This Mount Rushmore takes a look at the original Milwaukee Brewers. After joining the American League in 1901, the Brewers relocated to St. Louis for the next season and re-branded themselves as the Browns. Following the 1953 season, the franchise moved one last time, this time moving to Baltimore. They took the name of a previous franchise that played there (and later moved to New York…) and called themselves the Orioles.
For years, this was a pretty bad franchise. From 1901 to 1943, they didn’t have a single first-place finish (in just an 8-team league!) They had only 2 second-place finishes in that time too. After finishing first and losing the World Series in 1944, the team embarked on another went another 21 years without another top finish. Then, in 1966, their fortunes changes. The Orioles won the World Series that year, made 3 more finals in 1969-1971 (including another win in 1970) and proceeded to make the playoffs 4 more times from 1973-1983, capping off with yet another World Series win in that final season.
Since 1983, the pickings have been pretty slim. They’ve made the playoffs just twice (in 1996 and 1997, losing in the ALCS each time) and are way under .500 for that period. So far, 2012 has been the best season in years for the team, with them clinging to 2nd place in the AL East.
Anyway, the franchise has had some pretty awesome players over the years. Let’s dig in.
Here are the leaders for the franchise in WAR among batters:
Well, let’s see. Is it possible to leave off any of those top 4 Hall of Famers? I guess. maybe if they’ve had no decent pitchers…heh. (Paging Mr. Palmer, Mr. Jim Palmer.)
Cal Ripken–well I don’t really know what to say about him that hasn’t already been said. Inner-circle Hall of Famer. Brooks Robinson is generally regarded as the second-greatest 3rd baseman of all time. Eddie Muray is the second-best switch-hitter of all time. Gorgeous George is probably the weakest of the 4, despite having the 16th-highest batting average of all time.
It’s pretty hard to ignore some other players who were key contributors during playoff years: Mark Belanger, Paul Blair, Bobby Grich, Brady Anderson. Boog Powell, and Frank Robinson.
Among pitchers here are the top 15 among WAR:
These are surprisingly low totals, aren’t they? Jim Palmer’s the bees knees, and Mike Mussina did really well in his 10 years with the club. Shocker and Powell put up nice totals too but during years when the team was bad.
We also must mention Earl Weaver, the manager who made such a massive imprint on the franchise.
Please choose four candidates: