Your All-Time Orioles team: The pitchers - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Your All-Time Orioles team: The pitchers

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

Many thanks to all who responded to last week’s request to contribute to the naming of an all-time Orioles team. Today, we’ll reveal the 10 pitchers.

I was overwhelmed by the knowledge of our readers, especially those who named players from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, before I arrived in Baltimore.

Many of the suggestions forced me to consider players I hadn’t thought about and created a much harder decision.

One cautionary note. Many readers chose five starters and five relievers. That’s not what I’m going to do. This is more like an All-Star team with the 10 best pitchers, three of them relievers.

Again, thanks for your input. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Starting pitchers

Jim Palmer, Mike Mussina, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar, Mike Flanagan, Scott McGregor, Milt Pappas.

Palmer is the easiest choice — the only player who was a member of each of the Orioles’ World Series winning teams.

Mussina, whose career won-loss record and winning percentage are similar to Palmer’s, but whose ERA was quite a bit higher, is another easy choice.

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Most of McNally’s success came before the designated hitter. Like Palmer, and unlike Mussina, he pitched at Memorial Stadium, not Camden Yards.

McNally was a 20-game winner from 1968-1971 and won 181 games with 33 shutouts.

Cuellar’s career stats are almost identical to McNally’s, and he won 143 games in eight seasons. He had three consecutive 20-win seasons, from 1969-71, and won 143 games with the Orioles.

Unlike McNally, who played only briefly with Montreal, Cuellar had 42 wins with Houston and St. Louis.

Flanagan, like McNally and Cuellar, was a left-hander, and he won 141 games in two stints with the Orioles. In 1979, Flanagan won 23 games as the Orioles came within one win of another World Series title.

In 1991, Flanagan threw the last Orioles pitch in Memorial Stadium’s final game. He concluded his career as a reliever.

Like the other five starters previously mentioned, McGregor was a 20-game winner. In 1980, McGregor nearly pitched the Orioles into the postseason, but in the pre-Wild Card days, their 100 wins weren’t good enough.

McGregor won the last Orioles’ World Series game in 1983. He won 138 games for the Orioles, the only major league team he played for.

Pappas has been unfairly maligned over the years because he was the Oriole sent to Cincinnati along with pitcher Jack Baldschun and outfielder Dick Simpson for Frank Robinson in December 1965.

But Pappas won 110 games for the Orioles in a career that began in 1957. Overall, Pappas had 220 victories, and had similar statistics to Hall of Famer Don Drysdale, a point he never tired of making.

Pappas had a 3.24 ERA as an Oriole, better than Flanagan, McGregor and Mussina.

Also considered: Mike Boddicker, Steve Barber

Boddicker was the last Orioles’ 20-game winner in 1984 and was a key member of the World Series winners in 1983, but had only 79 wins for the Orioles.

While he’s remembered fondly by Orioles fans, he had three excellent seasons with Boston after he was traded there in July 1988 for Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling.

Barber had 95 wins from 1960-1967, and won 20 games in 1963, the first Orioles pitcher to do so.

Relievers: Zack Britton, Gregg Olson, Dick Hall

Britton had perhaps the best season any reliever ever has when he converted all 47 save opportunities in 2016. He allowed just four earned runs and had a 0.54 ERA.

Olson holds the team record with 160 saves in a six-year career. He gave up just 10 home runs in 350 innings. In 1989, he won the American League Rookie of the Year award, the last Oriole to do so.

Hall’s choice was the most difficult one on the entire squad, partly because I wasn’t around to see his career first-hand, but also because there were many other worthy relievers to consider.

Hall pitched 770 innings in a nine-year Orioles career. He was arguably the most versatile pitcher in team history.

He started 22 games, but finished 237. His WHIP of 1.005 was the best in Orioles history, and he had a fine 2.89 ERA. He walked just 1.5 batters per nine innings.

Also considered: Jim Johnson, Tippy Martinez, Darren O’Day, Eddie Watt, Pete Richert, Stu Miller

Johnson had 101 saves in 2012 and 2013, but Britton, Olson and Hall had stronger Oriole careers.

Martinez is remembered fondly for his 11 years with the Orioles, unusually long for a reliever, but his 3.46 ERA and 1.370 WHIP leave him short.

O’Day had a fantastic 2.40 ERA and 0.994 ERA, but he pitched roughly half the innings Hall did.

I never thought about Watt and Richert until readers brought them up.

