Sports Saturdays


Baltimore Sports History: Oriole Park 4 & 5

Thursday, April 11th, 2024 by The Professor

by Andrew Ciofalo, host of After The Whistle

Today we all know and love Oriole Park at Camden Yards, its revolutionary design, the inclusion of the warehouse and much more make this Oriole Park feel like the great ballpark that it is. This isn’t the first Oriole Park however… It’s the sixth. The name Oriole Park has a great history and legacy that is often overshadowed.

In the 1880s, the Baltimore Orioles played in the American Association, the league most competitive with the National League. Commonly known as the AA, the winner of both leagues would play in a sort of World Series style championship. That was until the AA folded in 1891 after four of its teams moved to the more competitive National League, including the Orioles.

The Orioles first season in the National League was also their first season in their new home, Union Park. Naturally the park took the nickname of Oriole Park, becoming the third host of the club. The Orioles would find its greatest success to date at Union Park and in the National League. The first two years were rough though, finishing in last and 8th out of 12 teams. In the 1894 season, the Orioles would turn their 8th place finish from the previous year into a pennant win. It was the franchises’ first pennant win and the first of three in a row in a dominant run in the National League from ’94 to ’96. In the ’97 and ’98 seasons, the Orioles would finish 2nd to Boston. In their 8th and final season in the National League, the Orioles finished in 4th before they fell victim to the National Leagues cutdown from 12 teams to 8.

After leaving the National League, the Orioles Franchise had a short hiatus while there wasn’t a league for them. In came a gentleman named Ban Johnson who was the president American League, formerly a minor league called the Western League. Johnson became president of the Western League in 1894 with the goal of making his league a Major League. When the National League had its cutdown, the 4 teams were left to join this new American League.

When joining the American League, of course the Orioles needed a new field. Enter American League Park, or Oriole Park IV. The American League experiment didn’t go well for the Orioles as they only played 2 seasons. The first season was plagued by barely .500 play along with debate between then Oriole manager John McGraw and league president Ban Johnson. Arguments stemmed from the fact that Johnson originally wanted to place the team in New York City, but the New York Giants denied them from doing so. In the second season there was rumors that McGraw was wanting to try again to re-locate the team to New York but ultimately ended up leaving the team mid-season to join the Giants of the NL. Many players went with their manager to the Giants, leaving the Orioles very empty handed and leading Johnson to step in and take control. Safe to say baseball in Baltimore was not in good shape and that was evident when the club disbanded at the end of the season. Eventually the franchise would be re-located to New York as originally intended and the team’s name was changed to the Highlanders and then to what we know them today as; The New York Yankees. You’re welcome, Yankee fans.

After the Oriole major league franchise folded, the Oriole name was used for a new minor league team of the Eastern League. The minor league Orioles played at Oriole Park IV, where baseball legend Babe Ruth got his start. The minor league Orioles would continue to play at Oriole Park IV till 1914. The next Oriole Park was first called Terrapin Park where shortly a team called the Baltimore Terrapins played. After only 2 seasons, the Terrapins and the Federal League folded, and the minor league Orioles took over in Terrapin Park. The Orioles would continue to play there until 1944 when a fire destroyed all of the Park. The team would play the rest and future games at Municipal Stadium. The Stadium was known as other names such as Venable Stadium and Baltimore Stadium. It was renovated and reconstructed to be able to host baseball and football and was renamed to Memorial Stadium. Memorial Stadium would be the host of two teams that were new to Baltimore, the incoming St. Louis Browns and Dallas Texans.

Memorial Stadium wouldn’t be the sixth Oriole Park because it was a shared facility, the sixth wouldn’t come until after Memorial Stadium had been past its prime and heyday. The building of Camden Yards for the sole purpose of baseball caused it to inherit and bring back the Oriole Park name.



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Baltimore Sports History: Oriole Park 1-3

Thursday, April 4th, 2024 by The Professor

by Andrew Ciofalo, host of After The Whistle

Today we all know and love Oriole Park at Camden Yards, its revolutionary design, the inclusion of the warehouse and much more make this Oriole Park feel like the great ballpark that it is. This isn’t the first Oriole Park however… It’s the sixth. The name Oriole Park has a great history and legacy that is often overshadowed.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards has been home to the Baltimore Orioles since its creation in 1992. When naming the stadium, Oriole Park and Camden Yards were the favorites. Owner at the time Eli Jacobs wanted Oriole Park to be the name when Governor William Schaefer wanted the name to be Camden Yards. The compromise is what we still see today: Oriole Park at Camden Yards. It is a classy name, but I also can’t help but think that the name is an ode to the previous Oriole Parks.

Previous Oriole Parks? 5 of them to be exact. The Oriole name has been used in Baltimore for teams and their playing fields since the 1880s. There were 5 different ‘Oriole Parks’ from 1883 to 1944. Today we’ll look at the original Oriole Park and its short-lived successor, Oriole Park II. (more…)



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Baltimore Sports History: Frank Robinson

Tuesday, March 19th, 2024 by The Professor

In 1950, Baltimore was left without any baseball team when the Baltimore Elite Giants of the Negro Leagues folded. Baltimore went through a short 4-year stint without having a baseball team until The St. Louis Browns were sold to a group of Baltimore Businessmen. The team moved to Baltimore and went on to be renamed The Orioles.

The Baltimore Orioles have a rich history of talented players, including 17 MLB Hall of Famers. Among them was Baseball legend Frank Robinson who played for the Orioles for 6 seasons. Although he only played in Baltimore for a short time, his accomplishments will never be forgotten among Oriole fans. Robinson’s statue stands tall in Orioles Legends Park, in left center field at Camden Yards. (more…)



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Baltimore Sports History: Leon Day

Thursday, February 29th, 2024 by The Professor

by Andrew Ciofalo, host of After The Whistle

In celebration of Black History Month this year, I’d like to look back at the history of Negro League Baseball in Baltimore and some of the stars that helped break the color barrier to the MLB alongside of Jackie Robinson.

