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Thursday Bird Droppings: Where it’s the anniversary of 2,131

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On this date 23 years ago, Cal Ripken Jr. officially became the Iron Man. In current O’s news, the club added another player to its expanded roster and finished its West Coast swing.

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

I don’t know about you, but the date Sept. 6 still holds a special place in my heart. No, it’s not my birthday (although that’s just four days away, so get shopping!). It’s not my daughter’s birthday. It’s not my anniversary. But it’s a date that’s forever intertwined with the lives of anyone who was an Orioles fan in the ‘90s, especially a young Orioles fan whose favorite player was Cal Ripken Jr.

It was 23 years ago today — Sept. 6, 1995 — that Cal broke a record once thought unbreakable by playing his 2,131st consecutive game, passing Lou Gehrig to achieve baseball immortality. The eyes of the world were on the Iron Man as he took his unforgettable victory lap around Camden Yards in the middle of the fifth inning, flash bulbs popping and a sellout crowd of 46,272 sounding like they numbered in the millions.

It’s one of the most indelible images in sports history, one that brought joy to fans all over the globe and particularly to those of us in Birdland. And it’s a reminder of why we watch, and cheer, and dedicate so much of our lives to following the game. That kind of reminder is sorely needed in a season as painful as this one.

Speaking of the present-day Orioles, the club finished its three-game set in Seattle last night, and Mark stayed up so you didn’t have to. Check out his recap of the Orioles’ latest loss, their 99th of the season.

Happily, that was the Orioles’ last West Coast game this season. In fact, it was their last game anywhere outside the eastern time zone. They’re headed to Tampa for three games starting Friday, then they have homestands of nine games and four games with a six-game trip to New York and Boston sandwiched in between. And that’s it! We’ll be finished with this debacle of an Orioles season.

Links

Orioles release Gentry and recall Wilkerson - School of Roch
Craig Gentry had the highest WAR of any active O’s position player at the time he was DFA’d last week. I think that speaks more about the team than it does about Gentry. Anyway, he’s officially gone now, and Steve Wilkerson is back.

See you in 2019: Orioles facing momentous offseason after historically bad 2018 season - CBSSports.com
Mike Axisa weighs in on the many decisions the Orioles will have to make this winter, both on the field and in the front office.

Jones’ return to Orioles in 2019 seems to make sense - BaltimoreBaseball.com
I certainly wouldn’t mind bringing back Jones for another year or two, although the Orioles have no shortage of outfield prospects on the horizon.

Zac Lowther’s strong 2018 season featured fast start and big finish - Steve Melewski
Here’s a nice profile of the soft-tossing but strike-throwing Zac Lowther, who burst his way onto the Orioles’ prospects scene with his huge 2018 season.

One question, six O’s answers: Who was the pro athlete you admired most growing up? – The Athletic
Six Orioles named their biggest sports idols growing up. Try not to cringe when Alex Cobb names a bunch of Red Sox.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! It’s the 28th birthday of current Orioles lefty Donnie Hart, who was last seen pitching for Triple-A Norfolk before their season ended on Monday. Perhaps as a birthday present today, he’ll be called up to the majors for the ninth time this season. (Yes, ninth.)

Your other Orioles birthday buddies are 2011 first baseman Derrek Lee (43), 1991 righty Roy Smith (57), and the late Jim Fridley, an outfielder on the inaugural ‘54 Orioles. Fridley, who died in 2003, would have been 94 today.

In addition to Cal’s milestone, Sept. 6 marks another important historical moment for an Orioles Legend. One year after Ripken’s feat, the Orioles’ Eddie Murray hit his 500th career home run on Sept. 6, 1996. He became just the third player in MLB history (along with Willie Mays and Hank Aaron) to join the 500-homer, 3,000-hit club.

2018 Orioles vs. the worst teams ever (final results)

Rank Team Losses
Rank Team Losses
1 1962 Mets 120
2 2003 Tigers 119
3 1916 A's 117
t-4 1935 Braves 115
t-4 2018 Orioles 115

The Orioles, as of now, still have a chance to become the losingest team in modern major league history. In their final 22 games, they’ll probably get the two wins they need to avoid matching the 120-loss ‘62 Mets, but I don’t want to count my chickens yet. Either way, it’s looking ever more likely they’ll be one of the five worst teams in history.