Last week, the Orioles announced plans to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The anniversary will be officially marked on August 6th when the Orioles play the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In advance of that, here’s BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Oriole Park at Camden Yards 30-year team.
I chose 26 players, 10 pitchers, 15 position players and a designated hitter.
Starting pitchers: Mike Mussina, Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen, Scott Erickson, Ben McDonald
Mussina, who did start 12 games for the Orioles in 1991, their last year at Memorial Stadium, had a 47.7 WAR (Wins Above Replacement), trailing only Jim Palmer among pitchers. He was 143-76 from 1992-2000.
Tillman was 74-60 with a 4.57 ERA in 10 seasons with the Orioles from 2009-2018. His best years, 2012-2016, were the Orioles’ best run at Camden Yards. Tillman was 65-33 as the Orioles went to the postseason three times in five seasons.
Chen was a terrific find by Dan Duquette and was 46-32 with a 3.72 ERA from 2012-2015.
Erickson had a 79-68 record and a 4.73 ERA in seven seasons with the Orioles and started six postseason games in 1996 and 1997.
Although the first three of McDonald’s seven seasons with the Orioles came at Memorial Stadium, he won 40 games in the first three years at Camden Yards.
Relief pitchers: Zack Britton, Darren O’Day, Jim Johnson, B.J. Ryan, Brad Brach
Britton had arguably the best season of any reliever in baseball history in 2016 when he converted all 47 save opportunities and allowed just four earned runs for a dazzling 0.54 ERA.
O’Day was 28-14 with a 2.40 ERA in seven seasons as an invaluable setup man. In 2014 and 2015, he had ERAs of just 1.70 and 1.52. He was named to the All-Star team in 2015. O’Day appeared in 391 games, sixth most in franchise history.
Johnson holds the team’s single-season record for saves with 51 in 2012 when he was named to the All-Star team. He followed that with 50 in 2013.
Ryan is fifth in franchise history with 404 appearances and was named to the All-Star team in 2005 when he had 36 saves.
Along with Britton and O’Day, Brach led a terrific bullpen. He was 27-15 with a 2.99 ERA in five seasons and was an All-Star in 2016.
Catchers: Chris Hoiles, Matt Wieters
Hoiles began his Orioles career in 1989, but his best years came at Camden Yards. He hit 139 home runs from 1992-1998 and was an important part of the Orioles’ postseason teams in 1996 and 1997. His most memorable hit came on May 17,1996 when his walk-off grand slam gave the Orioles a 14-13 win over Seattle.
Wieters’ solid catching enabled the Orioles to break their streak of 14 losing seasons in 2012.
First base: Rafael Palmeiro, Chris Davis
Palmeiro is perhaps the most controversial player in franchise history. Suspended for steroid use in 2005, Palmeiro is seventh in team history with 223 home runs and eighth with 701 RBIs in seven seasons and exactly 1,000 games with the Orioles.
Davis led the major leagues in home runs with 53 in 2013 and 47 in 2015 before his performance began a sharp decline.
Second base: Brian Roberts, Roberto Alomar
Roberts had 1.452 hits, ninth most in franchise history, and his 351 doubles trail only Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson and Eddie Murray. He stole 278 bases, second only to Brady Anderson’s 307.
Alomar was only an Oriole for three seasons and was an All-Star in each of those seasons. In 1996, he had a 5.3 WAR, won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger. He hit .328 with 22 home runs and 94 RBIs as the Orioles went to the postseason for the first time in 13 years
Shortstop: Cal Ripken Jr., J.J. Hardy
The most memorable moment in the ballpark’s 30 years came on September 6th, 1995 when Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s record for consecutive games played with 2,131. He ended the streak at 2,632 games on September 20th, 1998.
Hardy was a key component on the Orioles’ postseason teams in 2012, 2014 and 2016. He was a strong leader, and he twice re-signed with the team instead of opting for free agency.
Third base: Manny Machado, Melvin Mora
Machado played a spectacular third base when he won the Platinum Glove in 2013, and his promotion to the Orioles in August 2012 was a key reason the team went to the postseason.
Mora holds the single-season record for highest batting average by an Oriole, .340 in 2004. He was named to the All-Star team twice.
Center field: Adam Jones, Mike Devereaux
Jones was one of the most popular players in team history and hit 146 home runs at Camden Yards, most in ballpark history. He was a four-time Gold Glove winner and a four-time All-Star.
Even though Devereaux was remembered for his heroics at Memorial Stadium, he played more games at Oriole Park and had his best season in 1992 when he finished seventh in the Most Valuable Player voting.
Right field: Nick Markakis
Markakis played the first nine years of his stellar 15-year career with the Orioles. His 1,547 hits rank seventh in team history.
Left field: Brady Anderson, B.J. Surhoff
Anderson’s 50 home runs in 1996 was a team record until broken by Chris Davis in 2013, and his 1,613 hits is fifth in team history.
Surhoff played eight seasons with the Orioles and hit .291 with a .792 OPS.
Designated hitter: Harold Baines
Baines hit .301 with an outstanding .881 OPS over seven seasons in three iterations with the Orioles. He was the Opening Day designated hitter four times, the only player in franchise history to do so.
Call for questions: I’ll be answering Orioles questions this week. Please leave yours in the comment box or email them to: Rich@BaltimoreBaseball.com.