Ramon Hernandez

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Posted by kaori 03/11/2009 @ 04:15

Tags : ramon hernandez, baseball players, baseball, sports

News headlines
Play by play - USA Today
None on with one out and Ramon Hernandez due up. Out: Ramon Hernandez grounded out short to first. None on with two outs and Adam Rosales due up. Hit-by-pitch: Adam Rosales was hit-by-pitch. Runner on first with two outs and Chris Dickerson due up....
Work paying off for Reds' Taveras - Dayton Daily News
Taveras is part of the daily Latin card game that includes Coco Cordero, Edwin Encarnacion, Ramon Hernandez, Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto. They alternate the four-handed “Casino” game. As soon as he finishes the card game, Taveras scurries to the...
Hernandez helps young hurlers - Cincinnati.com
Ramon Hernandez is a reason. Not a big reason, according to him. “They pitch, they get the credit," he says. Yeah, well, somebody has to catch the shutouts, calm the nerves, acquire the trust and show the confidence. Not with Aaron Harang so much,...
Rays defeat Tribe despite lineup gaffe - Asbury Park Press
Jason Bartlett hit an RBI single and Michel Hernandez added a three-run double. Hernandez came home when Sonnanstine doubled to left against rookie David Huff (0-1). Ben Francisco had two homers and four RBI for the Indians, who lost three straight...
Pudge Pounds Number 300 - FanGraphs
As for some other catchers and their homerun totals, here'sa look at how ridiculous 300 homeruns really is: As for other active catchers with a shot at 300, Jorge Posada sits at 226, Jason Varitek at 166, Ramon Hernandez at 138, Bengie Molina at 127,...
Reds win behind Owings - Cincinnati.com
Hairston made several nice plays at shortstop and Ramon Hernandez made a run-saving stop at first on the final play of the game. Arizona starter Dan Haren came in with some of the best numbers in the league – 1.84 ERA, 33 hits, nine walks and 51...
Reds stars Votto, Phillips sit out with flu - MLB.com
That time came on Thursday when Votto was scratched from the lineup vs. the Brewers because of the flu. Regular catcher Ramon Hernandez moved to first base in Votto's place. Hernandez planned to use backup infielder Adam Rosales' first-base glove....
Cincinnati Reds (20-16) at San Diego Padres (15-22), 4:05 pm - MiamiHerald.com
Ramon Hernandez finished with a pair of hits in defeat. The Reds will send Bronson Arroyo to the mound on Sunday and he is 5-2 with a 7.02 earned run average in seven starts this season. Arroyo has alternated wins and losses over his last five trips to...
Stairs, Sheffield could get at-bats at DH; Blalock, Burrell could ... - ESPN
Lopes surely knows that a team can test the arm of Cincinnati's Ramon Hernandez, and that in the Yankees' case, they're relying on fairly inexperienced backstops Francisco Cervelli and Kevin Cash. Sounds like a good week for Jimmy Rollins (2-for-4 on...

Ramón Hernández

Ramón José Hernández (born May 20, 1976 in Caracas, Venezuela) is a Major League Baseball catcher and right-handed batter for the Cincinnati Reds. Previously, he played with the Oakland Athletics (1999-2003), San Diego Padres (2004-2005), and Baltimore Orioles (2006-2008).

Hernández is a career .262 hitter with 137 home runs, 572 RBI, and 455 runs scored in 1,132 games throughout his 10 seasons with the Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, and Baltimore Orioles.

Hernández made his debut with Oakland in June 1999 as a backup catcher for A.J. Hinch. His steady progress enabled the Athletics to trade Hinch to the Kansas City Royals a year later.

With experience, Hernández became known as a catcher who could solidly hit, mentor young pitchers and had steady defense. He earned praise for his defense and game-calling skills with a powerful pitching staff that included Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson.

In 2003, Hernández broke out with his best season, hitting .273 with 21 home runs and 78 RBI and made his first All-Star Game. His most memorable moment as an Athletic came in Game 1 of the 2003 ALDS against the Boston Red Sox. With the bases loaded, two outs, and two strikes in the bottom of the 12th inning, Hernandez bunted down the third base line, which scored Eric Chavez to win the game. After the season, Oakland traded him to the Padres, mainly for financial reasons. At the time of the deal, Hernández had caught at least 135 games each of the last four years.

In both 2004 and 2005, Hernandez battled injuries. In 2004, he missed four weeks mid-season after injuring his left knee in a collision at the plate. Upon his return, he batted .281 with 11 home runs with 38 RBI in the second part. He finished the 2004 season with a .276 batting average, 18 home runs, and 63 RBI.

