Friday, May 10, 2013

History of Baltimore Orioles (19th Century)

Introduction 
Baseball started as a pastime in the early 1800s mostly in the Northeast area of USA. In 1857 the National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) was formed by those players. During the Civil war, soldiers from different parts of the United States played baseball together, leading to a more unified national version of the sport. Beginning in 1869, the NABBP permitted professional play.
The team, the Baltimore Orioles was founded in 1882 as a charter member of the American Association. The American Association (AA) was a professional baseball major league that existed for 10 seasons from 1882 to 1891. During that time, it challenged the National League (NL) for dominance of professional baseball.

Together with the NL, the AA participated in an early version of the World Series seven times. At the end of its run, several franchises of the AA joined the NL. Beginning in 1884 and continuing through 1890, the champion of the AA met the champion of the NL in an early version of the World Series. These early Series were less organized than the modern version, with as few as three games played and as many as fifteen, and the contests of 1885 and 1890 ending in disputed ties. The NL won four of these Series, while the AA won only one, in 1886 when the St. Louis Browns (now Cardinals) defeated the Chicago White Stockings (now Cubs). Included “river cities” which were the smaller cities – St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Richmond, Philadelphia, Syracuse, Cincinatti

The Orioles
After the Association folded, the Orioles joined the National League in 1892. In the 1890s, a powerful National League Orioles team included "Wee" Willie Keeler, Wilbert Robinson, Hughie Jennings and John McGraw. They won three straight pennants in 1894, 95, and 96, and participated in all four of the Temple Cup Championship Series, winning the last two of them. Team Photo 1896 Baltimore Orioles official team photo, including future Hall of Famers "Wee Willie" Keeler (front row, to right of club manager Ned Hanlon in business suit, with elbow on Hanlon's knee) and John McGraw (2nd from left, front row)

Oriole Park 
The Orioles played at the old Oriole Park, in Harwood at 29th and Barclay Streets, from 1890 to 1891. But on the night of July 3, 1944, a fire of uncertain origin burned down the old ballpark and everything the team owned.
Union Park 
During the 1891 season, the Orioles moved a few blocks away to Union Park on 25th and Barclay Street, where they would play until they were removed from the NL after the 1899 season.

The Players 
Managed by Ned Hanlon, they won NL pennants in 1894, 1895 and 1896, and included some of the more colorful players, John McGraw, Wee Willie Keeler, Hughie Jennings, Joe Kelley, Wilbert Robinson, and Dan Brouthers.
Baseball Card Picture
 John McGraw and Hughie Jennings baseball card, Hassan Cork Tip Cigarettes, 1912. The middle image shows McGraw shaking hands with Athletics captain Harry Davis before the start of the 1911 World Series. From the collection of the Library of Congress.
Dirty Baseball & “Inside Baseball”
They were rough characters who practically invented "scientific" baseball, the form of baseball played before the home run became the norm in the 1920s. It is also known today as "small ball." The "inside baseball" strategy of Orioles featured tight pitching, hit and run tactics, stolen bases, and precise bunting. One such play, where the batter deliberately strikes the pitched ball downward onto the infield surface with sufficient force such that the ball rebounds skyward, allowing the batter to reach first base safely before the opposing team can field the ball, remains known as a Baltimore Chop. The chop is most effective if the batter is able to chop the ball off the plate, but having very hard ground in front of the plate makes a successful chop more likely. The Orioles supposedly had their groundskeeper treat the area in front of home to make it especially hard- just one example of their creative groundskeeping. Bill Hawke threw a no-hitter on August 16, 1893, the first from the modern pitching distance of 60 feet, 6 inches. Jay Hughes threw a no-hitter for the Orioles on April 22, 1898. Cap Anson 3: Muggsy John McGraw and the Tricksters: Baseball's Fun Age of Rule Bending was a book that chronicled and talked about the trickery of the Baltimore Orioles in the 1890s.
 John Mcgraw Picture
According to this book, “in amount of vile language, they were perhaps three times as bad as any other team.” A main reason is that they had John McGraw. In 1899, the Pittsburg [sic] Times said McGraw off the field is “one of the most pleasing gentlemen playing professional ball. He is not in the least swelled over his position and can intelligently discuss the game from any point.” On the field, though, he becomes “so wrapped up in the sport that for the time being he makes breaks that he would never think of at other times.

The Orioles was one of the four teams contracted out by the National League after the 1899 season. The best players were taken for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1901 the team was sacrificed for the bigger New York City franchise. They were called the New York Highlanders, later changed in 1913 to the New York Yankees. 1950s Orioles Until the 1950s, major league baseball franchises had been largely confined to the northeastern United States, with the teams and their locations having remained unchanged from 1903 to 1952. The first team to relocate in fifty years was the Boston Braves, who moved in 1953 to Milwaukee, where the club set attendance records. In 1954, the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore and were renamed the Baltimore Orioles.

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