Baltimore Orioles (minor league)

The city of Baltimore, Maryland has been home to two minor league baseball teams called the "Baltimore Orioles", besides the four major league baseball teams, (the American Association in 1882–1891, the National League in the 1890s and the so-called "up-start" American League charter franchise of two seasons 1901–1902, and the current American League's modern team of the Baltimore Orioles since April 1954).

Baltimore Orioles
(19031914, 19161953)
Baltimore, Maryland
BaltimoreOrioles 1950caplog.png
Cap insignia
Minor league affiliations
Previous classes
  • Triple-A (1946–1953)
  • Double-A (1912–1945)
  • Single-A (1903–1911)
Major league affiliations
Previous teams
Minor league titles
League titles 10 (1908, 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1944, 1950)
Team data
Previous parks

Name historyEdit

"Orioles" is a traditional name for baseball clubs in Baltimore, after the state bird of Maryland, with the colors of black and orange/gold/yellow. It was used by major league teams representing the city from 1882 through 1899 in the old American Association and the original National League two decades after its founding in 1876, and by a charter team franchise member of the new American League from 1901 through 1902. The original American League franchise was shifted to New York City in 1903 along with former player and owner/manager John McGraw, and eventually became known as the New York Yankees.

First minor league team, 1903–1914Edit

In 1903, an Oriole minor league team joined the Eastern League (renamed the International League in 1911, and not to be confused with the present day 'Double AA' level, minor league Eastern League). This Orioles team stayed mediocre for the first few years of its existence, but after the arrival of Jack Dunn (1872–1928), as manager, it won the Eastern League pennant in 1908. This E.L./I.L. Orioles team played at the old American League Park (a.k.a. Oriole Park) at the southwest corner of Greenmount Avenue and 29th Street in the Waverly neighborhood of northeast Baltimore.

The 1914 season featured the professional debut of local son, George Herman Ruth ("Babe Ruth"), but competition from the Baltimore Terrapins of the new Federal League challenge for major league status, with their more modern steel-beamed ballpark across the street, forced Dunn to sell Ruth (to the Boston Red Sox) later in the 1914 season and many of his other players, and eventually temporarily relocate the team to Richmond, Virginia (eventually becoming the present-day Syracuse Mets, still playing in the I.L.).

Second minor league team, 1916–1953Edit

The 1920 Baltimore Orioles

After the Federal League's demise, Dunn returned with an Orioles team in 1916. This team, later in the 1919 I.L. Baseball Season won the International League pennant with 100 victories, the first team to win that many games and went on a championship spree, seldom seen in major or minor league baseball ever since. Featuring another future Hall-of-Fame pitcher in Lefty Grove, the Orioles improved on that in 1920 by winning 110 games, including the last 25 of the season. In 1921, the Orioles won 27 straight games (a record for consecutive victories by a minor league team that would stand until the Salt Lake City team of the western Pioneer League won 29 in 1987). The Orioles won the League by 20 games over the second place team, and had a home record of 70 wins and 18 losses. Despite their impressive record, however, they lost the "Little World Series" to the American Association's champion Louisville Colonels, 4 games to 1. The Orioles actually led the fourth game, 12–4, but a riot broke out among the Louisville home crowd in the top of the 9th inning, and the game was forfeited to Baltimore, 9–0.[1] The I.L. Orioles continued to roll over International League opposition for several more seasons straight through to the 1925 Baseball Season.

The team entered the Governors' Cup playoffs in the International circuit in 1936, 1937, and 1940, but did not win another pennant until the "war year" of 1944. The team was leading the League on July 4 of that year, when their home wooden and steel beamed stadium, Oriole Park (formerly Terrapin Park of 1914), burned down. Even after relocating several blocks northwest to the old 1922 football bowl of Municipal Stadium on 33rd Street Boulevard (also known as "Baltimore Stadium"), the team seemed to have a hard time recovering from that loss, playing lackluster ball through the rest of the season and losing their last game, only to strangely "back into the championship" when the second place team, the Newark Bears, also lost their recent games. The Orioles, under manager Alphonse "Tommy" Thomas, went on to win the "Junior World Series" that year, four games to two, against Louisville. Six years later, with the shackles of war-time baseball cast off, in 1950, under manager Nick Cullop, Baltimore won the league championship again, only to lose the "Junior World Series" to the Columbus Red Birds of Ohio, four games to one. In 2001, the Orioles teams of 1919, 1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, and 1924 were recognized as being among the 100 greatest minor league teams of all time.[2]

Back to the majorsEdit

After the 1953 season, the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore and took the name of the Baltimore Orioles. The last minor league/International League Orioles team (of 1916–1953) re-located to Richmond (coincidentally just as had the earlier Orioles team in 1914), this time as the Richmond Virginians from 1954–64, later relocating as today's Toledo Mud Hens franchise in northwest Ohio since 1965.

"Governors' Cup", International League titlesEdit

The Orioles won the Governors' Cup, the championship of the IL, 2 times, and played in the championship games "Little World Series", 5 times.

Notable playersEdit

  • Phil Weintraub - 1938; Major League Baseball first baseman and outfielder


  1. ^ Baltimore Sun, October 10, 1921, pg 1
  2. ^ "Top 100 Teams". 2001. Retrieved May 9, 2017.