Baltimore Orioles: Top Ten Lowest Team-Leading WAR Totals
By Nick Stevens
Going way back in Baltimore Orioles history for the heart of this list.
7) Steve Barber– 3.8 bWAR in 1963
The 1963 season was a big year for starting pitcher Steve Barber as he won 20 games for an 86-win Baltimore Orioles team. The 25-year-old allowed just 12 home runs in 258.2 innings and recorded a 2.75 ERA. A two-time All-Star in his eight years with Baltimore, Barber went on to post a WAR above 1.0 in only three of his 11 seasons after his 1963 campaign.
6) Eddie Murray- 3.7 bWAR in 1981*
Murray finds his name back on this list for his 1981 performance, a season in which he played in 99 games. It was the only year from his rookie season in 1977 until his final season in the bigs in 1997 that he played in less than 100 games. It wasn’t his fault though, as the 1981 season was interrupted by a strike, leading to the cancellation of regular-season games.
Murray led the ’81 Orioles with a 3.7 bWAR, was voted an All-Star, and finished fifth in MVP voting after hitting a team-high 22 home runs and posting a .294 average. We placed in asterisk mark on this one due to the strike.
5) Billy Gardner– 3.7 bWAR in 1957
Infielder Billy Gardner played 10 years in the major leagues with five different teams, four of those seasons with the Orioles. His 1957 season was a bit of an outlier after hitting .262 with 45 extra-base hits, 55 RBI, and 10 stolen bases. He stole just 19 bags during his tenure as a big leaguer and hit .237 for his career. Gardner led the Orioles with 154 games played, 169 total hits, and 229 total bases. Gardner ended his career with a bWAR of 3.0 and reached above replacement level just five times, including his breakout ’57 season.
4) Jim Wilson– 3.5 bWAR in 1955
A three-time All-Star, starting pitcher Jim Wilson led the ’55 Orioles with a 12-18 record and 3.44 ERA, winning just as many games as the rest of the starting rotation combined. He owns one of the lowest team-leading WAR totals with his 3.5 mark, a number that would end up reaching 11.2 by the end of his 12-year career. Despite a strikeout rate of 3.7 K/9 IP and leading the league with his 18 losses, Wilson posted career-bests in ERA (3.44), IP (235.1), and WHIP (1.22) in 1955.