In 2005, he suffered a wrist injury on June 17 while diving into first base during a game against the Twins. His jammed wrist forced him to the disabled list, causing him to miss 18 games. Hernández returned to the lineup on July 7, but the condition worsened and he decided to have surgery to repair the torn cartilage. The surgery forced Hernández to the DL for the third time in two seasons, and he missed the entire month of August. He rejoined the team in time for the September stretch run, and was pivotal in the Padres' run to the National League West championship. Hernández hit .359 in September with five home runs, and drove in 20 runs in just 22 games. He came up with several clutch hits, including two dramatic game-winning home runs: a three-run walk-off shot against Washington in the 12th inning on September 17, and a grand slam against division rival San Francisco just 10 days later. He finished the season with a .290 average and 12 home runs, and became one of baseball's more coveted players in the winter's free agent market.

Before the 2006 season, Hernández signed a $27.5 million, four-year contract to play for the Baltimore Orioles. The contract includes a team option for the 2010 season as well. In his introductory press conference, Hernández spoke excitedly about working with a young pitching staff, hitting in Camden Yards and helping the team become a contender. He also expressed optimism about spending the next four years with Miguel Tejada as a teammate (Tejada was traded to the Astros before the 2008 season). Hernández and Tejada played in Oakland for almost five years, and they are godfathers to each other's children. Hernández would compile a respectable .275 batting average in 2006 with 23 home runs and 91 RBI. Veterans Chris Widger and Danny Ardoin served as Hernández's backups throughout the season.

Hernandez was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Ryan Freel and two minor leaguers on December 9, 2008.

Hernandez has the distinction of being the inspiration behind the satirical sports news website Ramon Hernandez Put Down The Gun Because We Pinch Hit For Our Catcher And We Don't Have Any Position Players Left On The Bench (popularly shortened to Ramon Hernandez Put Down The Gun) stemming from circumstances in a 2008 Baltimore Orioles game in which the eponymous circumstances occurred, accounting for both the birth of the website and a movie idea.

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Ramón Hernández (pitcher)

Ramón Hernández González (August 31, 1940 – February 4, 2009) was a relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played all or part of nine seasons between 1967 and 1977, including three National League Championship Series for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1972, 1974-75). His most productive season came in 1972, when he finished 5-0 with a 1.67 ERA and 14 saves. A native of Carolina, Puerto Rico, he was a switch-hitter and threw left-handed.

In a nine-season career, Hernández posted a 23-15 record with a 3.03 ERA and 46 saves in 337 relief appearances, giving up 145 earned runs on 339 hits and 135 walks while striking out 255 in 430 ⅓ innings of work.

Hernández died in Ponce, Puerto Rico, at the age of 68.

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Baltimore Orioles

Orioles new.PNG

The Baltimore Orioles are a professional baseball team based in Baltimore, Maryland. They are a member of the Eastern Division of Major League Baseball's American League (AL). Since 1992, the Orioles have played its home games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The "Orioles" name refers to the official state bird of Maryland. Nicknames for the team include the O's and the Birds.

One of the American League's eight charter franchises, it was established as a major league club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1901. The Milwaukee Brewers moved to St. Louis in 1902 and became the St. Louis Browns. After spending 52 years in St. Louis, the Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954 and adopted the Orioles name which had been used previously by various Baltimore baseball clubs.

The modern Orioles franchise can trace its roots back to the original Milwaukee Brewers of the minor Western League, beginning in 1894 when the league reorganized. The Brewers were there when the WL renamed itself the American League in 1900.

At the end of the 1900 season, the American League removed itself from baseball's National Agreement (the formal understanding between the NL and the minor leagues). Two months later, the AL declared itself a competing major league. As a result of several franchise shifts, the Brewers were one of only two Western League teams that didn't either fold or move (the other being the Detroit Tigers). During the first American League season in 1901, they finished last (8th place) with a record of 48–89. During its lone Major League season, the team played at Lloyd Street Grounds, between 16th and 18th Streets in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In 1902, however, the team did move to St. Louis, where it became the "Browns", in reference to the original name of the 1880s club that by 1900 was known as the Cardinals. They even built a new park on the site of the old Browns' former home, Sportsman's Park. In their first St. Louis season, the Browns finished second. Although the Browns usually fielded terrible or mediocre teams (they had only four winning seasons from 1902 to 1922), they were very popular at the gate during their first two decades in St. Louis, and trounced the Cardinals in attendance. In 1909, the Browns rebuilt Sportsman's Park as the third concrete-and-steel park in the majors.

