The rise and fall of the fortunes of the Baltimore Orioles is quite visible simply by looking at the lists of players who were included from the O’s each year in MLB’s annual mid-summer classic. Just last year there were five Orioles; in 2012 there were three. Most of the preceding dark and losing seasons featured just a single representative, though the great first half of 2005 is immediately evident by four names on the list.
Looking farther back in history there were five names in 1997 – Roberto Alomar (2B), Brady Anderson (OF), Jimmy Key (LHP), Mike Mussina (RHP), and Cal Ripken (SS-2B). And in the early 70s, the great Orioles teams were massively represented year after year. The largest group was in 1970 with seven O’s – Mike Cuellar (LHP), Dave Johnson (2B), Dave McNally (LHP), Jim Palmer (RHP), Boog Powell (1B), Brook Robinson (3B), and Frank Robinson (OF).
One of my childhood memories from that era is so often being at the beach for a week of vacation when the All-Star Game would occur, and I would have to watch it on a grainy black-and-white TV at the guest house where our family stayed each summer.
It was on that screen that in 1966 – the year the Orioles would win their first World Series – I saw Brooks Robinson go 3-for-4 and be named as the game MVP. The NL won 2-1 in 10 innings. There was a total of only 12 hits between both teams.
Frank Robinson was the MVP of the 1971 All-Star Game won by the AL 6-4 at Tiger Stadium. He hit a two-run home run.
Cal Ripken was twice the MVP of the game – in 1991 and 2001. In the former, he was 2-for-3 with a three-run homer off Dennis Martinez, while also winning the Home Run Derby. In the latter – his final classic and final season – he was voted the starting third baseman with Alex Rodriguez at shortstop. At a time of life when ARod still had a soul, he honored Ripken by switching places for the first inning. Cal homered in the third inning on the first pitch he saw from Chan Ho Park.
But it was at an All-Star game in 1996 that Ripken’s consecutive games streak was significantly challenged. In the picture session on the day before, teammate Roberto Hernandez accidently broke Cal’s nose! Of course, Ripken played the next day, and the next day, and the next day …
50 years ago in 1964, Brooks was 2-for-4 with two RBIs in a game where the AL took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth at Shea Stadium in New York. Willie Mays scored the tying run before Johnny Callison of the Phillies hit a three-run homer for a 7-4 NL victory.
So step through the slide show pages for memories of Orioles over the last 10 years …