Baltimore is known for their four 20-win pitchers in 1971. Since then, they have had a handful of aces who have won 20 or more contests. Birdland has not seen a starting pitcher win 20 games since way back in 1984. The benchmark has been hard to reach, not just for the Orioles, but across the entire league.
An American League pitcher has not won 20 games since 2019 when the Astros' Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander reached the mark en route to making the World Series. Normally, having an ace reach that mark is a signal of a productive season for both the individual and the club as a whole.
The last five 20-win Orioles pitchers
1. Mike Boddicker (1984) 20 wins
A tough AL East, which at the time consisted of seven teams, proved to be too competitive for the O's this year. Boddicker, who played in Baltimore from 1980-1988, enjoyed his best season in Baltimore only a year after winning the World Series.
Joe Altobelli led the team to an 85-77 record. A solid eight games above .500 was only good for fifth place in the division. Normally such a tally would threaten for a playoff spot, but the Tigers and Blue Jays played good baseball that year, and Boddicker's great performance was all for naught.
2. Scott McGregor (1980) 20 wins
A 100-win season came in large part thanks to McGregor's stellar pitching. A future All-Star in 1981, the southpaw was a career Oriole who played with the club from his debut in 1976 until his retirement in 1988.
Baltimore fell short to the 103-59 Yankees in 1980. However, momentum was building and McGregor would be around for the 1983 World Series winning squad. He led that time in wins and innings pitched.
3. Steve Stone (1980) 25 wins
Stone pitched a strong season worthy of all the awards and recognition he received. His 25 wins led the majors. An All-Star at midseason, he finished the year strong; winning the Cy Young and posting a 3.32 ERA.
Only an Oriole for a brief three seasons, Stone would not be around three years later for their World Series victory. Still, his 1980 super year remains the last time an O's pitcher won over 20 games in a season.
4. Mike Flanagan (1979) 23 wins
Twice an Oriole, Flanagan played a total of 15 seasons in Baltimore. In 1979 he led the majors in wins and won the AL Cy Young. His 3.08 ERA and 190 strikeouts complimented his stunning win tally.
1979 saw the Birds reach the World Series after beating the then-named California Angels in the AL Pennant. The Pirates proved to be too much for Baltimore in the October Classic, but Flanagan's 23 wins saw him place sixth in AL MVP voting.
5. Jim Palmer (1978) 21 wins
1978 was Palmer's eighth time reaching the 20-win plateau. Baltimore won 90 games that year as it became evident they were in the midst of creating a dynasty. It was also the Hall of Famer's last season winning 20 games during his illustrious career.
Palmer might not have won the Cy Young that year, but he made his sixth All-Star game and his third consecutive Gold Glove. He would retire in 1984 after winning his third World Series with the Orioles.