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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Thinking about Orioles end-of-season awards

Individual honors aren’t the Orioles’ ultimate goal, but as of now they’ve got the frontrunners for AL Rookie and Manager of the Year.

MLB: JUN 11 Royals at Orioles
These two guys could be receiving hardware after the season.
Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It’s been 34 long years since an Oriole last won the AL Rookie of the Year award. That drought, if there’s any justice, should come to an end in 2023.

The Year of Gunnar Henderson continued apace last night when the awe-inspiring O’s infielder crushed a three-run homer in the seventh inning in Los Angeles, his 23rd of the year, after earlier tallying his 23rd double. His efforts helped blow the game open late in the Birds’ 6-3 win over the Angels to open the three-game series.

Gunnar’s OPS at that moment stood at .815. His WAR, per FanGraphs, stood at 3.2, the best of any AL rookie by a comfortable margin. He’s a brilliant defender, especially at shortstop (9 Defensive Runs Saved), and can make jaw-dropping plays like this. And we know he can hit.

The hardware, barring any unexpected developments in the final four weeks, should be Henderson’s to win. But he might not be the only Oriole to earn an end-of-season award, as MASN’s Roch Kubatko writes. Brandon Hyde is a front-runner for AL Manager of the Year honors, which I thought he should have won last season after he guided what was expected to be a last-place club to a thrilling, contending finish. Hyde ended up as runner-up in the voting to Cleveland’s Terry Francona, presumably because the Guardians won their division while the Orioles missed the playoffs, even though I’m pretty sure there’s nothing in the voting criteria that requires a postseason berth to win Manager of the Year. Not that I’m still salty about it.

There’s one way for the Orioles to remove all doubt: win the division. If the O’s end the season with an AL East crown and the best record in the American League, voters will have no excuse to punch their ballots for anyone other than Hyde.

Let’s make it happen, guys. It’s been a magical season so far, and the Orioles deserve to be well recognized for it when awards season comes along.


Orioles reset: With playoffs looming, Baltimore believes it’s learned from last year’s near miss - Baltimore Sun
Last year’s Orioles faded in September and dropped out of the playoff race, but this year’s group expects to have a stronger final month this time around. It helps that they’ve also got a bigger cushion in the standings than they did last year, though I’d prefer they don’t test the limits of that too much.

Minor Monday: Checking in on this year’s draft class -
Enrique Bradfield Jr. and a bunch of other 2023 draftees are wrapping up their first professional seasons, and the early returns — as they usually are with O’s draft picks — are good.

Ramón Urías celebrates his family and Mexican heritage at game in Arizona - The Baltimore Banner
If you’re looking for a story that will make you go, "Awwwwww," this is it.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three former Orioles were born on this day, including Tom Patton, who played one major league game on April 30, 1957. Mr. Patton turns 88 years young today. It’s also the birthday of right-handers Calvin Maduro (49) and Jimmy Haynes (51).

On this date in 1995, Cal Ripken Jr. officially put his name alongside Lou Gehrig’s in the record books, tying the Iron Horse by playing his 2,130th consecutive game. In front of an exuberant sellout crowd of 46,804 — including a 12-year-old me — at Camden Yards, Cal played the hero on his special day by crushing a home run, a feat he would repeat in his record-breaking game one night later. Not that anyone was paying attention to the score, but the Birds won an 8-0 decision behind six homers and a Scott Erickson shutout.

Random Orioles game of the day

This one is a twofer, as the random number generator spat out 1955, and the O’s played a doubleheader on Sept. 5 that year. It was their 27th twin bill of that season. (Yeah, doubleheaders used to be a lot more common.) The O’s split the two games at home against the Yankees, winning an 11th-inning walkoff in the opener before dropping the nightcap. In the first game, O’s pitcher Jim Wilson not only threw all 11 innings but also had the game-winning at-bat, when he tried to bunt and Yankees reliever Don Larsen (a former Oriole) threw the ball away to score the walkoff run. In game two, O’s starter Bill Wight also went the distance but in a losing effort, giving up five runs in a 5-3 defeat. After that doubleheader, the second-year Orioles sat at a 42-90 record.