Manager: Ray Miller
Record: 79-85
Finish: 4th Place
1998 Baltimore Orioles
Stadium: Oriole Park at Camden Yards
Attendance: 2.7 million

Expectations were high in the media and among fans, coming off a wire-to-wire 1997 season, and entering the 1998 season with a veteran-filled team with the highest payroll in baseball. There was some uncertainty, due to the loss of top manager Davey Johnson and closer Randy Myers, but most felt the additions of veteran leaders like Joe Carter, Ozzie Guillen, and Doug Drabek meant the Orioles would at least challenge for the AL East title. Some observers, such as we here at the Warehouse, were more skeptical, feeling that the ancient team was poorly constructed and unlikely to compete with the better teams in the division. One sportswriter dubbed the stadium Jurassic Park at Camden Yards to reflect the age of the roster.

The Os started out on a strong note, with a 10-2 record. However, it quickly became apparent that the "proven veterans" added to the roster were mostly deadweight, and in may the team endured a long 9 game losing streak, plunging them down into fifth place below the expansion Devil Rays. The age of the team showed through as the rotation was decimated by injuries to Key and Kamieniecki, and the Os endured subpar years from Anderson, Ripken, and everyone else. To make matters worse, ace Mike Mussina was sidelined for almost a month with two freak injuries, a wart on his pitching finger and a broken nose after a line drive from Sandy Alomar hit him in the face.

By the all-star break, Guillen had been released and the Orioles were 38-50, in fourth place, 26 1/2 games out of first place. The season looked like an utter disaster. Something seemed to happen at the break, however, and the offense was suddenly reinvigorated. The Orioles charged out of the gate, winning nine straight games, twenty-two of their first twenty-seven, and ultimately going 30-8 over a six week period. On August 19th, the team stood 68-58, ten games over .500, and visions of the wild card danced in the heads of the faithful. Our more realistic side noted that the Orioles were still 25.5 games behind the Yankees, and far behind the second place Red Sox.

Although it was an unpopular opinion, we noted that the Orioles would have had to make the largest comeback in history just to catch the Red Sox, and that it didn't seem likely. Our pessimism proved prophetic, as the Orioles almost immediately went on a 10-game losing streak, sealing their fate. After that, the only question was whether the team could stay above .500, but they dropped 11 of their last 13 games, making even that modest goal impossible.

  • Cal Ripken ends his historic streak at 2,632 games.
  • Eric Davis has a team-record 30 game hitting streak
  • Sidney Ponson shuts down the Yankees on June 16th.
  • Nerio Rodriguez's 5 perfect innings versus the Blue Jays.
  • Chris Hoiles becomes the ninth to hit 2 Grand Slams in a game.
  • Mussina pitches a 2 hitter
  • Eddie Murray's number retired.
  • Cal, Roberto, Palmeiro star in All-Star Game; Roberto wins MVP
  • Ripken passes Brooks Robinson and sets the all-time team hit record
  • Lowlights:
  • Every Doug Drabek start
  • The Brawl
  • Four losing streaks of 6 or more games: a 9 game one in early May, an 8 game one in late June, a 10 game one in late August, and a 6 game one in late September.
  • The defending champs, expected to contend, fall briefly into last on May 19th, behind the expansion Devil Rays
  • David Wells, who the Os let go because of his "attitude," pitches a perfect game
  • Charlton, Mathews. Enough Said.
  • Carter, signed for his "leadership," plays badly, complains about his playing time, and then gets dumped in midseason for a minor league pitcher.
  • Ozzie Guillen, ostensibly only given a ST shot, stinks up ST but gets a roster spot anyway, and then gets released a few weeks later
  • Injuries to minor leaguers Montgomery, Clyburn, and Otanez
  • Mussina's wart, and then his line drive to the face
  • Injuries to Key and Kamieniecki decimate the starting rotation
  • Season Recap
    The Season: The Team:
    Schedule and Results
    Final Standings
    Roster with Stats
    Amateur Draft