During this time, the Browns were best-known for their role in the race for the 1910 American League batting title. Ty Cobb took the last game of the season off, believing that his slight lead over Nap Lajoie would hold up unless Lajoie had a near-perfect day at the plate. However, Cobb was one of the most despised players in baseball, and Browns catcher-manager Jack O'Connor ordered third baseman Red Corriden to station himself in shallow left field. Lajoie bunted five straight times down the third base line and made it to first easily. On his last at-bat, Lajoie reached base on an error – officially giving him a hitless at-bat. O'Connor and coach Harry Howell tried to bribe the official scorer, a woman, to change the call to a hit – even offering to buy her a new wardrobe. Cobb won the batting title by just a few thousandths of a point over Lajoie (though it later emerged that one game may have been counted twice in the statistics). The resulting outcry triggered an investigation by American League president Ban Johnson. At his insistence, Browns owner Robert Lee Hedges fired O'Connor and Howell; both men were informally banned from baseball for life.

In 1916, Hedges sold the Browns to Philip DeCatesby Ball, who owned the St. Louis Terriers in the by-then-defunct Federal League. Four years later, Ball allowed the Cardinals to move out of dilapidated Robison Field and share Sportsman's Park with the Browns. This move was one of many that eventually doomed the Browns; Cardinals owner Sam Breadon and general manager Branch Rickey (a former Browns manager) used the proceeds from the Robison Field sale to build baseball's first modern farm system. This effort eventually produced several star players that brought the Cardinals more drawing power than the Browns.

The 1922 Browns excited their owner by almost beating the Yankees to a pennant. The club was boasting the best players in franchise history, including future Hall of Famer George Sisler and an outfield trio of Ken Williams, Baby Doll Jacobson, and Jack Tobin that batted .300 or better from 1919–23 and in 1925. In 1922, Williams became the first player in Major League history to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a season, something that would not be done again in the Majors until 1956.

Ball confidently predicted that there would be a World Series in Sportsman's Park by 1926. In anticipation, he increased the capacity of his ballpark from 18,000 to 30,000. Ball was right, as there was a World Series in Sportsman's Park in 1926 – the Cardinals upset the Yankees. St. Louis had been considered a "Browns town" until then; after their 1926 series victory, however, the Cardinals dominated St. Louis baseball while still technically tenants of the Browns. Meanwhile, the Browns rapidly fell into the cellar.

During the war, the Browns won their only St. Louis-based American League pennant, in 1944. Some critics called it a fluke, as most major league stars voluntarily joined or were drafted into the military; however, many of the Browns' best players were classified 4-F: unfit for military service. They faced their local rivals, the incredibly successful Cardinals, in the 1944 World Series, the last World Series to date played entirely in one stadium. However, they lost the series in six games.

In 1945, the Browns posted an 81–75 record and fell to third place, 6 games out, again with less than top-ranked talent. The 1945 season may be best remembered for the Browns' signing of utility outfielder Pete Gray, the only one-armed major league position player in history. 1945 proved to be the Browns' last hurrah; they would never have another winning season in St. Louis. In fact, 1944 and 1945 were two of only eight winning seasons they enjoyed in the 31 years after nearly winning the pennant in 1922.

In 1951, Bill Veeck, the colorful former owner of the Cleveland Indians, purchased the Browns. In St. Louis, he extended the promotions and wild antics that had made him famous and loved by many and loathed by many others. His most notorious stunt in St. Louis came on August 19, 1951, when he sent Eddie Gaedel, a 3-foot 7-inch, 65-pound midget, to bat as a pinch hitter. When Gaedel stepped to the plate he was wearing a Browns uniform with the number 1/8, and little slippers turned up at the end like elf's shoes. With no strike zone to speak of, Gaedel walked on four straight pitches, as he was ordered to not swing at any pitch. The stunt infuriated American League President Will Harridge, who voided Gaedel's contract the next day.

After the 1951 season, Veeck made Ned Garver the highest-paid member of the Browns. Garver remains the last pitcher to win 20 games for a team that lost 100 games in a season. He was the second pitcher in history to accomplish the feat.

Veeck also brought Satchel Paige back to major league baseball to pitch for the Browns. Veeck had previously signed the former Negro League great to a contract in Cleveland in 1948 at age 42, amid much criticism. At 45, Paige's re-appearance in a Browns uniform did nothing to win Veeck friends among baseball's owners. Nonetheless, Paige ended the season with a respectable 3–4 record and a 4.79 ERA.

