Since moving from St. Louis in 1954, the Baltimore Orioles have racked up some great games in their history. Every fan loves to watch exciting comebacks and incredible walk-off home runs, and the Orioles have had their fair share of both.
If you're wondering, I won't count blowing leads and blowouts on the list. They were exciting for the other side, but heartbreaking for Orioles fans. That means you can count out the Jeffrey Maier debacle, the Mother's Day Massacre and the Texas doubleheader that ended in a 30-3 loss.
Disclaimer: I am as old as Camden Yards, so I don't have enough memory to recount the great Memorial Stadium games. I'm sure I'll leave off some cool games and I'd love to hear from readers that have some favorites that I miss. Just don't phrase it as "How could you leave out..."
Here are the top-10 most exciting games in Orioles history.
This is a game that doesn't sound exciting from the final score, but was one of the coolest games I've ever seen.
The game was a classic pitcher's duel between James Shields and Erik Bedard. The young Shields pitched nine innings of shutout ball, and Bedard matched for seven innings, striking out 10 in the process. Danys Baez, Chris Ray and John Parrish each pitched a shutout inning, setting up the Orioles in the bottom of the 10th.
Huff stepped up when needed and sent a 1-1 pitch deep into the Orioles bullpen in center, and the game ended. The wait for a run provided one of the most exhilarating games in O's history.
When you enter the bottom of the ninth down three runs, it's pretty safe to say that the game is over. Not a lot of closers blow a three-run lead.
All seemed grim for the Orioles as Norm Charlton stepped to the mound for the Mariners to finish a four-out save. That was until he let up a leadoff walk to Roberto Alomar. He managed to trade two outs for two more baserunners, and Chris Hoiles stepped to the plate with the bases loaded.
What ensued was something that had only happened 19 times before and seven times since. Hoiles smashed a walk-off grand slam to take the Orioles from three down to one up to give the Orioles a ridiculous win.
The Orioles never really finished a World Series with a truly exciting game. All of them seem to have ended in dominant performances. Either way, a World Series win is always going to rank on the most exciting games.
The 1983 World Series ended in a rout. Eddie Murray smacked two home runs, but was overshadowed by Scott McGregor pitching a five-hit shutout to give the Orioles their third title in as many decades.
As I said, World Series wins are always exciting.
1970's finale was another rout. Mike Cuellar allowed Cincinnati to get a quick lead with three runs in the first, but the Orioles scored two runs in each of the first three innings and never let up the lead. Cuellar didn't allow a run for the rest of the game and the Orioles finished the game 9-3.
Earl Weaver was known for having a knack for calling the right pinch-hitter at the exact right time. This was no different in Game 1 of the 1979 ALCS.
I bet you don't know much about John Lowenstein. From what I've learned, he was part of an outfield platoon with Brewers manager Ron Roenicke's brother Gary. I also bet that the Angels thought they were going to face an easy out because they walked Al Bumbry to get to Mark Belanger.
Earl Weaver responded in his Hall of Fame-worthy fashion by bringing in Lowenstein to hit, and he responded with a three-run home run to end the game in the 10th.
You saw two and three, but I've got to have numero uno.
The Orioles had only been around since 1954, and they really weren't all that good for a while, but Brooks Robinson and gang wanted to prove otherwise.
Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson hit a solo home run in the fourth, and that was all Dave McNally needed as he shut down the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing four hits in a shutout. It was the first World Series for Baltimore and one of the best games.
This is the only game on this list that the Orioles didn't win, but it may be the most powerful. The Orioles lost the game to the Red Sox 3-2, but it was more than just a game that night.
I had the honor of being one of the many people in the packed Camden Yards seats that saw this game live, and it has stuck with me for all 11 years since. The fact that Baltimore's own was taking the field for the final time was jarring, but invigorating. The Orioles didn't need to win the game. They weren't going to the playoffs anyway. All that mattered was saying goodbye to 8.
There are a lot of records that people think will never be broken, but this is one that won't. I know that people thought that nobody would beat Gehrig's streak and then this happened, but this is different.
Cal's record-breaking game that guaranteed his induction into the Hall of Fame had to have been one of the most exciting games ever. The game had an abrupt halt as soon as it became official because Cal was forced to take a lap.
This game has been called the "Most Memorable Moment" in MLB history, and rightfully so. A legend and phenomenal human being showed what it meant to be a true Iron Man.
September 28, 2011, was one of the most exciting days in MLB history. Not just this game, but the Rays' unbelievable finish against the Yankees cemented the whole day as one of the best.
Let's paint the picture. The Orioles were down 3-2 in the eighth and Marco Scutaro was on first. Carl Crawford sent a ball to the outfield for a double, and Adam Jones fired back in to J.J. Hardy. Hardy subsequently threw the ball to Matt Wieters for a bang-bang out at the plate to keep the score the same.
Fast forward to the ninth inning. Jonathan Papelbon has just struck out Adam Jones and Mark Reynolds, leaving new Oriole Chris Davis at the plate with two outs. Davis doubles. Nolan Reimold steps to the plate and gets ahead in the count, but allows it to even up at 2-2. Papelbon puts a little extra into a 97 MPH fastball, and Reimold smacks it for a ground-rule double to tie the game.
Next up was Robert Andino, a man that many Boston fans had never heard of, but will never forget. Andino singled to Crawford, who struggled to field it cleanly, and Reimold came flying in from second for the walk-off win.
Not only did the Orioles cap off a bad season with a spectacular win, but they also put the Red Sox's playoff hopes in the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays came back for their most exciting game in their short history and set off a chain of events that led to the Red Sox blowing up the team.
I can't say the words that were going through my mind for the first six innings of this game. It was just like the Orioles to let up a ton of runs early and then coast to a loss. I'm surprised I watched the end of the game because there was a nine-run deficit and an hour-plus rain delay.
The Orioles entered the bottom of the seventh down 10-1, but led by an Oscar Salazar three-run homer, scored five runs to cut it to a 10-6 Red Sox lead. The Orioles got back to work in the eighth with big hits from Matt Wieters and Brian Roberts to set up Nick Markakis against Jonathan Papelbon with runners on first and second and the Orioles down by a run.
Nick smacked the most exciting double in history to score Jeremy Guthrie (yep, he was pinch running) and Brian Roberts to complete the nine-run comeback and give the Orioles a one-run lead. "The Brim Reaper," George Sherrill, closed the game for a spectacular comeback.