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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / Top 10 Baltimore Orioles of all time: Ripken at Number One?

Top 10 Baltimore Orioles of all time: Ripken at Number One?

Publish Date: 09/20/2023
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

The Baltimore Orioles of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s were a dynasty the likes of which Baltimore will probably never see again. Yes, this top ten will be mainly of those guys, as it should be. The Top five on this list to me unquestioned; after those five guys, things seem to get a little murkier.

10) Bobby Grich

Bobby Grich’s seven seasons with Baltimore are often overshadowed, if not entirely forgotten, due to his ten years with the California Angels. However, during these five seasons (1972 to 1976), Grich cemented himself as one of baseball’s premier second basemen and earned himself three all-star selections, four Gold Glove winners and consideration for AL MVP voting three times; finishing as high as ninth in 1974. As an Oriole, Grich batted.262 with 70 home runs, 307 RBIs, and 432 runs scored during his time there.

Video: CAL@MIN: Grich charges mound, benches empty

CAL@MIN: Grich charges mound, benches empty

9) Mark Belanger

He won eight Gold Glove awards during his career with the Orioles, including six consecutive from 1973 to 1978. Baseball Reference ranks Belanger second all-time for defensive WAR (39.5), only behind Ozzie Smith at the shortstop position. In 1982, the Orioles had to make room at shortstop for Cal Ripken Jr.; thus, Belanger joined the Dodgers.

Video: The Tragic Ending of Mark Belanger - What Really Happened to Mark Belanger?

The Tragic Ending of Mark Belanger – What Really Happened to Mark Belanger?

8) Paul Blair

Paul Blair played center field for 12 seasons with Baltimore and was one of the finest outfielders in baseball during his prime. He won his first Gold Glove award in 1967 and went on to win seven straight from 1969-75, becoming a two-time all-star and finishing 11th in AL MVP voting in 1970 when he hit.285 with 26 HRs, 76 RBIs, 102 runs scored and 20 stolen bases; as an Oriole he hit.254 with 126 HRs and 567 RBIs for him during that span.

Video: 1970 WS Gm5: Paul Blair gets three hits

1970 WS Gm5: Paul Blair gets three hits

7) Mike Mussina

Mussina never won an American League Cy Young Award, but he was an excellent pitcher for 18 major league seasons, which is why he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2019. His first 10 seasons came with the Orioles, where he won 147 games, made five All-Star teams and won four Gold Glove Awards.

Video: Mike Mussina finishes his first complete game

Mike Mussina finishes his first complete game

6) Boog Powell

Powell made four consecutive All-Star teams between 1968 and 1971. But while he won the American League MVP Award in 1970, his most complete season came in 1966. Powell homered 34 times and finished third in American League MVP voting in 1966 before helping the Orioles to sweep the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. It was the first of two World Series that Powell would win during his 14 years with the Orioles.

Video: WS1970 Gm1: Powell's two-run homer puts O's on board

WS1970 Gm1: Powell’s two-run homer puts O’s on board

5) Eddie Murray

Murray spent 13 seasons with Baltimore, never winning an American League MVP Award but being named the 1977 AL Rookie of the Year and finishing among the top five in voting for AL MVP five times. During his second stint with the team, Murray hit his 500th home run on Sept. 6th 1996; later his No. 33 jersey was retired by Orioles fans in 1998.

Video: 1983 WS Gm5: Murray homers twice in clinching game

1983 WS Gm5: Murray homers twice in clinching game

4) Frank Robinson

If Robinson had played his entire career in Baltimore he would be number one on this list. Robinson only spent a quarter of his Hall of Fame career with the Orioles, yet he achieved remarkable success during his six seasons there. In 1966, Robinson won his first American League MVP Award – becoming only the second player ever to do so and become the first (and to this point only) player to win MVP Awards in both leagues. Despite spending most of his professional life (10 years) with Cincinnati Reds, Robinson finally earned a place in history by wearing an Orioles cap in 1982.

Video: Frank Robinson Highlights

Frank Robinson Highlights

3) Brooks Robinson

After a 23-year career, Robinson is remembered as one of baseball’s greatest defenders, winning 16 Gold Glove Awards – more than any other position player ever. Additionally, he was an 18-time All-Star and collected 2,848 hits during his 23-year tenure with the Orioles, eventually retiring his No. 5 jersey in 1977.

Video: 1970 WS Gm 1: Brooks takes a hit away from May

1970 WS Gm 1: Brooks takes a hit away from May

2) Jim Palmer

Palmer spent all 19 seasons of his Hall of Fame career with the Orioles, finishing in the top five in American League Cy Young Award voting on eight occasions and winning it three times. As an all-time great for Baltimore, Palmer holds many records, such as wins (268), strikeouts(2,212), complete games(211), and shutouts(53).

Video: Palmer throws a one-hitter against the Twins

Palmer throws a one-hitter against the Twins

1) Cal Ripken

Ripken is remembered as one of the greatest players in MLB history, having both an incredible peak and remarkable longevity. He holds the MLB record for most consecutive games played with 2,632, but Ripken, who spent his entire 21-year career with the Orioles, also earned himself numerous accolades: 1982 American League Rookie of the Year Award, two-time AL MVP; Gold Glove Award winner twice; eight Silver Slugger Award winners once each; 19 All-Star appearances altogether.

Video: Cal Ripken, Jr. 1991 MVP Season Highlights | Orioles' 2131 25th Anniversary Celebration

Cal Ripken, Jr. 1991 MVP Season Highlights | Orioles’ 2131 25th Anniversary Celebration

Honorable Mentions

Brady Anderson

Adam Jones

Manny Machado

Ken Singelton

Melvin Mora

Brian Roberts

Mike Cuellar

Dave McNally

Al Bumbry

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