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Baltimore Sports Then and Now

Can the Orioles Keep Up Their Early Season Magic? 24

Posted on June 10, 2012 by Dean Hybl

Late game celebrations have been a regular occurrence for the Baltimore Orioles is 2012.

If you are under the age of 35 you may find it hard to believe, but for nearly two decades, the Baltimore Orioles were the class of Major League Baseball and terms such as “The Oriole Way” and “Oriole Magic” were just as familiar to baseball fans as “Red Sox Nation” is today.

With the 2012 season now nearly a third of the way complete, it is way too early to declare Baltimore “back” among the upper echelon teams in baseball, but for the first time in quite a while the future in Baltimore does appear to be promising.

Following back-to-back extra inning victories over the Philadelphia Phillies, the Orioles sport an impressive 34-26 record and are right in the mix of the highly competitive American League East.

The hot early start is definitely a reason for fans of a franchise that hasn’t posted a winning record since 1997 to be excited, but this is not the first time in the last 15 years that Baltimore has teased fans into June.

In 2005 the Orioles had a 42-28 record on June 21st and a two game lead in the AL East. A 3-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays the next day started a stretch in which Baltimore lost 11 of 14 games and 60 of their final 92 games to end with a 74-88 record and 21 games out in the standings. Read the rest of this entry →

Picking the Baltimore Orioles “Dream Team” 51

Posted on September 23, 2011 by Jeff Herbst

You can't have a Baltimore Orioles Dream Team without Brooks Robinson.

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. Read the rest of this entry →

Mike Flanagan: One of the Birds of Baltimore 33

Posted on August 26, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Mike Flanagan won 141 games pitching for the Baltimore Orioles.

As a lifelong fan of the Baltimore Orioles it was such sad news hearing that one of the long-time faces of the O’s, Mike Flanagan, passed away this week at the age of 59. It was even sadder hearing that his death was result of a suicide.

Regardless of the circumstance of his death, Flanagan will be fondly remembered by Oriole fans for his performance as a player, broadcaster and member of the local community.

From the 1960s through the mid-1980s the Orioles were the most consistently successful team in Major League Baseball thanks to a focus on building through the minor league system, pitching and defense. Known as the “Oriole Way”, this focus resulted in three World Championships, six World Series appearances and 18 straight winning seasons.

A seventh round draft pick of the Orioles in 1973, Flanagan epitomized the Orioles during their era of success. As a homegrown product, he made his major league debut in 1975 and moved into the starting rotation in 1977.

After a 15-10 record in 1977, Flanagan won 19 games and was named to the All-Star squad in 1978.

In 1979, Flanagan replaced Jim Palmer as the ace of the Orioles’ pitching staff and won the American League Cy Young Award with a 23-9 record and 3.08 ERA. Baltimore reached the World Series that season and Flanagan went 1-1 as the O’s lost in seven games. Read the rest of this entry →

Happy 70th Birthday to Baltimore Orioles Legend Boog Powell! 29

Posted on August 17, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Happy 70th birthday to one of the all-time great Orioles.

The Baltimore Orioles of the 1960s and early 1970s boasted a roster busting with stars from top to bottom. While Brooks and Frank Robinson were the two best players on the team, the most imposing figure was a 6-foot-4, 240 pound first baseman who hit towering home runs and picked throws out of the dirt with ease. It was that player, Boog Powell, who became a favorite to many young fans, including myself.

It is hard to believe that today is the 70th birthday for one of the great sluggers of his era and we at Sports Then and Now want to wish a Happy Birthday to one of our all-time favorite players.

Given the super-sizing of professional baseball players in recent years, Powell’s size may no longer seem all that special, but in the 1960s and 1970 when most players were shaped like string beans, Powell was hard to miss. With tree trunks for arms that looked even larger when wearing the Orioles tight fitting gray uniform top, he spent more than a decade launching mammoth home runs and playing first base for the Baltimore Orioles.

