The Baltimore Orioles as a franchise has seen outstanding teams in the past, and several players who have been inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame. The Oriole Way was proudly displayed by several players who did the city proud over the years.
We will take a look at some of those terrific Orioles’ players, and select a starting lineup for an all-time Orioles dream team.
Catcher: Chris Hoiles
This may just be the one position where the Baltimore Orioles have never been seriously blessed with great offensive talent. There have been some stellar defensive catchers through the years (Andy Etchebarren, Elrod Hendricks), but very few with the ability to produce consistent offense.
We give the nod to Chris Hoiles. In a ten-year career spent entirely with the Orioles, Hoiles hit 151 home runs with a .262 batting average, and was the anchor behind the plate for the Orioles during their last two playoff seasons in 1996-1997.
First Base: Boog Powell
For the first 14 seasons of his 17-year career, John Wesley “Boog” Powell represented the Baltimore Orioles with class and dignity, and provided an outstanding bat in the lineup. Powell was voted the American League’s Most Valuable Player award in 1970, and was a member of four All-Star teams.
Powell won two World Series during his time with the O’s (1966, 1970), and even today is still a revered figure in the Baltimore area.
Second Base: Bobby Grich
For the first seven seasons of his career with the Baltimore Orioles, Bobby Grich won four Gold Glove awards and was selected to the American League All-Star team three times between 1970-76.
Grich was a lifetime .262 hitter for the Orioles. In 1973, Grich broke the all-time record for fielding percentage, committing just five errors in 162 games. Grich would break his own record 12 years later with the California Angels.
Shortstop: Cal Ripken Jr.
A 19-time All-Star, two-time AL MVP, two-time Gold Glove award winner, and holder of the record for most consecutive games played (2,632) that will likely never be broken, Cal Ripken Jr. is the easy choice here for shortstop on the Baltimore Orioles dream team.
Ripken was elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2007 with the third-highest voting percentage ever (98.53%).
Third Base: Brooks Robinson
In a career that spanned 23 seasons, all with the O’s, Brooks Robinson won 16 consecutive Gold Glove awards between 1960-1975, a feat only matched by one player—pitcher Jim Kaat.
Robinson also won the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award in 1964, and was selected to 15 consecutive All-Star teams.
Left Field: Brady Anderson
Outfielder Brady Anderson tops our list of greatest Orioles left fielders. In his 14-year career with the O’s, Anderson hit .257 with 209 home runs, made three AL All-Star teams, and had a magical season in 1996, with 50 HR and 110 RBI.
Center Field: Paul Blair
During his 13-year career with the O’s from 1964-1976, Paul Blair won eight Gold Glove awards and contributed to two World Series winning teams (1966, 1970). Blair was widely considered as one of the best center fielders of his generation, despite only hitting .250 during his career.
Right Field: Frank Robinson
When the Cincinnati Reds decided that right fielder was just old to contribute, they unloaded him to the Baltimore Orioles prior to the start of the 1966 season. It turned into one of the most lopsided trades in MLB history.
In Robinson’s first year in Baltimore, he won the Triple Crown and the American League MVP award, leading the Orioles to their first World Series championship in Baltimore. Robinson would help guide the O’s to another World Series victory in 1970 as well.
Starting Pitcher: Jim Palmer
In a stellar 20-year career, all with the Baltimore Orioles, starting pitcher Jim Palmer won three Cy Young awards, won 20 games in a season eight times, is the only pitcher to win a World Series game in three different decades (1966, 1970-71, 1983), and won six pennants with the O’s as well.
In an odd statistic, Palmer gave up 303 home runs during his career, but never once surrendered a grand slam.
Closer: Gregg Olson
For the first six years of his career (1988-1993) closer Gregg Olson saved 160 games for the Baltimore Orioles, posting a stellar ERA of 2.26 and an ERA+ of 176.
Olson won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 1989, after posting an ERA of 1.69 with 27 saves.
Do you agree with our line up? Who would be on your Orioles dream team?
This is a guest post submitted by Jeff Herbst. Jeff has had a passion for sports ever since he could first walk and enjoys writing in his spare time. He works with Phoenix Bats, a company that creates world-class maple wood bats and other wood bats for both amateurs and professionals.