1892 started with the American Association dead and gone and several AA teams merged into the NL. One of these teams was the Original Baltimore Orioles. How would they do in their first year in the NL? What they faced was a stronger NL for the teams that folded had let their talent go so it only strengthened the level of play in the League with less teams vying for the talent available.
However, on the plus side the Orioles would not just have one chance during the year for a pennant, but two! This year the League divided its season into a first half and a second half. The idea was the first half winner would play the second half winner for the League title. What would happen if a team won both halves? Well, no one seemed to have thought of that, but it all worked out anyways.
The manager this year was not Billy Barnie, but rather George Van Haltren, then John Waltz and finally Ned Hanlon. The arrival of Ned Hanlon brought the O's the manager who would forge the team into the dynasty that was to come. Another piece had come to the puzzle although one would be hard pressed to see it at the time with the season the Birds had this year.
One of Hanlon's first move was to trade for Joe Kelley who was to be another vital part of the coming Orioles powerhouse. While the O's did struggle this year, in both halves, they proved to be an exciting team and their biggest highlight of the year came against St. Louis winning the first game 25-4 and the second game of the doubleheader 9-3. They had 44 hits in the two games and Wilbert Robinson went 7 for 7 in the first game of the DH.
In the first half the O's finished 20-55 .267 -32.5 in 12th (last) place. The second half saw a slight improvement with the Birds going 26-46 .361 -25 in 10th place. For the total season standings the Orioles were 46-101 .313 -54.5 in 12th place. So, the Orioles finished in last 2 out of 3 possible times this year. I'm glad they didn't continue the split seasons! Imagine the confusion through discussing a team of the same year as two different seasons! A good idea gone wrong if ya ask me!
The Orioles seasonal record this year versus the reast of the League was as follows:
Boston Beaneaters 0-13, Cleveland Spiders 2-11, Brooklyn Bridegrooms 2-12, Philadelphia Phillies 4-10, Cincinnati Reds 4-10, Pittsburgh Pirates 5-9, Chicago Colts 4-7, New York Giants 5-9, Louisville Colonels 6-7, Washington Nationals 6-7 and St. Louis Browns 8-6.
As a team this year the Orioles had a BA of .253 (4th in the NL) and a ERA of 4.28 (last in the NL). Basically a good hitting, no pitching team the Orioles fielded this year.
George Van Haltren, RF, led the Orioles this year in; BA .302, Hits 168, Runs 105, Doubles 20 (tied with Billy Shindle), Homers 7, RBIs 57 (tied with Wilbert Robinson), BB 70, SB 49, SA .419, BB 70. Billy Shindle, 3b, led the team with 18 Triples.
In pitching the Ace was Sadie McMahon led the team in IP with 397, CG 44, Wins 20, Shoutouts 2, and a 3.24 ERA. George Cobb led the team in Games 53, GS 47, 159 Ks and a league leading 37 losses.
A bad start for the Orioles in the NL this season, but very few people could see (and who could blame them?) that the rise of the Orioles was soon to begin. 1893 saw changes come to the game that we take for granted today and saw changes in the Orioles that would in the span of one season bring the Birds to a soaring height that no one could have envisioned at the end of the 1892 season.