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Orioles Home Run Derby History: From Murray to Ripken to Davis

Orioles players bookend Home Run Derby history, from Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken, Jr. in the very first one to Chris Davis in the yesterday's event.


1985: Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken Jr.

The O's had two representatives in the first-ever Derby: Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr. Neither did too well, though: Murray hit four dingers, and Ripken hit one.

Murray, then 29, finished the season with 31 home runs. It was the sixth-most in the AL last year and ended up being his third-best season by that measure. Ripken, in his age-24 season, finished with 26 home runs, tied for 19th-most in the AL but first among full-time shortstops.

1989: Mickey Tettleton

Tettleton was the lone O's representative this year. He jacked just one home run, but considering no one else hit more than three, he could lay claim to a decent performance.

Tettleton finished the year with 26 home home runs. The next year he would hit just 15 for the O's, but after he was traded to Detroit in 1991, he would regain his power stroke, mashing 31, 32, 32, 17, and 32 taters in his years as a Tiger.

1991: Ripken

Ripken represented the O's here in fine fashion, knocking an astounding 12 home runs to lead the AL to a 20-7 victory over the NL. Ripken's showing was even more impressive when you consider that next-highest total was five (by erstwhile True Yankee Paul O'Neill).

Ripken finished the 1991 season with a whopping 34 home runs (second-most in the AL). He won the MVP award (his second) handily that year.

1992: Ripken

Ripken participated again but hit just four homers this time. He finished the season with with just 14 home runs, second-most among shortstops next to Travis Fryman of the Tigers. It would be Ripken's lowest total in a full season, a distinction he'd match in the 1998 and 2001 seasons.

1993: ---

No O's participated in this Derby, but since it was held in Baltimore at the then-new Oriole Park at Camden Yards, I'm giving it a special mention here. Juan Gonzalez and Ken Griffey, Jr each hit seven home runs.

1996: Brady Anderson

Brady Anderson and his aberrant 50-HR season represented the Orioles this year. Anderson jacked 11 home runs in the Derby, second only to McGwire (who hit 15).

Anderson's HR total in 1996 was, of course, a complete surprise to everybody. After all, he was 32 and he'd hit just 16 home runs the year before, and that low total wasn't due to an injury.

1997: Anderson

Anderson represented the Orioles in the Derby again. This time he hit just four home runs; nobody hit more than Larry Walker, who hit 19.

Anderson finished 1997 with just 18 home runs, a sharp drop from 50 the year before. He'd never top 24 again. You'd better believe that the steroids accusations started later, but so far, no one's come forward with any actual evidence.

And thus began "the lean years" ...

1998: Rafael Palmeiro

Rafael Palmeiro came up to his first Derby swinging, and he did it in style with 10 home runs representing Baltimore. He finished the season with 43 home runs, fifth-most in the AL. Oh, the days when 43 homers only got you fifth place ...

1999: B.J. Surhoff

B.J. Surhoff had a power surge of his own in 1999, and it got him to the Home Run Derby. Unfortunately, he hit only two home runs. The story again was Griffey, who hit 16 (after hitting 19 the year before).

Surhoff surely enjoyed his moment in the sun. His 28 dingers in 1999 was the highest total of his career. The crazy thing was that he was 34 at the time. From there he dwindled to 14, 10, 0, 5, 8, and 5.

2004: Palmeiro, Miguel Tejada

No O toed the Derby dish again until Palmeiro resurfaced alongside new teammate Miguel Tejada in 2004. Palmeiro fared well, hitting nine in the first round, but he was eliminated in the semifinals with just five home runs. Tejada fared much better, winning the tournament with 27 home runs total, six more than runner-up Lance Berkman (then with the Astros).

Tejada finished the season with 34 jacks, and Palmeiro finished with 23. The two teammates soon became linked in a far more infamous manner. In 2005, after Palmeiro both denied using steroids and tested positive for stanozolol, he blamed Tejada for injecting him with a tainted vitamin B12 shot. Both were named in the Mitchell Report that was released in 2007.

2006: Tejada

Tejada couldn't repeat the magic of 2004, swatting just three home runs in the first round in an eventual elimination. He finished the season with 24 home runs.

2013: Chris Davis

All was quiet on the O's front until this year when Chris Davis gained a measure of plate discipline and strike zone judgement. He combined these with his effortless power to reach 37 jacks and get invited to his first Home Run Derby.

Davis availed himself well, advancing to the second round by knocking eight dingers in the first. Unfortunately he bashed just four in the second round, finishing with 12 total. His average shot went 411 feet, and his longest went 451. He finished in fourth place behind Michael Cuddyer (15), Bryce Harper (24), and eventual winner Yoenis Cespedes (32).

Davis finished the season with 867,928 home runs, but that wasn't his greatest accomplishment. Every Oriole fan knows the story of how Davis sealed an O's victory in Game Six of the 2013 World Series when he crushed a 2-2 change-up from Jason Grilli for a walk-off, three-run blast. Seeing as how the City of Baltimore erected a monument where the ball landed (in the parking lot of the MARC Camden Station), we're not likely to ever forget.

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