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Who are the five most underrated Orioles?


Who are the five most underrated Orioles?

Melvin Mora enters the Orioles Hall of Fame on Friday night. It’s well-deserved. Mora was one of the most underrated players in team history. He’s one of my five most underappreciated.

1) Ken Singleton

In the words of my friend and colleague Jim Henneman, who’s seen more Orioles games than anyone else, Singleton was certainly valued.

“One might make a case that Singy was the O’s MVP from the mid-70s to mid-80s, but never the team’s most heralded player,” Henneman said.

Singleton was voted the Most Valuable Oriole three times, but for much of his Orioles career (1975-84), he played with a true Hall of Famer, Eddie Murray, and outstanding pitchers.

His best year was 1979 when he finished second in the Most Valuable Player voting to Don Baylor and hit 35 home runs, driving in 111 runs. (Murray never hit 35 homers.)

Singleton is in the team’s Top Ten lists in several important categories: games, hits, home runs and RBIs yet he’s somehow overlooked.

2) Melvin Mora

Did you know that Mora has the highest single-season batting average in team history?

In 2004, Mora hit .340 and led the American League with a .419 on-base percentage.

That year may have been an aberration, but he hit over 20 home runs three times and drove in more than 100 twice.

Mora played every position but catcher and pitcher though he’s remembered for playing a dependable third base for the last six seasons of his career.

He did all this despite never playing for a team that lost fewer than 88 games.

And, he’s the only Oriole to father quintuplets.

3) Al Bumbry

Bumbry was Henneman’s all-time favorite underrated player.

“Considered a below average defender primarily because of a weak arm, he transformed himself into a dependable defender in left field—and then remade himself as a center fielder,” Henneman said.

Bumbry succeeded the great Paul Blair in center field. Blair won eight Gold Gloves, but with Bumbry in center, the Orioles won the 1983 World Series.

He had 205 hits in 1980, the fifth highest single-season total, and is 10th on the team’s all-time list in that category.

Bumbry had great speed. His 252 stolen bases trail only Brady Anderson and Brian Roberts in team history, and he’s one of six Orioles to win Rookie of the Year.

4) Scott McGregor

My original inclination was to put Mike Flanagan here, but independently, three friends who I consulted with, Henneman, Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun and Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com, each argued that McGregor was the truly underrated one.

My argument was Flanagan’s tragic 2011 death had obscured his accomplishments. They each said that he was a Cy Young Award winner, and truly not underrated.

McGregor was best known for winning the last World Series game the Orioles played in, Game 5 in 1983.

He allowed just five hits to the Phillies. Murray hit two home runs and the World Series MVP Rick Dempsey hit one in the 5-0 win.

McGregor pitched 13 seasons—all with the Orioles, and his 138 wins are sixth all-time, and just three fewer than Flanagan.

While not a strikeout pitcher, McGregor is eighth on the team’s all-time list.

His biggest season was 1980 when the Orioles won 100 games and still fell short of the postseason. McGregor won 20 games, and didn’t even lead the team that year. Steve Stone won an Orioles record 25.

In his career, McGregor averaged just over two walks per nine innings, and in 1979, led the American League with just over one walk per nine innings and a 3.52 strikeout/walk ratio.

5) Chris Hoiles

The Orioles have had great players at every position—except one. They don’t have a Hall of Fame catcher.

For the oldest fans, they may think Gus Triandos was the team’s best. I think it’s Matt Wieters.

The more sentimental fans vote for Dempsey, who caught the most games in team history and had an underrated throwing arm.

But, with his continuing presence in the area, Dempsey is hardly underappreciated.

Hoiles’ career ended in 1998 when injuries wore him down at 33. He hit more than 20 home runs three times, and batted .310 in 1993.

His defense wasn’t bad, either. In 1993, while catching 124 games, Hoiles threw out 41 percent of runners who tried to steal.

HONORABLE MENTION: I’ve been in Baltimore since 1980, and focused on players who I’ve watched or covered in the past 35 years. I’ve also excluded current Orioles.

There are several others who could be on this list: Harold Baines, Mike Boddicker, Tippy Martinez, B.J. Ryan and B.J. Surhoff.

Mora, John Lowenstein, Gary Roenicke and longtime scout Fred Uhlman, Sr. will be inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame before Friday night’s game with Oakland.

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Indians' 14-hit victory hands Orioles 8th loss in 9 games


Indians' 14-hit victory hands Orioles 8th loss in 9 games

BALTIMORE — The Cleveland Indians figured it would only be a matter of time before their struggling offense provided some support to a solid starting rotation.

