After the 1988 season where the Orioles lost their first 21 games and ended up 54-107, no one knew what to expect in 1989. No one could have imagined that the team would win 87 games and challenge for the division title, losing on the last day to Toronto. The 1989 Orioles finished 12th out of 14 teams in batting average. They were 8th in ERA. Cal Ripken was the only superstar on the team. However, he had an off year, hitting .257 with 21 homeruns and 93 rbis. They were led in home runs by Mickey “Fruit Loops” Tettleton with 26. Joe Orsulak was the leading hitter at .285. No names such as Randy Milligan and Craig Worthington had their best years as pros, albeit not super years. Jeff Ballard led the team in wins with 18. The bullpen was the strong point of the team, with Gregg Olson leading the way with a 1.69 ERA and 27 saves.
Now let’s look at 2012. No one could have expected that this team would be 72-57 and be challenging for the division title. The 2012 Orioles are 10th out of 14 teams in batting average. They are 8th in ERA. Although this team doesn’t have a superstar such as Ripken, Adam Jones is having a near-superstar season. No names such as Chris Davis and Pedro Strop have had their best years as pros. The bullpen has been the strong point of the team, with Jim Johnson leading the way with 41 saves.
In 1989, players such as Jay Tibbs, Jose Bautista (not THAT Jose Batista), Kevin Hickey, and Dave Johnson all played roles in the team’s success.
In 2012, players such as Taylor Teagarden, Steve Tolleson, Xavier Avery, Nate McLouth, Lew Ford, and Dave Johnson’s son Steve have all played roles in the team’s success.
In 1989, Frank Robinson managed the team beautifully, mixing youth and veterans to take the team further than anyone believed they could.
In 2012, Buck Showalter has managed the team beautifully, mixing youth and veterans to take the team further than anyone believed they could.
As you can see, their are many similarities between these two teams. The 1989 team was unable to continue their success after that season. Let’s hope that the 2012 team can not only continue their success this year, but also future years.