Baltimore Orioles Gear
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At the close of the 1953 season, the decision was made for the basement-dwelling St. Louis Browns to relocate and start anew. Known today as the Baltimore Orioles, the team still struggled to win games in '54, but they did manage to attract over one million fans to Memorial Stadium -- a figure more than three times the amount they drew the season before in St. Louis.
By 1966, it was hard to imagine a time when the Birds weren't in Baltimore. Led by perennial All-Stars Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson, the Orioles swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series that year for their first championship. Bolstered by a pitching staff that at one point would feature four 20-game winners, the O's would return to the national stage three more times in the five years that followed, and in 1970, Charm City would celebrate yet another championship.
Fiery skipper Earl Weaver won the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Manager of the Year award in 1973, and in 1979, he led the Orioles to the World Series yet again. The self-described "sorest loser that ever lived" would retire three years later, just as another Baltimore legend was getting started.
On May 30, 1982, shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. was penciled into the starting lineup. He would go on to play in 2,632 games in a row, obliterating the previous record for most consecutive games played. The "Iron Man," along with fellow future Hall of Famer Eddie Murray, led Baltimore to yet another World Series title in 1983. In the years that followed, Ripken became the face of a franchise that experienced its fair share of ups and downs.
In 1992, Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened its gates for the first time. A marvel of a stadium, it is the Orioles' home to this day. Once again, Baltimore became a destination for players who wanted to win, and in the late '90s, the Orioles made several appearances in the playoffs. However, Lady Luck just wasn't on Charm City's side. Heartbreaking losses in both the '96 and '97 postseason sent the Birds home early.
Fourteen straight losing seasons followed, and to add insult to injury, Ripken's streak ended and he retired in 2001. However, the fans held strong. They kept shouting "O" during the National Anthem (much to the confusion of anyone visiting), and the Oriole Bird continued dancing on top of the dugout to fire up the crowd. Eventually "Orioles Magic" was in the air once again. Under the guidance of manager Buck Showalter, the Orioles captured the American League Wild Card in 2012 and returned to the playoffs for the first time since 1997. Their title hopes dashed, the O’s would return to the playoffs again in 2014 -- this time as American League East Champs.
Through thick and thin, O's fans have never wavered in their support, and their patience has been rewarded. Now, when they gather on Eutaw Street before games, it’s not a question of "If the Orioles are going to win," but rather "How are they going to do it this time?"