Sure, the Baltimore Orioles have only had four winning seasons since 1998, but we’re not here to talk about that. We’re here to pay tribute to the franchise’s finer moments while looking forward to the future.
There’s a lot to be excited about in Baltimore these days, especially with the recent call-up of blue-chip prospect Adley Rutschman. The 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick will be backstopping the Orioles to a bright future for many years to come, and hopefully, the O’s will add some solid complementary pieces in short order.
For now, let’s take a look at five of the most memorable games in the team’s history.
Even though the Orioles (22-30) sit 13.5 games behind the AL East-leading Yankees, there are plenty of wagering opportunities left this season. Retail sports betting is available at five Maryland casinos while the state continues to wait for mobile betting apps.
5. Comeback Story Of A Lifetime
Date: June 30, 2009
Final score: Orioles 11, Red Sox 10
The 2009 season wasn’t a memorable one by any stretch. The team was in the midst of a five-year span during which they hadn’t won more than 69 games in a season.
But that doesn’t take away from what was one of the greatest comebacks in O’s history in front of 32,000 loyal fans at Camden Yards. The Boston Red Sox scored early and often, and by the time the game hit the bottom of the seventh inning, the Orioles found themselves down 10-1.
But after a five-run seventh sparked by a three-run Oscar Salazar home run, Baltimore was back in it. The rally continued into the eighth, and with two men on and the O’s down by a run, Nick Markakis cracked a double to score Brian Roberts and Jeremy Guthrie to take a one-run lead.
The epic comeback was complete after George Sherrill closed the game down in the ninth. It was a sweet slice of summer magic in an otherwise forgettable season.
Over in D.C.: Top 5 Wins in Washington Nationals history
4. John Lowenstein Hits A Walk-Off In The 1979 ALCS
Date: Oct. 3, 1979
Final score: Orioles 6, Angels 3
It was a 102-win season for the Orioles in 1979, and expectations were high. The O’s were facing an 88-win California Angels team that featured the legendary Rod Carew.
It was a low-scoring affair, with the game tied 3-3 heading into extra innings. After Don Stanhouse set down the Angels in order in the top of the 10th, Baltimore had a chance to finish it in the bottom half.
With two men on and two out, Hall of Fame Orioles manager Earl Weaver dialed up a pinch hitter by the name of John Lowenstein. Weaver had always had a knack for making the right call at the right time, and this was no exception.
Lowenstein smacked a three-run shot into the night air and walked the Orioles off to victory. Baltimore went on to win the series but fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates in seven games in the World Series.
3. Cal Ripken Jr.’s Final Goodbye
Date: Oct. 6, 2001
Final score: Red Sox 5, Orioles 1
This was a game that the Orioles didn’t win, but that was the furthest thing from what mattered. It was Iron Man Cal Ripken Jr.’s final farewell to Camden Yards and a city he played his entire career with.
Those lucky enough to attend the game against the Boston Red Sox gave Ripken a tearful send-off after a 20-plus year career.
The Iron Man finished his career with a .279 average, 431 home runs, and 1,695 RBIs. And, of course, the record that will never be broken — the streak of 2,632 consecutive games played.
Don’t forget the kids: Maryland baseball set to host NCAA Regional for first time
2. Orioles Win Their First World Series in 1966
Date: Oct. 9, 1966
Final score: Orioles 1, Dodgers 0
You can’t have a top-five memorable games list without mentioning the Orioles’ first World Series Championship. The O’s faced the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers — a team that featured Hall of Famers Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.
But the Dodgers proved to be no match for the Orioles in this series, scoring two runs in a four-game sweep.
The final game saw Frank Robinson hit a solo home run that would be all the O’s needed en route to a 1-0 victory and their first World Series title. Frank Robinson would be named MVP.
1. Cal Ripken Jr. Becomes New Ironman
Date: Sept. 6, 1995
Final score: Orioles 4, Angels 2
This wasn’t just one of the most memorable games in Orioles’ history; it was one of the most memorable games in MLB history.
If you’re a baseball fan, it’s one of those moments that you will never forget where you were when you saw Cal Ripken Jr. officially break the record that “would never be broken.”
It was truly Cal’s night, and in dramatic fashion, he hit a solo home run just half an inning before the game became official. Once official, the game was delayed while Ripken Jr. took his famous lap around the yard with many high-fives along the way.
Lou Gehrig’s streak of 2,130 straight games was officially broken, and Ripken Jr. went on to play 501 more consecutive contests to finish with a streak of 2,632.
AP Photo/Denis Paquin