As the MLB season approaches, we see rising talent leaving a mark. But what about generations past? The Baltimore Orioles have a rich history filled with talented players who have left an indelible mark on the game of baseball. Among these players, a select group of pitchers stands out for their exceptional skill, consistency, and impact on the team’s success. In this article, we will pay tribute to the top 10 greatest Orioles pitchers of all time.
Jim Palmer is widely considered the best pitcher in Orioles’ history. Spending his entire 19-year career with the team (1965-1984), Palmer earned three Cy Young Awards and was an integral part of Baltimore’s World Series championships in 1966, 1970, and 1983. A six-time All-Star, Palmer won 268 games and posted a career ERA of 2.86. His exceptional control and consistency on the mound earned him a well-deserved induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1990.
Mike Mussina, known for his precise control and deceptive knuckle-curve, spent the first ten years of his career with the Orioles (1991-2000). A five-time All-Star, Mussina won 147 games for Baltimore, achieving a 3.53 ERA during his tenure with the team. Although he never won a Cy Young Award, he finished in the top six in voting on five separate occasions while with the Orioles.
One of the key members of the Orioles’ legendary starting rotation during the late 1960s and early 1970s, Dave McNally spent 13 seasons with the team (1962-1974). A three-time All-Star, McNally won 20 or more games in four consecutive seasons (1968-1971) and played a crucial role in the Orioles’ World Series championships in 1966 and 1970. He finished his Orioles career with 181 wins and a 3.24 ERA.
Scott McGregor enjoyed a successful 13-year career with the Orioles (1976-1988). A consistent and reliable pitcher, McGregor won 20 games in 1980 and was named an All-Star that same year. He was instrumental in Baltimore’s 1983 World Series victory, winning two games during the series, including the decisive Game 5. McGregor retired with 138 wins and a 3.99 ERA as an Oriole.
Mike Cuellar joined the Orioles in 1969 and quickly became a standout member of the starting rotation. A crafty left-hander, Cuellar won the 1969 Cy Young Award and was a key contributor to Baltimore’s 1970 World Series championship. Cuellar was named an All-Star four times during his eight seasons with the team and won 143 games with a 3.18 ERA as an Oriole.
Mike Flanagan, known for his devastating curveball, spent the majority of his 18-year career with the Orioles (1975-1987, 1991-1992). Flanagan was awarded the Cy Young in 1979, when he led the American League with 23 wins and a 3.08 ERA. He contributed to Baltimore’s 1983 World Series title and finished his Orioles career with 141 wins and a 3.89 ERA.
Steve Stone spent only three seasons in Baltimore, but merits placement on this list due to having his best season with the team. In 1980, the righty started 37 games, and amassed an impressive record of 25-7 and a 3.23 ERA en route to winning the American League Cy Young award. It was the only time in his career he so much as made the All-Star team, let alone received any Cy Young votes.
Chris Tillman played an essential role in the Orioles’ starting rotation from 2009 to 2018. A reliable workhorse on the mound, Tillman was named an All-Star in 2013 and won 16 games or more in three separate seasons. With a career record of 74 wins and a 4.43 ERA as an Oriole, Tillman was an integral part of Baltimore’s success during his tenure with the team.
Milt Pappas spent the first decade of his impressive 17-year career with the Orioles (1957-1965). Known for his pinpoint control, Pappas was a three-time All-Star and enjoyed four seasons with 15 or more wins while playing for Baltimore. He finished his Orioles career with 110 wins and a 3.24 ERA, making him one of the most successful pitchers in the team’s history.
Steve Barber, a hard-throwing left-hander, spent eight seasons with the Orioles (1960-1967), during which he established himself as one of the team’s top pitchers. Barber was a two-time All-Star and won 95 games with a 3.12 ERA while playing for Baltimore. He is best known for his near no-hitter in 1967, which he lost due to a controversial scoring decision.
The Baltimore Orioles have been fortunate to have a remarkable array of talented pitchers throughout their history. These ten individuals represent the best of the best, each leaving a lasting legacy on the franchise with their incredible performances on the mound. As we celebrate their accomplishments, we also look forward to the future and the new generation of Orioles pitchers who will continue the team’s storied tradition of excellence.