Veeck believed that St. Louis was too small for two franchises and planned to drive the Cardinals out of town. He signed many of the Cardinals' most popular ex-players and, as a result, brought many of the Cards' fans in to see the Browns. Notably, Veeck inked former Cardinals great Dizzy Dean to a broadcasting contract and tapped Rogers Hornsby as manager. He also re-acquired former Browns fan favorite Vern Stephens and signed former Cardinals pitcher Harry Brecheen, both of whom had starred in the all-St. Louis World Series in 1944. Veeck also stripped Sportsman's Park of any Cardinals material and dressed it exclusively in Browns memorabilia, even moving his family to an apartment under the stands. Although the Browns fielded hideous teams during this time, Veeck's showmanship and colorful promotions made attendance at Browns games more fun and unpredictable than the conservative Cardinals were willing to offer.

Veeck's all-out assault on the Cardinals came during a downturn in the Cardinals' fortunes after Rickey left them for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1942. Indeed, when Cardinals' owner Fred Saigh was convicted of massive tax evasion late in 1952, it looked almost certain that the Cardinals were leaving town, as most of the top bids came from non-St. Louis interests. However, Saigh accepted a much lower bid from Anheuser-Busch, whose president August Busch, Jr. immediately announced that he had no intention of moving the Cardinals. Veeck quickly realized the Cardinals now had more resources than he could ever hope to match and decided to move the Browns.

Veeck attempted to move the Browns back to Milwaukee (where he had owned the Brewers of the American Association in the 1940s), but the move was blocked by the other American League owners, seemingly for reasons that were more personal than business-related. An undaunted Veeck then tried to move the Browns to Baltimore, but was again rebuffed by the owners, still seething at the publicity stunts he had pulled at Browns home games. Meanwhile, Sportsman's Park had slipped into disrepair, and Veeck was forced to sell it to the Cardinals since he could not afford to make the necessary improvements to bring it up to code. With his only leverage gone and facing threats of the liquidation of his franchise, Veeck was all but forced to sell the Browns to a group of Baltimore-based investors led by attorney Clarence Miles. With Veeck "out of the way," the American League owners quickly approved the relocation of the team to Baltimore for the 1954 season on September 29, 1953. Miles became the franchise's chairman of the board and president.

Unlike other clubs that had relocated in the 1950s, retaining their nickname and a sense of continuity with their past (such as the Brooklyn-Los Angeles Dodgers, New York-San Francisco Giants, Boston-Milwaukee Braves, and Philadelphia-Kansas City Athletics), the St. Louis Browns were renamed the Baltimore Orioles upon their transfer, implicitly distancing themselves at least somewhat from their history. In December 1954, the Orioles further distanced themselves from their Browns past by making a 17-player trade with the New York Yankees that included most former Browns of note still on the Baltimore roster. Though the deal did little to improve the short-term competitiveness of the club, it helped establish a fresh identity for the Orioles franchise. Indeed, to this day, the Orioles make almost no mention of their past as the Browns.

The Orioles finally cut the last ties to the Browns era in August 1979. In 1936, the Browns sold 20,000 shares of stock to the public at $5 a share--an unusual practice for a sports franchise even today. In 1979, new owner Edward Bennett Williams bought back those shares, making the franchise privately held once again. Although the buyout price is not known, it is assumed that given the Orioles' prosperity over their then 25 years in Baltimore, the owners made a handsome return on their investment.

Many older fans in St. Louis remember the Browns fondly, and some have formed societies to keep the memory of the team alive; also, it is not uncommon to see sporting goods stores in the St. Louis area stock Browns shirts and hats. The club was in St. Louis for 52 years. As of the 2006 season, the club had been in Baltimore longer than they were in St. Louis.

Believed to be the oldest former major leaguer, the Browns' Rollie Stiles, 100, died July 22, 2007 in St. Louis County.

As mentioned above, the Miles-Hofberger group renamed their new team the Baltimore Orioles soon after taking control of the franchise. The name has a rich history in Baltimore, having been used by Baltimore baseball teams since the late 19th century.

In the 1890s, a powerful and innovative National League Orioles squad included several future Hall of Famers, such as "Wee" Willie Keeler, Wilbert Robinson, Hughie Jennings, and John McGraw. They won three straight pennants, and participated in all four of the Temple Cup Championship Series, winning the last two of them. That team had started as a charter member of the American Association in 1882. Despite its on-field success, it was one of the four teams contracted out of existence by the National League after the 1899 season. Its best players (and its manager, Ned Hanlon) regrouped with the Brooklyn Dodgers, turning that team into a contender.

In 1901, Baltimore and McGraw were awarded an expansion franchise in the growing American League, but again the team was sacrificed in favor of a New York City franchise, as the team was transferred to the city in 1903. After some early struggles, that team eventually became baseball's most successful franchise - the New York Yankees.

