Baltimore Orioles: A Lot Of History Was Made On This Date
A few notable events have happened on April 15 for the Baltimore Orioles. Let’s spend a little time this Monday morning looking back at these events.
The Baltimore Orioles are off to a 6-10 start, have tied a Major League Baseball record after giving up a home run in 16 consecutive games to start a season, and have already had three pitchers go on the Injured List.
However, the season is off to a better start than many would have predicted. While it’s a sad but true fact, this is the state of the 2019 Baltimore Orioles. But let’s look at something else this morning.
In a previous life, I was a US History teacher in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I may not be in the classroom anymore, but history is a subject that continues to fascinate me. To combine my passion for history and love of the Orioles, I thought I would start compiling a few posts throughout the season to highlight major milestones and events from the storied history of the Baltimore Orioles.
April 15th is a fairly memorable date in franchise history. Let’s start at the very beginning, where it all started for the Orioles.
The new Baltimore Orioles defeat the Chicago White Sox at Memorial Stadium.
The 1954 season marked the return of professional baseball to the city of Baltimore and the beginning of the Baltimore Orioles we know today. After beginning the season by splitting a two-game road series against the Detroit Tigers, the O’s played their very first game at Memorial Stadium in front of a sellout crowd against the Chicago White Sox.
More than 46,000 fans watched as the Orioles defeated the White Sox 3-1 behind a complete game from Bob Turley. Turley gave up one run on seven hits and five walks, striking out nine in the process.
Turley finished the season with a 14-15 record and led the league with 181 walks in the 1954 season. He led the league in walks three different times and finished with 1,068 across his 12-year career. Yet he would finish with three All-Star appearances, two World Series rings, a World Series MVP award, and a Cy Young Award, mostly all with the New York Yankees.
Catcher Clint Courtney‘s third-inning home run became the first in the history of Memorial Stadium. He finished with a multi-hit day, along with third baseman Vern Stephens (also homered), and first baseman Eddie Waitkus (three hits).
The 1954 Orioles would go on to finish with a 54-100 record, ending the year in 7th place, ahead of only the Philadelphia Athletics (51-103).
Baltimore Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. joins the 3,000 hit club.
April 15, 2000, at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Cal Ripken Jr.became the 24th player in the history of Major League Baseball to join the 3,000 hit club.
The Orioles improved to 6-5 on the young season after defeating the Minnesota Twins 6-4. Catcher Charles Johnson rocked his fifth home run of the season in just 11 games, B.J. Surhoff hit his first of 13 he would hit with the Orioles that season, and the O’s racked up 15 hits in all.
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None of those hits were more memorable than Cal’s. With two outs and Albert Belle on third base, Twins pitcher Hector Carrasco‘s first pitch to Ripken resulted in a passed ball, scoring Belle, who would represent the winning the run.
On the very next pitch, Ripken drove a Carrasco pitch into centerfield for a single, the 3,000th hit of his career. He was only the 7th player in MLB history to record 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. The Iron Man would end his 21-year career with 3,184 hits and 431 home runs.
We can’t end this post without acknowledging what today is all about. I’m not in a position to speak about what Jackie Robinson meant to Major League Baseball, I’ll let others recount his legendary contributions to the greatest sport in the world. I will, however, urge you to take in a game this evening and soak in every Jackie Robinson discussion that takes place.
In a not-so-great moment in the history of the Baltimore Orioles, today also marks the anniversary of a historic no-hitter. In 1987, Juan Nieves of the Milwaukee Brewers tossed the first and only no-hitter in Milwaukee Brewer’s franchise history, coming against the O’s at Memorial Stadium. He walked five and struck out seven in his outing. He would finish the season with a 14-8 record and was forced to retire after the 1988 season with an injury. Nieves is currently the pitching coach for the Toledo Mud Hens (AAA affiliate of the Detroit Tigers).