The 1896 NL and Temple Cup Champion Baltimore Orioles

The first baseball team to use the name Baltimore Orioles was created in 1882 in Baltimore, Maryland and played in the now-defunct American Association. Throughout the 1880s, the team ranged from mediocre to poor, and the owners shut down after their last-place 1888 season. However, the team was reconstituted in 1890 to replace last place Brooklyn Gladiators, who folded in midseason.

Their 1890 season was inglorious, with the Orioles finishing 24 games out of first. In 1892 the American Association failed and the Orioles moved to the National League, where they finally found glory: Their star-studded lineups fielded seven Hall of Famers (John J. McGraw, Wee Willie Keeler, Hughie Jennings, Joe Kelley, Wilbert Robinson, Joe McGinnity, and Dan Brouthers) and were managed by an eighth, Ned Hanlon. Behind this impressive collection of talent, they won three consecutive National League pennants in 1894, 1895, and 1896. They played in all four Temple Cup tournaments (a short-lived annual tournament which featured as something of a forerunner of the modern World Series, and which pitted the NL's first- and second-place teams against one another after the regular season's conclusion) and won the Cup in 1896 and 1897. The Orioles also became the first American soccer champion during an unpopular attempt by the National League to cross-promote that sport.

The team finished second in 1897 and 1898. After the latter season, much of its star-studded roster was transferred to the Brooklyn Dodgers, which shared joint ownership with the Orioles. In 1899, the Orioles were left with only McGraw and Robinson, and they finished fourth. At the end of that year they became one of four victims of the league's contraction. In 1901 a new major league team, from the upstart American League, arrived in Baltimore and took on the Oriole name, but after just two seasons they moved to New York City where they became the incomparably successful Yankees. Baltimore had only minor league baseball until the St. Louis Browns moved to the Baltimore market in 1954.

Baltimore Orioles in "The House That George Built"Edit

H.L. Mencken had been an avid baseball fan in the 1890s, though he stopped following the game at some point prior to 1911. His very first published piece of writing was a poem which ran in the Baltimore American in 1896, in which he sadly noted how ratty and faded the Baltimore Orioles' 1894 pennant had become.

Baltimore Orioles in The War That Came EarlyEdit

On July 4, 1937, a baseball team recruited from the Imperial Japanese Army's garrison in Peking challenged the city's United States Marine contingent to two baseball games. The Marines raised their own team and met the challenge. The two military teams split the double-header, with both sides playing the game as roughly as the Baltimore Orioles of the 1890s had. (In their heyday, the Orioles had been notorious for both the roughness of their game play and their fondness for trick plays.)

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