As a member of the high-minor league level International League, the Orioles competed at what is now known as the AAA level from 1903–1953. Baltimore's own Babe Ruth pitched for the Orioles before being sold to the AL Boston Red Sox in 1914. The Orioles of the IL won nine league championships, first in 1908, followed by a lengthy run from 1919 to 1925, and then dramatically in 1944, after they had lost their home field Oriole Park in a disastrous mid-season fire. The huge post-season crowds at their temporary home, Municipal Stadium, caught the attention of the big league brass and helped open the door to the return of major league baseball to Baltimore. Thanks to the big stadium, that "Junior World Series" easily outdrew the major league World Series which, coincidentally, included the team that would move to Baltimore 10 years later and take up occupancy in the rebuilt version of that big stadium.

After starting the 1954 campaign with a two-game split against the Tigers in Detroit, the Orioles returned to Baltimore on April 15 to a welcoming parade that wound through the streets of downtown, with an estimated 350,000 spectators lining the route. In its first-ever home opener at Memorial Stadium later in the afternoon, they treated a sellout crowd of 46,354 to a 3–1 victory over the Chicago White Sox. The remainder of the season wouldn't be as pleasant, with the team enduring 100 losses while avoiding the AL cellar by only three games. With fellow investors both frustrated with his domination of the franchise's business operations and dissatisfied with yet another seventh place finish, Clarence Miles resigned in early November, 1955. Real estate developer James Keelty Jr. succeeded him as president with investment banker Joseph Iglehart the new board chairman.

The seeds of long-term success were planted on September 14, 1954 when the Orioles hired Paul Richards to become the ballclub's manager and general manager. He laid the foundation for what would years later be called the Oriole Way. The instruction of baseball fundamentals became uniform in every detail between all classes within the organization. Players were patiently refined until fundamentally sound instead of being hastily advanced to the next level.

For the remainder of the 1950s, the Orioles crawled up the standings, reaching as high as fifth place with a 76–76 record in 1957. Richards succeeded in stocking the franchise with a plethora of young talent which included Dave Nicholson, Pete Ward, Ron Hansen (1960 AL Rookie of the Year), Milt Pappas, Jerry Adair, Steve Barber (20 wins in 1963), Boog Powell, Dave McNally and Brooks Robinson. Unfortunately, Richards also had the tendency to recklessly spend money on individuals with dubious baseball skills. This became a major problem as bidding wars between the ballclubs to land the best amateur players escalated signing bonuses.

The solution came on November 5, 1958 when Lee MacPhail was appointed general manager, allowing Richards to focus on his managerial duties. MacPhail added much needed discipline to the scouting staff by establishing crosscheckers who thoroughly evaluated young hopefuls to determine whether they were worthy of being tendered a contract. He also accepted the title of president after Keelty resigned in mid-December, 1959.

One month prior to the end of the 1961 season, Richards resigned as the team's skipper to become the general manager of the expansion Houston Colt 45s. A year earlier, he succeeded in establishing the Orioles as a legitimate contender when they stood atop the AL standings as late as early September before finishing in second place at 89–65.

In 1964, the Birds, piloted by Hank Bauer in his first year of managing the ballclub, were involved in a tight pennant race against the Yankees and White Sox. They ended up in third with a 97–65 record, only two games out. It was generally regarded that they would've advanced to the Fall Classic had it not been for a minor wrist injury that sidelined Powell for two weeks in late August. Nevertheless, Robinson enjoyed a breakout season with a league-high 118 runs batted in (RBI) and winning the AL Most Valuable Player Award.

CBS' purchase of a majority stake in the Yankees on September 9 of that same year resulted in a change to the ownership situation in Baltimore. Iglehart, the Orioles' largest shareholder at 32% and owner of a sizable amount of CBS stock, straightened out his conflict of interest issues on May 25, 1965 by selling his 64,000 shares in the ballclub to the National Brewing Company, an original team investor which finally had controlling interest at 65%. Brewery president Jerold Hoffberger became the Orioles' new chairman of the board.

With the benefit of a deep talent pool and superior scouts, the franchise continued to make improvements at the major league level. Three months before the start of the 1963 season, the Orioles stabilized its infield by acquiring Luis Aparicio in a transaction that involved sending a trio of homegrown players (Hansen, Nicholson and Ward) to the White Sox. They also scoured the minor leagues for selections in the Rule 5 draft (Paul Blair from the Mets in 1962, Moe Drabowsky from the Cardinals in 1965) and claims off waivers (Curt Blefary, 1965 AL Rookie of the Year, from the Yankees in 1963).

