1985 Baltimore Orioles

From BR Bullpen


1985 Baltimore Orioles / Franchise: Baltimore Orioles / BR Team Page[edit]

Record: 83-78, Finished 4th in AL Eastern Division (1985 AL)

Managed by Joe Altobelli (29-26), Cal Ripken Sr. (1-0), and Earl Weaver (53-52)

Coaches: Terry Crowley, Elrod Hendricks, Ray Miller, Cal Ripken Sr., Frank Robinson, Ken Rowe and Jimmy Williams

Ballpark: Memorial Stadium

History, Comments, Contributions[edit]

The 1985 Baltimore Orioles significantly dipped into the free agent market for the first time before the season. Coming off their disappointing previous year as 5th-place-finishing defending champs in 1984, owner Edward Bennett Williams, who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer, decided to go with a quick-fix strategy. The oft-hobbled Fred Lynn, signed for four years; 37-year-old Lee Lacy, signed for three years; and Don Aase all came to the Orioles. In a June trade, General Manager Hank Peters also brought in Alan Wiggins, who was himself in a steeper, and more tragic, downward spiral than the O's.

The 1985 Orioles did not return to the top, but fell to 83 wins - the team's lowest total (without a work stoppage) since 1967. Pitching was the culprit. The offense, led by Eddie Murray, scored the second-most runs in the American League, but the Orioles' ERA fell into the bottom half of the league - which, again, had not happened since 1967.

Mike Flanagan tore his Achilles' tendon in an off-season basketball game and missed much of the year, Scott McGregor's ERA rose to a new career high of 4.81, Dennis Martinez had yet to reestablish himself following his bout with alcoholism and the Orioles got two disappointing seasons from two young starters: 1984 20-game winner Mike Boddicker and Storm Davis, who entered the season at 23 years old, already with 35 wins. Whether related to the pitching's regression or not, long-time and successful pitching coach Ray Miller left the team in June to take the managing position with the Minnesota Twins.

With the team hovering just above .500 in mid-June, Joe Altobelli was fired and Earl Weaver was coaxed out of retirement. The team went 53-52 with Weaver at the helm.

Murray completed a remarkable five-year run in which he finished in the top 5 in MVP voting each year (previously achieved by Stan Musial and Yogi Berra and since by Barry Bonds twice and Albert Pujols). Murray had his career high of 124 RBI and was elected to start the All-Star Game for the only time in his career. He finished in the AL top 5 in runs, RBI, total bases, OBP and slugging. He was 6th with 31 HR and 10th in the batting race.

Floyd Rayford had his career year, hitting .306 with 18 HR in 105 games at third base and behind the plate. 25-year-old switch-hitter Mike Young seemed to build on his 17-HR rookie season with a 28-HR, .278/.348/.513 performance, but 1985 would be his last above-average year.

Fred Lynn played in 124 games, hitting .263/.339/.449 with 23 HR, Lee Lacy also played about three-quarters of the time and hit .293/.343/.409, while Don Aase won 10 and saved 14 games out of the bullpen.

Lacy replaced the Orioles' long-running "Roewenstein" platoon of Gary Roenicke and John Lowenstein, both of whom departed during 1985. 38-year-old Lowenstein was released in May and Roenicke was traded to the New York Yankees after the season.

The acquisition of Wiggins also supplanted some long-time Orioles. Both sides of the second base tandem of Rich Dauer and Lenn Sakata left after the season.

1985 was also Sammy Stewart's final year as an Oriole.

Awards and Honors[edit]