Jose Ramirez and the rest of the batting order finally got into a groove Sunday, and the result was a 14-hit attack that carried Corey Kluber and the Indians past the Baltimore Orioles 7-3.

Cleveland came into the game with a .211 team batting average and ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs scored. On this day, however, Ramirez hit a solo shot in the fourth inning and a two-run drive in the ninth, and Yan Gomes had three hits to lift his batting average 41 points to .261.

"When things are not going my way, I stay positive and work it," Ramirez said through a translator. "I know eventually I'm going to break out."

Ramirez has three homers in two games and a team-leading seven for the season.

"I try not to do too much," Ramirez said. "I just look for a good pitch and then I hit it somewhere."


Kluber yielded two home runs to Manny Machado, but the Indians twice came from behind before tacking on three runs in the ninth.

"I thought we did a pretty good job," manager Terry Francona said. "When they came back, we came back at them. We kept pushing and took some better swings."

Kluber (3-1) allowed three runs and six hits over seven-plus innings. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner walked none and struck out four to move past Charles Nagy into sixth place on the Indians' career strikeout list with 1,238.

"It doesn't matter if you feel you pitched well or didn't pitch well. The goal is to end the game with more runs they do," Kluber said. "That's what we did."

Machado's third multihomer game of the season wasn't enough to prevent the Orioles from losing for the ninth time in 10 games, a skid that has dropped them 10 games under .500 (6-16).

"You know what? There's no excuse for what's happening," Machado said. "We need to play better overall. Nobody is in here pointing fingers. We are in here together, and we are going to ride or die together."

Andrew Cashner (1-3) gave up four runs and eight hits in six innings, walking two and striking out seven. He's 0-3 with 7.41 ERA in three lifetime appearances against the Indians.

After Machado connected in the first inning, Cleveland went up 2-1 in the fourth when Edwin Encarnacion and Yonder Alonso hit successive doubles following a leadoff homer by Ramirez.

Baltimore regained the lead in the bottom half. After Machado homered, Adam Jones doubled and scored on a single by Chris Davis.

A pair of walks and run-scoring singles by Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley put the Indians up 4-3 in the fifth.

"Once you get the lead, you can't give it up," Cashner lamented.


Indians: CF Bradley Zimmer was a late scratch with a mild right ankle sprain. He was replaced by Rajai Davis.

Orioles: LF Trey Mancini missed a second straight game with a swollen right knee. ... DH Mark Trumbo (strained right quad) will begin a three-game stint with Double-A Bowie on Monday, then play three games with Triple-A Norfolk later in the week, manager Buck Showalter said. He won't be rushed to return. "It's important we get it right the first time," Showalter said.


Indians right-hander Josh Tomlin threw a side session Saturday and is expected to start Tuesday against the Cubs. Francona opted to skip Tomlin's last scheduled start Wednesday to reset the rotation after Cleveland had two straight games postponed last weekend.


Indians: Carlos Carrasco (3-0, 3.48 ERA) starts the series finale Monday night. The right-hander is 9-0 with a 1.75 ERA over his past 11 starts since Aug. 27.

Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman (1-1, 5.57) makes his fifth start of the season after allowing 27 hits -- including six homers -- over 21 innings.


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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

BALTIMORE -- Mike Clevenger pitched a two-hitter in his first career complete game, and the Cleveland Indians hit three solo homers off Chris Tillman in a 4-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

Jose Ramirez went 3 for 4 with his team-leading fifth home run. Yan Gomes and Yonder Alonso also went deep for Cleveland, which came into the game ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs and last in batting average.

Clevenger (2-0) hardly needed the offensive support. Pitching on seven days' rest, the right-hander struck out three, walked two and allowed only one runner past first base.

The only two hits he allowed were singles by Manny Machado in the fourth inning and Chance Sisco in the fifth.

It was Clevenger's 35th career start. His previous longest outing was 7 1/3 innings, earlier this month against Kansas City.

While Clevenger is unbeaten in 11 starts since July 31, Tillman has experienced an opposite fate. This was his 22nd straight start without a victory, dating back to his first outing last season.

Tillman (0-4) gave up four runs, eight hits and a walk in six innings. The three home runs were one more than he yielded in his first three starts this season.

Michael Brantley hit a run-scoring groundout in the first inning and Gomes connected in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.

The Orioles put runners on the corners with one out in the fourth, their lone threat against Clevenger, who responded by retiring Tim Beckham on a short fly to left and getting Anthony Santander to ground out.

Ramirez led off the sixth with a drive to left, and Alonso hit a two-out shot that landed on Eutaw Street beyond the right-field scoreboard.