On December 9, 1965, the Orioles traded pitcher Milt Pappas (and several others) to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for slugging outfielder Frank Robinson. The following year, Robinson won the American League Most Valuable Player award, thus becoming the first (and so far only) man to win the MVP in each league (Robinson won the NL MVP in 1961, leading the Reds to the pennant). In addition to winning the 1966 MVP, Robinson also won the Triple Crown (leading the American League in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in.) The Orioles won their first ever American League championship in 1966, and in a major upset, swept the World Series by out-dueling the Los Angeles Dodgers aces Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. The only home run ball ever hit completely out of Memorial Stadium was slugged by Robinson on Mother's Day in 1966, off Cleveland Indians pitcher Luis Tiant. It cleared the left field single-deck portion of the grandstand. A flag was later erected near the spot the ball cleared the back wall, with simply the word "HERE" upon it. The flag is now in the Baltimore Orioles museum.

In the 1960s, the Orioles farm system produced a number of high quality players and coaches and laid the foundation for two decades of on-field success. This period included 18 consecutive winning seasons (1968–1985)-- an unprecedented run of success which saw the Orioles become the envy of the league, and the winningest team in baseball.

From 1966 to 1983, the Orioles would play baseball the Oriole Way, an organizational ethic best described by longtime farm hand and coach Cal Ripken, Sr.'s phrase "perfect practice makes perfect!" The Oriole Way was a belief that hard work, professionalism, and a strong understanding of fundamentals were the keys to success at the major league level. It was based on the belief that if every coach, at every level, taught the game the same way, the organization could produce "replacement parts" that could be substituted seamlessly into the big league club with little or no adjustment.

It began in 1966 after the Robinson for Pappas deal as Robinson won the Triple Crown Award. His Orioles would easily sweep the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1966 World Series. After a mediocre 1967 season, Hank Bauer would be replaced by Earl Weaver halfway into 1968. The Orioles would finish 2nd in the American League. This would only be a prelude to 1969 where the Orioles won 109 games and easily won the newly-created American League East division title. Mike Cuellar would share the Cy Young Award with Detroit's Denny McLain. After sweeping Minnesota, Baltimore would be shocked by losing to the New York Mets in a five-game World Series. The next year, Boog Powell won the MVP and the Orioles won another 108 games. After sweeping the Twins once again, the Orioles would win another World Series by defeating the Cincinnati Reds' Big Red Machine. This was in part to Brooks Robinson's amazing defense.

In 1971, the Orioles won another division title thanks to having four 20-game winners on their pitching staff (Cuellar, Jim Palmer, Pat Dobson, and Dave McNally). After defeating the young Oakland A's in the ALCS, the Orioles would lose a heartbreaking seven-game World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Orioles would miss the playoffs in 1972, but rebounded to win the division in 1973 and 1974. Each time, they would lose to Oakland in the ALCS. During this stretch, the Orioles began to phase out their veteran infield by replacing Davey Johnson and Brooks Robinson with younger stars Bobby Grich and Doug DeCinces, respectively. Johnson would be dealt along with Johnny Oates to the Atlanta Braves for catcher Earl Williams. Although Williams would hit 63 home runs in two seasons with Atlanta, he would only hit 36 homers in two seasons with the Orioles.

In 1975, Jim Palmer won the Cy Young Award, but the Orioles lost the division title to the Boston Red Sox and their mega-rookies Fred Lynn and Jim Rice. The 1976 brought Reggie Jackson, Ken Holtzman, and Lee May from trades with Oakland and Houston, but the Orioles only won 83 games. It was this season when the Orioles made a trade that brought them players such as Tippy Martinez and Rick Dempsey. This young foundation, along with the departures of the unhappy Jackson and Holtzman, would create the basis for 1977. The "No Name Orioles," along with Rookie of the Year Eddie Murray would win 97 games and finish tied for second place with Boston. After finishing fourth in 1978, the Orioles finally won the division in 1979 thanks to strong play from Ken Singleton and Cy Young Winner Mike Flanagan. The Orioles defeated the Angels in the ALCS, but they lost to Pittsburgh in another stunning World Series. This would start a period of heartbreak for Baltimore.

The Orioles would win 100 games in 1980 thanks to Cy Young Winner Steve Stone, but the Yankees won 103 games. Although Baltimore had the best overall record in the AL East in 1981, they finished second in each half. As a result, they were out of the playoffs. 1982 had Baltimore eliminated on the final weekend of the season when the Milwaukee Brewers defeated them. Earl Weaver retired and Joe Altobelli took over for 1983. Altobelli would lead the Orioles to 98 games and a division title thanks to MVP Cal Ripken, Jr.. The Orioles defeated the Chicago White Sox in the ALCS thanks to a 10th inning homer by Tito Landrum in the deciding game. The Orioles would once again win the World Series in 5 games by defeating the Philadelphia Phillies.

