Baltimore Used to Beat New York and Boston

In 1954, their first year in Baltimore, the Orioles went 11-11 against the Red Sox. It was the team's best record against any opponent that season.

The O's fortunes against the Yankees, however, were squalid that year -- 5-17, the team's second-worst total against any franchise. (Baltimore was 3-19 versus Cleveland, which won 111 games in 1954.)

And so began the longest-running division rivalries in Orioles history.

Of the seven other teams in the 1954 American League, only New York and Boston have shared a division with Baltimore for the franchise's entire modern history.

In other words, the Evil Empires of the American League East have been thorns in the Orioles' side from the get-go.

Last week I provided a look at "A Historically Bad Decade" and contrasted the team's disappointing recent history against its proud past. This week I'm considering how the Birds have fared through the years against the Yankees and Red Sox.

Not surprisingly, the results are similar.

-Overall, the Orioles have done slightly better against the Yankees than they have against the Red Sox. Unfortunately, they don't hold a winning record against either franchise.

The Birds are 412-497 (.453) all-time against the Yankees and 408-495 (.452) all-time against the Red Sox.

-The O's have had 18 winning seasons against the Yankees and three seasons ('61, '73, '07) where they earned a series split. Baltimore's best showing against New York came in 1966 when the team went 15-3 in head-to-head games.

-The O's have had 17 winning seasons against the Red Sox and five seasons ('54, '68, '71, '75, and '98) where they earned a series split. Baltimore's best showing against Boston came in 1960 when the team went 16-6 in head-to-head games.

-The Orioles' worst season against each franchise came at different times, but the record was the same each time. The O's were 1-12 against the Yankees in 1985 and 1-12 against the Red Sox in 1987.

-Bring back the '60s and '70s. The Orioles posted winning percentages of .603 and .549 against the Yankees and .571 and .509 against the Red Sox in those successive, successful decades.

The O's did not lose a season series against the Yankees for 11 straight seasons from 1964 through 1974. Meanwhile, the Birds did not lose a season series against the Red Sox for eight consecutive seasons from 1964 through 1971.

-The 1960s were the only decade when the Orioles won 100 or more games against both franchises. Conversely, the 2000s were the only decade when they lost 100 or more games against both franchises.

By the way, the 2000s were every bit as bad as you remember them: 62-116 (.348) against New York, 64-114 (.360) against Boston.

-Finally, as if you needed a reminder, Baltimore's last winning season against the Yankees came in 1997 when they went 8-4 (note: the O's did split with the Yankees in 2007); Baltimore's last winning season against the Red Sox came in 2004 when they went 10-9. 

Here's to rivalries in the 2010s that look more like those of the '60s and '70s Can you dig it, man?

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