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.
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
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