4 Baltimore Orioles’ all-time greats made ESPN’s list of the best baseball players ever
Cal Ripken Jr. — No. 66
The Iron Man’s relatively low ranking raised a few eyebrows, and not just among people in Maryland. Cal Ripken‘s consecutive game streak is one of the most famous and unbeatable records in baseball, and it belongs to the man who saved baseball after the players’ strike. And yet, somehow, Derek Jeter stills comes in at No. 28 despite very poor defense and over 24 fewer WAR.
I don’t think Cal’s ranking on its own is so bad, but being thirty-eight spots behind Jeter is just appalling. Yes, Jeter won a bunch of World Series, but he did not win any MVP awards while Ripken won two. Ripken also has three more Silver Sluggers and a record Hall of Fame attendance of over 80,000 despite the Hall being in New York. There was a notable Yankee bias in this list (Babe Ruth No. 1 and Mickey Mantle No. 7), and a loud backlash from the rest of us.
Frank Robinson — No. 19
The man who brought a winning culture to Baltimore, Frank Robinson deservedly shows up very high on the top 100 list. While he played more years for the Cincinnati Reds, Robinson holds a special place in the hearts of Birdland after winning a Triple Crown and the World Series in his first season with the Orioles.
The toughest guy on the field was also one of the best, as Frank is still the only player to win the MVP award in both the AL and the NL. In today’s game where guys change teams very often, it is amazing no one else has achieved such a remarkable feat.
Robinson is also historically important as the first Black person to become an MLB manager when he was a player/coach in Cleveland. Robinson’s career is cherished to the extent that he has a statue in three different ballparks. #20 is certainly worthy of his top 20 ranking.