It is sad to see the records of Negro League Baseball players who barely missed out on the chance to play in the Major Leagues. There were so many talented players who had the skill to play that were a year or two away from the MLB color barrier being broken.

Leon Day played in the Negro Leagues for 10 years and like many others, never got his chance to show the rest of the country his skill. Day was a pitcher that some say was as good as, if not better than, Satchel Paige in his prime. I covered Paige in last week’s column in case you missed it! Paige got all the attention while he was playing, partly because he wanted it. Day was a more soft-spoken player and not one to seek the limelight. His focus was on his play, at which he excelled. (more…)



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Baltimore Sports History: Satchel Paige

Thursday, February 22nd, 2024 by The Professor

by Andrew Ciofalo, host of After The Whistle

In celebration of Black History Month this year, I’d like to look back at the history of Negro League Baseball in Baltimore and some of the stars that helped break the color barrier to the MLB alongside of Jackie Robinson.

In celebration of Black History Month this year, I’d like to look back at the history of Negro League Baseball in Baltimore and some of the stars that helped break the color barrier to the MLB alongside of Jackie Robinson.

Whenever Negro League Baseball comes into conversation, not far behind is the name Leroy “Satchel” Paige. After all, the right-handed pitcher might be the greatest player to ever play in the Negro Leagues. Satchel Paige played in the Negro Leagues for 20 years before he got a chance to play in the Major Leagues. His stats will vary depending on the source, but his story goes much deeper than just the numbers. (more…)



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Baltimore Sports History: Roy Campanella

Thursday, February 15th, 2024 by The Professor

by Andrew Ciofalo, host of After The Whistle

In celebration of Black History Month this year, I’d like to look back at the history of Negro League Baseball in Baltimore and some of the stars that helped break the color barrier to the MLB alongside of Jackie Robinson.

Many people may have heard the name Roy Campanella, after all he is a 3-time league MVP and Hall of Famer. But Campanella, much like many African American players, had to fight to even be in Major League Baseball.

The story of Roy Campanella starts 10 years before baseball’s color barrier was broken. Campanella was 15 when he got his first shot to play professional baseball. He played weekend games with the Washington Elite Giants while he was still in high school. Though, as soon as he turned 16, he dropped out of high school to chase his dream of playing professional baseball. (more…)



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Baltimore Sports History: Negro League Baseball

Thursday, February 8th, 2024 by The Professor

In our new series Baltimore Sports History, WLOY Sports Director Andrew Ciofalo, host of After The Whistle will explore some of the great lost history in our Charm City.  People know about the O’s and the Ravens but maybe not so much the Elite Giants or famous players that passed through our teams.  In celebration of Black History Month, we are covering some of the too little known history of Black sports in Baltimore.  Check in every week for more. 

Baseball has a rich history in Baltimore, dating all the way back to the 1870s. Today we see the Orioles as the big team in town, but this wasn’t always the case. Before the birds landed in 1954, the only professional baseball Baltimore had was Negro League Baseball. Between 1900 and 1950, no white professional baseball team had seen more than 2 full seasons of baseball (and that’s being generous.) (more…)



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Greyhounds Basketball Preview

Monday, November 14th, 2016 by WLOY Staff

Sports Saturday

Another season of Greyhounds basketball is officially underway as both the men and women’s teams began their season this weekend. The men’s team suffered a hard fought loss to A-10 opponent Duquesne by a score of 65-60 on Friday. However, the women notched their first win of the season in blowout fashion over Lipscomb 74-30.

The men’s team was lead by senior big man, Jarred Jones and junior point guard Andre Walker. The Greyhound tandem each dropped 21 points, but it was not enough to prevail over a tough Dukes team. Junior Chancellor Barnard put up a strong effort on the defensive end as he had a team high 5 blocks. The Greyhounds got limited help off the bench as they only had a combined 3 bench points compared to Duquesne’s 23. The Greyhounds also had a difficult time from the free throw line as they shot 47% from the charity stripe. The men will look to bounce back in their home opener tonight at 7:30 against the Millersville Marauders. (more…)



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What did the world look like in 1908?

Friday, November 4th, 2016 by WLOY Staff

Sports Saturday The Chicago Cubs just won their first World Series title since 1908.
Let’s try that again…
THE CHICAGO CUBS
              WON
THE WORLD SERIES!

Here is what the world looked like 108 years ago, the last time they won.

 

    • Life expectancy was 47 years
    • There were only 8,000 cars and 144 miles of paved roads
    • The maximum speed limit was 10 mph
    • Gas cost $0.15 per gallon
    • Minimum wage was $0.22
    • A Hershey bar cost $0.02
    • There were only 46 states
    • Theodore Roosevelt was president
    • World War 1 had not happened yet
    • The NBA did not exist

     

    Congratulations to the 2016 Chicago Cubs on finally breaking the curse of the Billy Goat!



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Tebow Time is Back

Monday, October 31st, 2016 by WLOY Staff

Sports Saturday

Just when you thought Timothy Richard Tebow was out of the spotlight, the former Heisman Trophy winner is back competing in professional sports. This time around, Tebow will be trading in his football cleats for baseball spikes.

On September 8, 2016 Tebow signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets in an attempt to fulfill his dreams of becoming a major league baseball player. Before signing his contract with the Mets, Tebow did not play competitive baseball since high school. The Mets assigned Tebow to play for the Scottsdale Scorpions of the Arizona Fall League. (more…)



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