The 2014 season will be a special one for the Baltimore Orioles, and not just because there are postseason dreams around Birdland. The O’s will celebrate 60 years in Baltimore, which presents the perfect opportunity to reflect on great players and memories since 1954.
In the spirit of the occasion I’ve decided to highlight some of the great individual seasons we’ve witnessed from 1954-2013. So far, we’ve looked at left field, center field, right field, third base, and shortstop.
This week, we continue around the infield with second base.
Bobby Grich, 1974
.263/.376/.431 – 92 runs, 29 doubles, 6 triples, 19 home runs, 82 RBI, 17 stolen bases, Gold Glove Award
Bobby Grich spent seven seasons with the Orioles, making the All-Star team in three of them and winning the Gold Glove in four. In 1974, he did both, while finishing ninth in AL MVP voting
Grich finished second in the American League in runs scored and times on base (263), fourth in walks (90), sixth in runs created (99) and on-base percentage, and ninth in extra base hits (54).
He led AL second basemen in putouts (484), assists (453), and double plays turned (160) while finishing third in fielding percentage (.979).
Grich’s 19 home runs are second most by an Oriole second baseman since 1954. His 90 walks are tied for second and the 83 RBI are good for third.
His 7.3 wins above replacement (WAR) were good for second in the AL among position players in 1974 behind Rod Carew (7.4).
Brian Roberts, 2005
.314/.387/.515 – 92 runs, 45 doubles, 7 triples, 18 home runs, 73 RBI, 27 stolen bases
Injuries derailed his last four seasons as an Oriole. Prior to that, Brian Roberts was one of the more productive second basemen in Major League Baseball. In 2005, Roberts put it all together for the best season of his career.
Roberts established his career-highs in batting average (5th in AL), on-base percentage (8th in AL), slugging percentage, OPS+ (139 – 9th in AL), home runs, and total bases (289). He was also second in the American League in doubles, sixth in triples, and seventh in steals.
In the field, Roberts’ 9.4 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) is the highest for any season he logged 1,000+ defensive innings (six such seasons).
Roberto Alomar, 1996
.328/.411/.527 – 132 runs, 43 doubles, 22 home runs, 94 RBI, 17 stolen bases, Gold Glove Award
Thus far in the series, we’ve seen a few seasons by players in their first year with the Orioles (Frank Robinson, B.J. Surhoff, and Miguel Tejada). Roberto Alomar now joins that list.
In 1996, Alomar had the best offensive season of any Orioles second baseman since 1954. His hits (193), home runs, runs scored, RBI, batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage are all tops for a single-season among those who have played the position.
Alomar was third in the American League in runs, sixth in hits, seventh in average and doubles, and eighth in times on base (284).
He also took home his sixth consecutive Gold Glove Award and second Silver Slugger Award.