1983 O-Pee-Chee #163 Cal Ripken – It is absolutely impossible not to love this card with an absolute passion.

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:

Rk Player WAR/pos From To
1 Cal Ripken 90.9 1981 2001
2 Brooks Robinson 72.7 1955 1977
3 Eddie Murray 53.2 1977 1996
4 George Sisler 49.6 1915 1927
5 Bobby Wallace 45.2 1902 1916
6 Ken Williams 37.7 1918 1927
7 Mark Belanger 37.5 1965 1981
8 Paul Blair 36.4 1964 1976
9 Harlond Clift 34.9 1934 1943
10 Bobby Grich 34.4 1970 1976
11 Brady Anderson 32.2 1988 2001
12 Boog Powell 31.8 1961 1974
13 Frank Robinson 30.4 1966 1971
14 Ken Singleton 27.5 1975 1984
15 Melvin Mora 26.9 2000 2009
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/15/2012.

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:

Rk Player WAR From To
1 Jim Palmer 63.2 1965 1984
2 Mike Mussina 45.0 1991 2000
3 Urban Shocker 35.9 1918 1924
4 Jack Powell 29.4 1902 1912
5 Ned Garver 22.5 1948 1952
6 Carl Weilman 22.3 1912 1920
7 Dave McNally 22.2 1962 1974
8 Barney Pelty 21.3 1903 1912
9 Harry Howell 21.2 1904 1910
10 Milt Pappas 20.3 1957 1965
11 Mike Flanagan 19.3 1975 1992
12 Lefty Stewart 19.0 1927 1932
13 George Blaeholder 18.4 1925 1935
14 Nels Potter 17.7 1943 1948
15 Scott McGregor 17.7 1976 1988
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 7/15/2012.

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:

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