It's been a long time since the Orioles won a World Series or a major award - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

It’s been a long time since the Orioles won a World Series or a major award

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

Everyone knows that the Orioles last won a World Series in 1983. The 37-year drought between World Series appearances is fourth longest in the major leagues.

Only the Seattle Mariners, who were established in 1977 and haven’t reached the World Series, the Pittsburgh Pirates, who beat the Orioles in their last Series appearance in 1979, and Milwaukee Brewers, who played in their only World Series in 1982, have been absent from the Fall Classic longer.

The Orioles have another long drought, too, and that’s the time since their players won one of the three major awards: Most Valuable Player, Cy Young and Rookie of the Year.

The only Oriole to win any of the four major awards voted on by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America in recent years was Buck Showalter, who captured Manager of the Year honors in 2014.

Showalter came in a close second to Oakland’s Bob Melvin in 2012. The 2014 honor was Showalter’s third award. He also won with the New York Yankees in the strike season of 1994 and the Texas Rangers in 2004.

But no Oriole player has won a major award since Cal Ripken Jr. won the MVP in 1991, a year the Orioles lost 95 games. Ripken set career highs with 34 home runs, 114 RBIs and hit .323 with a .940 OPS.  He also won his first Gold Glove that year.

Since then, the only Oriole to receive even a single first-place vote was Chris Davis, who led the major leagues in home runs (53)  and RBIs (138) in 2013.

Davis finished third behind Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout in the AL MVP voting that season.

There have been a couple of fourth-place finishes. Randy Myers, who had the most spectacular season for an Orioles reliever — until Zack Britton came along—in 1997, finished fourth in both the MVP and Cy Young awards but didn’t get a single first-place vote. Neither did third baseman Manny Machado, who finished fourth in 2015.

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The last Oriole to be named on a 10-man ballot was second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who finished 12th in 2017.

Adam Jones, the Most Valuable Oriole over their three postseason berths from 2012-2016, finished no higher than sixth in 2012.

It has been 40 years since Steve Stone set a franchise record with 25 wins in 1980 and won the AL Cy Young Award over Oakland’s Mike Norris.

Stone was 25-7 with a 3.23 while Norris was 22-9 with a 2.53 ERA. Norris had a much lower WHIP (1.048 to 1.297) and higher WAR (5.9 to 4.0), but no one followed those numbers then.

At the time, Orioles fans didn’t make a big deal of Cy Young awards because they happened so often. Stone’s was the fifth for an Orioles pitcher in eight years — Jim Palmer, 1973, 1975 and 1978, and Mike Flanagan, 1979.

In 1980, Oriole teammates referred to Flanagan as Cy Young, Palmer as Cy Old, Stone as Cy Present and Scott McGregor as Cy Future.

McGregor finished sixth to Stone in Cy Young voting in 1980 and sixth in 1983. Palmer finished second in 1982.

Mike Mussina was the second best pitcher in Orioles history, but never won a Cy Young, though he finished second to Boston’s Pedro Martinez in 1999. However, Martinez received all 28 first-place votes.

In recent years, Britton, who converted all 47 of his save opportunities in 2016, came the closest. He finished fourth in the voting but had five first-place votes (including mine).

It’s been 31 years since reliever Gregg Olson, now an occasional Orioles broadcaster, won the American League Rookie of the Year award in 1989.

Olson was the sixth Oriole to win Rookie of the Year, following Ron Hansen (1960), Curt Blefary (1965), Al Bumbry (1973), Eddie Murray (1977) and Ripken (1982).

Murray was the best Orioles position player not to win the MVP. Brooks Robinson won it in 1964, Frank Robinson in 1966 and Boog Powell in 1970. Murray received MVP votes in each year from 1978-1985, and was second in 1982 and 1983.

In 1982, Murray was easily beaten by Milwaukee’s Robin Yount, who received 27 of the 28 first-place votes (Reggie Jackson, then with the Angels, got the other).

A year later, Murray came close, getting 10 first-place votes to Ripken’s 15. Chicago’s Carlton Fisk got the other three.

Last season, starting pitcher John Means, finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, and in 2017, Trey Mancini came in third. Neither received a first-place vote because Houston’s Yordan Alvarez (2019) and New York’s Aaron Judge (2017) were unanimous winners.