During this stretch, three different Orioles were named Most Valuable Player (Frank Robinson in 1966; Boog Powell in 1970; and Cal Ripken, Jr. in 1983). The pitching staff was phenomenal, with four pitchers winning six Cy Young Awards (Mike Cuellar in 1969; Jim Palmer in 1973, 1975, and 1976; Mike Flanagan in 1979; and Steve Stone in 1980). In 1971, the team's four starting pitchers, McNally, Cuellar, Palmer, and Pat Dobson, all won 20 games, a feat that has not been replicated since. In that year, the Birds went on to post a 101–61 record for their third straight AL East title. Also during this stretch three players were named rookies of the year: Al Bumbry (1973), Eddie Murray (1977), Cal Ripken Jr. (1982).

After winning the 1983 World Series, the Orioles would spend the next five years in steady decline, finishing 1986 in last place for the first time since the franchise moved to Baltimore. The team reached its nadir in 1988 when it started the season 0–21, en route to 107 losses and the worst record in the majors. The Orioles would surprise the baseball world the following year by spending most of the summer in first place until September when the Toronto Blue Jays overtook them and seized the A.L. East title on the penultimate game of the regular season. The next two years were spent below the .500 mark, highlighted only by Cal Ripken, Jr. winning his second A.L. MVP Award in 1991. The Orioles also bade farewell to Memorial Stadium, its home for 38 years, at the end of the 1991 campaign.

Opening to huge fanfare in 1992, Oriole Park at Camden Yards was an instant success, spawning other retro-designed major league ballparks within the next two decades. It was where the 1993 All-Star Game was played. The Orioles returned to contention in those first two seasons at Camden Yards, only to finish in third place both times. Also in 1993, with then-owner Eli Jacobs forced to divest himself of the franchise, Baltimore-based attorney Peter Angelos was awarded the Orioles in bankruptcy court, returning the team to local ownership for the first time since 1979.

After the 1993 season, the Orioles acquired first baseman Rafael Palmeiro from the Texas Rangers. The Orioles, who spent all of 1994 chasing the New York Yankees, occupied second place in the new five-team A.L. East when the players strike, which began on August 11, forced the eventual cancellation of the season.

The labor impasse would continue into the spring of 1995. Almost all of the major league clubs held spring training using replacement players, with the intention of beginning the season with them. The Orioles, whose owner was a labor union lawyer, were the lone dissenters against creating an ersatz team, choosing instead to sit out spring training and possibly the entire season. Had they fielded a substitute team, Cal Ripken, Jr.'s consecutive games streak would have been jeopardized. The replacements questions became moot when the strike was finally settled.

The Ripken countdown resumed once the season began. He finally broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive games streak of 2,130 games in a nationally televised game on September 6. This was later voted the all-time baseball moment of the 20th Century by fans from around the country in 1999. Ripken would finish with 2,632 straight games, finally sitting on September 20, 1998 against the Yankees at Camden Yards.

The Orioles finished two games under .500 in third place in Phil Regan's only season of managing the ballclub.

Before the 1996 season, Angelos hired Pat Gillick as the Orioles' general manager. Given the green light by his boss to spend heavily on established talent, Gillick signed several premium players like B.J. Surhoff, Randy Myers, David Wells and Roberto Alomar. Under new manager Davey Johnson and on the strength of a then-major league record 257 home runs in a single season, the Orioles returned to the playoffs after a twelve-year absence by clinching the A.L. wild card berth. Alomar set off a firestorm in September when he spat into home plate umpire John Hirschbeck's face during an argument in Toronto. He was later suspended for the first five games of the 1997 season, even though most wanted him banned from the postseason. After dethroning the defending A.L. Champion Cleveland Indians 3-1 in the Division Series, the Orioles fell to the Yankees 4-1 in an ALCS infamous for right field umpire Rich Garcia's failure to call fan interference in Game 1.

The Orioles went "wire-to-wire" (first place from start to finish) in winning the A.L. East title in 1997. After eliminating the Seattle Mariners 3-1 in the Division Series, the team lost again in the ALCS, this time to the underdog Indians 4-2, with each Oriole loss by only a run. Johnson resigned as manager after the season, largely due to a spat between him and Angelos concerning Alomar's fine for missing a team function being donated to Johnson's wife's charity. Pitching coach Ray Miller replaced Johnson.