A fair-skinned giant with reddish hair, Powell looked like a farm boy from the Midwest, but actually was born in Lakeland, Florida and grew up in the Sunshine State. Though his given name was John Wesley Powell, he earned the nickname “Boog” as a kid due to his mischievous nature. He seemed to always be getting into something and became known as Booger, as in, “What’s that little Booger doing now?” The nickname was eventually shortened to Boog, probably around the time he got big enough to beat the snot out of anyone who would dare call him Booger.

Powell’s prowess on the baseball field was evident from an early age. In 1954 he was part of the Lakeland Little League squad that played in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

Signed as a free agent by the Baltimore Orioles in 1959, Powell quickly made his way to the majors. He led the International League in home runs in 1961 and made his major league debut that September.

The next season he became the starting leftfielder for the Birds and was an important reason the Orioles were steadily moving from perennial doormat to contender in the American League. Powell blasted 25 home runs in 1963 and the following season hit 39 homers and led the American League with a .606 slugging percentage despite missing several weeks with a broken wrist. Read the rest of this entry →

Great Pitching Equals Series Win for the O’s 12

Posted on May 15, 2011 by Ryan Heller

It all started on Friday when Jeremy Guthrie took the mound for the Baltimore Orioles. He made a good start and kept the Orioles in the game, but got a complete game loss. Just like all the games Guthrie has pitched in he gets no run support and usually loses the game despite giving a great performance.

The Orioles offense has been backing the starting pitching.

For the next 2 games of the series the Orioles starters would get plenty of run support.

In the second game the Orioles would look for Brad Bergesen to give e them a quality outing, he would do that as he pitched a complete game win.

The Orioles offense would explode in this game with 6 runs sparked from an unusual suspect backup catcher Jake Fox, who hit a 2 run homerun that would give the Orioles the 4-0 lead and get them to their magic run total of 4.

This game would set up a rubber match up and a chance for the Orioles to win the series. They would keep their run surge going in the finale.

In the final game of the series, the Orioles would get some good pitching from Jake Arrieta and the offense would help with 9 runs. The Orioles 9 runs were scored with help from everybody in the Orioles line-up.

The Orioles starting pitching has been pitching well for the last 6 games, which the Orioles are 5-1 in them 6 games with a lot of innings thrown. This production from them should keep the bullpen fresh and ready to go.

Look for the Orioles offense to start pouring out runs and for the pitching to stay solid.

The Orioles hope to keep this going, as they take a trip to Fenway to face the Boston Red Sox. It should be a great 2 games, but the Orioles hope to keep themselves in the win column.

J.J. Hardy To The Rescue! 8

Posted on May 12, 2011 by Ryan Heller

On Wednesday the Orioles activated J.J. Hardy off the disabled list. Who knew that he would help and ignite the Baltimore Orioles and lead them to a series sweep against the Seattle Mariners?

The Return Of J.J. Hardy Would Ignite The Orioles.

Well Hardy started his surge in his first at-bat of the series when he blasted a solo home run to get the Orioles on the board. To top off his return Hardy would get 3 more hits all singles.

In the first game of the series the game went 13 innings. The game would be finished in dramatic fashion, as Matt Wieters would get the hit that plated Felix Pie and gave the Orioles the win.

In the second game of the series the Orioles would have a tough task, as they had to face Felix Hernandez. Hernandez is one of the great young starting pitchers, but the Orioles would find a way to get to him.

The Orioles would get their big chance to take the lead in the game in the 5th inning, as they would get 3 runs to take a 4-1 lead. Luke Scott and Adam Jones were the ones to help accomplish this, as Scott would get the go ahead RBI and Jones would get a triple to score 2 more runs that would ultimately put the game away.

Hardy would also put his name on this game with a single and he would catch the final out of the game.

In the finale the Orioles would send their best pitcher to the mound in Zach Britton. Britton would have a great game, as he would go 9 strong innings. He would get a no-decision as the game was still tied 0-0 when he left the game, but all in all he would have a great day.

Just like the first game this game would have to be decided in extra innings. The Mariners would strike first in the 12th inning with a run, but the Orioles would score 2 runs in the bottom half of the inning to get the walk-off win.

To no surprise the game would be won by Hardy.

The Orioles hope to keep this going when they hit the road to take on the Tampa Bay Rays.

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