brach (10-4, 2.05), continued its excellence. The Orioles tied the Blue Jays for second place, but had to go to Toronto for the wild card game based on the Jays' 10-9 edge in the season series. The Orioles took the game into extra innings before falling 5-2 in the 11th. It marked the Orioles 3rd postseason appearance in five seasons, and their 89-73 season record gave them the best record in the AL over that time.