From 1967-1972, Watt had ERAs of 2.27 or lower five times, but he’s handicapped by his time. In 1969, Watt had a 1.65 ERA and 16 saves, but was used in 56 games.

That year, Orioles starters threw 50 complete games, and the relievers just weren’t as valuable as they are in the contemporary game.

It’s a similar story with Richert, who had a 2.83 ERA in five years with the Orioles. He just wasn’t with the team long enough or used often to be seriously thought of.

Miller had 99 saves and a 2.37 ERA in five seasons from 1963-1967, but the others were more dominant.

Tomorrow: We’ll reveal the16 position players.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    January 2, 2020 at 7:50 am

    Awesome job Rich, 1969 50 complete games, truly amazing in any era of baseball, like Cals game streak, we’ll never see that many complete games in season again…Happy New Years & go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 2, 2020 at 8:43 am

      Thank you, CP.

    • whiterose

      January 2, 2020 at 4:03 pm

      50 was actually lowest of the 3 pennants.
      ’70-60
      ’71-71

      Oakland had 94 CGs in 1980

  2. Jerry Geraghty

    January 2, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Great list Rich, a lot of fond memories. Hoyt Wilhelm deserved a mention even if he didn’t deserve to be on the team due to his short tenure as a Oriole (5 years), but a lot of great memories of Hoyt as a starter and reliever in an era when saves were not an official statistic-his no hitter against the Yankees will always be treasured!!

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 2, 2020 at 8:46 am

      Thank you, Jerry. One of my criteria, as you’ve surmised, is identification with the Orioles. Wilhelm pitched for the White Sox for six years, and had his best years there. There were so many good suggestions, and I had to stop somewhere.

  3. Camden Bird

    January 2, 2020 at 8:48 am

    I would agree with Jerry Geraghty. My only objection would be the omission of Hoyt Wilhelm. A great job though, Rich! I look forward to reading your 16 position players.

  4. Camden Brooks

    January 2, 2020 at 9:34 am

    Great list, and very well thought out. When I hear the name Tippy Martinez, I ALWAYS think about him picking off 3 runners in the same inning (with Lenny Sakata catching)!

  5. Nellie

    January 2, 2020 at 10:16 am

    Crazy. Because of all the moves Altobelli had to make, besides Sakata being behind the plate, Roenicke and Lowenstein came in to play third and second respectively. Tippy allowed all 3 batters to reach base and then picked them all off immediately. They never had a chance to steal on Sakata. This all happened on Cal’s birthday, who also homered to tie the game.

    Tippy did much more than this in his Oriole career. He was with the O’s for 11 seasons, 10 of which were winning records. His best five years may have been the most exciting in Orioles history. 1979-1983. He was a set up man to Full Pack Stanhouse in 79 and was10-3. In 83 he was the closer and was 9-3. His era was well under 3.00. Both years they went to the World Series. When Tippy was on the mound, SOMETHING MAGIC HAPPENED.

    Great stuff, Rich. Can’t wait til the position players tomorrow.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 2, 2020 at 10:38 am

      Thank you, Nellie.

  6. NormOs

    January 2, 2020 at 10:37 am

    Completely agree with the entire list. It’s too bad baseball has changed so much that pitching 9 innings is very rare, maybe even pitching 7 innings is going to be a rarity. How will starting pitchers get into the HOF with, in comparison, very few innings, strikeouts and ERA? And it used to be 20+ wins for several years was a must. If they a re going to change the criteria for getting into the Hall then they will have to look at McNally, Cuellar, Flanagan, McGregor, and Pappas because these guys measure up to anyone pitching today.

  7. geevee3

    January 2, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Great list, great write up. Thanks for including Dick Hall. One of my favorite stats of all time was pointed out by Bill James in his Historical Baseball Abstract: One season (I think 1969) Hall walked a total of 6 batters in 66 innings. Best of all, he walked one in April, one in May, one in June, one in July, one in August, and one in September!

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 2, 2020 at 6:23 pm

      Thank you, geevee.

  8. whiterose

    January 2, 2020 at 3:45 pm

    Thank you for including my suggestion of Dick Hall. Usually forgotten in these lists.

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 2, 2020 at 6:23 pm

      Thank you, Whiterose.

  9. Diamondguy

    January 2, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    Great list Rich. It’s funny though, when I was young the 3 orioles on my bedroom wall were Eddie, Cal and Tippy! In dad’s garage was Jim Palmer and Cal! It’s awesome that you guys remember so many of yesterday’s players. Brings a smile to my face!

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 2, 2020 at 6:24 pm

      Thank you, Donnie.

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