|St. Louis is often regarded as Americas Best Baseball Town, but what is forgotten is that up until 1926 (when the Cardinals won their first World Series) St. Louis was a Browns town. During their first twenty-five years, the Browns outdrew the Cardinals at the gate, and were dearly loved but almost completely unsuccessful.
During their 52 year tenure the St. Louis Browns won a grand total of one pennant finishing last or next to last 26 times. The team only managed to finish in the top half of the standings 12 times. The low-tide mark was 1939, when the Browns managed to lose 111 games, this to cap off a decade in which the team achieved a winning percentage of .375. Thats right, the Browns average season, for 10 straight years, was 57-95. Apparently, futility of this sort cant be sustained any longer than 10 years, because the team improved during the 40s, winning their lone pennant during the war-depleted season of 1944. Soon after, Bill Veeck bought the team, and his oddball efforts to improve attendance so angered other owners that he was forced to sell and move the team.
The Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954 after several losing seasons and waning attendance. The Orioles gradually built a system that produced the most successful baseball team from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s. Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, and Jim Palmer helped form the nucleus of the 1969-1971 team that won 100 games annually. Managed by Earl Weaver, the club featured great pitching, defense, and power. Later in the 1970s Eddie Murray, Mike Flanagan, and Ken Singleton starred for the O's. The franchise won World Series titles in 1966 (under Hank Bauer), 1970 (over the Cincinnati Reds), and 1983. Three times (1969, 1971, and 1979) they lost in the Fall Classic though they were favored. The most embarrassing defeat came to the Mets in '69.
The most popular Oriole has been Cal Ripken Jr., who broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played streak and won two MVP awards for Baltimore. The Orioles moved into a state-of-the-art "throwback" stadium Oriole Park at Camden Yards in the 1990s. At the same time, the team aged and fell from contention. Other Oriole standouts have been Mike Cuellar, Boog Powell, Dave McNally, Mark Belanger, Paul Blair, Al Bumbry, Rick Dempsey, Scott McGregor, Steve Stone, Mike Boddicker, and Doug DeCinces. In the 1990s Rafael Palmeiro, Roberto Alomar, Brady Anderson, and Mike Mussina starred for the team. Ripken hung up his spikes in 2001 after pushing the consecutive games played streak to more than 2,600 games.
In 2004 the Baltimore Orioles finished 3rd in their American League East Division with a 78-84 record.
In 2006 the Baltimore Orioles finished 4th in their American League East
Division with a 70-92 record.