The last Oriole rookie to receive a first-place vote was right-handed pitcher Rodrigo Lopez, who received nine in 2002. Lopez had a 15-9 record with a 3.57 ERA. Toronto third baseman Eric Hinske won the award and had 19 first-place votes. Orioles right-handed reliever Jorge Julio, who saved 25 games in 31 chances and had a 1.99 ERA, finished third.

Each of the other 14 American League franchises has had a Rookie of the Year winner since Olson won Baltimore’s last.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    April 20, 2020 at 9:01 am

    Typical of the recent O’s, Schoop nominated to a ballot of 10 & finishes 12th, unfortunately being a small market team today almost next to impossible, especially w/schedules the way they are, to get the recognition they deserve, next best bet, ROY, Rutschman, whenever they decide to bring him up…go O’s…

  2. willmiranda

    April 20, 2020 at 11:20 am

    As I recall, when Steve Stone signed his free-agent contract, they threw in a clause for a substantial bonus if
    he won the Cy Young, almost as a joke.

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 20, 2020 at 11:26 am

      I think those clauses are pretty common, Will.

      • willmiranda

        April 22, 2020 at 9:50 am

        Thanks for the response, Rich. It prompts the follow-up: Do all, or any, of our current pitchers have a Cy
        Young clause in their contracts and for how much of a bonus? Nobody’s planing on the field, so negotiating games become entertaining. Do you know of any unusual or interesting clauses in O’s’ contracts?

  3. garyintheloo

    April 20, 2020 at 11:34 am

    I am really enjoying your blogs a lot more during the shutdown. It adds great prospective as a fan. I also remember during the Cy Young binge that Storm Davis was also referred to as “Cy Future” in the early 80s. Like Steve Avery with the 90s Braves, it just did not happen for him with his physical talents.

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 20, 2020 at 11:58 am

      Thank you, Gary. I wish I could say I was enjoying writing more during this time, but I can’t. I’m glad you appreciate the persepctive. I also remember Storm Davis being called that, but I found a column by Tom Boswell that addressed McGregor. Davis had a better big league career than many people remember. He won 113 games–including 19 for Oakland in 1979, which I didn’t know until I just looked it up.

    • DevoTion

      April 20, 2020 at 1:18 pm

      You could almost add Hall of Fame to the list. Besides Cal and Missing, the O’s haven’t been able to produce a Hall of Fame caliber player in some time. Machado may make it but I don’t see any other players from the past 30 years getting there.
      And yes thanks Rich for keeping us entertained with the app. I don’t comment much these days but I almost always read the daily article

      • Rich Dubroff

        April 20, 2020 at 1:26 pm

        Thank you for reading, Devo. It’s always great hearing from you.

  4. dlgruber1

    April 20, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    What a depressing article. Please don’t take that the wrong way Rich, it’s not a put down aimed at you at all. I look forward every day to your articles. It’s just that when you see in writing what you know to be true it just cements it that much more. Heck, it could’ve been much worse for me. You could’ve written something like “Cal Ripken was the last Oriole to be MVP in 1983, which happened to be the last year the Colts were in Baltimore.”

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 20, 2020 at 3:29 pm

      I hope to give you something to smile about, someday, DL.

  5. Buckler89

    April 20, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    Nice article, Rich. While depressing, it’s a nice history lesson and kind of fascinating.

    To balance out the depression though (and I’m sure everyone reading this knows about all these) at least we have had some Gold Glove, Platinum Glove, and Silver Slugger winners in the last decade or so. Markakis won a Gold Glove in 2011 and 2014. Jones won a few Gold Gloves in 2009 and 2012 – 2014, plus a Silver Slugger in 2013. Hardy won his Gold Gloves 2012 – 2014, plus a Silver Slugger in 2013. Wieters won the Gold Glove in 2011 and 2012. Of course, Manny won Gold Gloves in 2013 and 2015, plus the Platinum Glove in 2013. Even Davis won a Silver Slugger in 2013. Looking at that all of those in one place, it makes the 2013 season pretty disappointing lol.

    While it’s certainly a bummer that we haven’t had an MVP, ROY, or Cy Young in so long, at least the last decade gave us not just some fun teams, but some legitimately great players who got some recognition and we’re proud to call them Orioles. Might not be the big 3 awards, and a couple may have an argument for being gypped, but at least it’s something.

    This isn’t met as a counter at all, Rich. Just balancing out the depression lol. Love your articles, I read every day.

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 20, 2020 at 5:47 pm

      Thank you, Buckler. I did consider mentioning those awards, but there are ones for each position, so the odds are better.

      I appreciate your thoughts.

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