With Miller at the helm, the Orioles found themselves not only out of the playoffs, but also with a losing season. When Gillick's contract expired in 1998, it was not renewed. Angelos brought in Frank Wren to take over as GM. The Orioles added volatile slugger Albert Belle, but the team's woes continued in the 1999 season, with stars like Rafael Palmeiro, Roberto Alomar, and Eric Davis leaving in free agency. After a second straight losing season, Angelos fired both Miller and Wren. He named Syd Thrift the new GM and brought in former Cleveland manager Mike Hargrove.

In a rare event on March 28, 1999, the Orioles staged an exhibition game against the Cuban national team in Havana. The Orioles won the game 3–2 in 11 innings. They were the first Major League team to play in Cuba since 1959, when the Los Angeles Dodgers faced the Orioles in an exhibition. The game was part of a two-game series, where the Cuban team visited Baltimore in May 1999. Cuba won the second game 10–6.

Going into the 2009 season, the Orioles have had eleven consecutive sub–.500 seasons, due to the combination of lackluster play, constant turnover in the club's front office, and the ascent of the Yankees and Red Sox to the top of the game – each rival having a clear advantage in financial flexibility due to their larger media market size. Further complicating the situation for the Orioles was the relocation of the Montreal Expos franchise to nearby Washington, D.C.. The new Washington Nationals threatened to carve into the Orioles fan base and television dollars. Fortunately for the Orioles, Peter Angelos owns MASN, which hosts all of the Nationals television games, effectively combining two teams' television revenue to support the Orioles. There is some hope that having competition in the larger Baltimore–Washington metro market will spur the Orioles to field a better product to compete for fans with the Nationals. However, neither organization has fielded a team that finished over .500 since the Nationals arrival in 2005.

In an effort to right the Orioles sinking ship, big changes began to sweep through the organization in 2003. General manager Syd Thrift was fired and to replace him, the Orioles hired Jim Beattie as the Executive Vice President and Mike Flanagan as the Vice President of Baseball Operations. After another losing season, manager Mike Hargrove was not retained and Yankees coach Lee Mazzilli was brought in as the new manager. The team signed powerful hitters in SS Miguel Tejada, C Javy López, and former Oriole 1B Rafael Palmeiro. The following season, the Orioles traded for OF Sammy Sosa.

The 2005 season may go down as one of the most controversial and strangest in the Orioles' history. The team got hot early and jumped out in front of the AL East division, holding onto first place for 62 straight days. However, turmoil on and off the field began to take its toll as the Orioles started struggling around the All-Star break, dropping them close to the surging Yankees and Red Sox. Injuries to Lopez, Sosa, Luis Matos, Brian Roberts, and Larry Bigbie came within weeks of each other, and the team grew increasingly dissatisfied with the "band-aid" moves of the front office and manager Mazzilli to help them through this period of struggle. Various minor league players such as Single-A Frederick OF Jeff Fiorentino were brought up in place of more experienced players such as OF David Newhan (son of a hall-of-fame baseball writer), who batted .311 the previous season.

In March 2005, Rafael Palmeiro testified in front of the United States Congress and clearly denied any allegations that he used steroids. On July 15, 2005, he collected his 3,000th hit in Seattle and became only the 4th person in Major League Basebell to amass 500 HR's and 3,000 hits (the others being Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Eddie Murray). But 15 days later (July 30) he was suspended for a violation of MLB's drug policy, after testing positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol. The Orioles continued tumbling, falling out of first place and further down the AL East standings. This downfall cost Mazzilli his managerial job in early August, allowing bench coach and 2003 managerial candidate Sam Perlozzo to take over as interim manager and lead the team to a 23–32 finish. The Orioles called up Dave Cash from the Ottawa Lynx to serve as the team's first base coach.

After starting the season 42–28 (.600), the Orioles finished just 32–60 (.348). Only the Kansas City Royals (.346) had a worse winning percentage for the season than did the once first place Orioles for those final 92 games. The club's major offseason acquisition, Sammy Sosa, posted his worst performance in a decade, with 14 home runs and a paltry .221 batting average. The Orioles did not attempt to re-sign him, considering his exorbitant salary and his miserable performance. The Orioles also allowed Palmeiro to file for free agency and publicly stated they would not re-sign him. On August 25, pitcher Sidney Ponson was arrested for DUI and on September 1, the Orioles moved to void his contract (on a morals clause) and released him. The Major League Baseball Players Association filed a grievance on Ponson's behalf and the case was sent to arbitration and was eventually resolved.

The Orioles finished the up and down 2006 season with a record of 70 wins and 92 losses, 27 games behind the AL East leading Yankees.

On June 18, 2007, the Orioles fired Sam Perlozzo after losing 8 straight games. He was then replaced on interim basis by Dave Trembley. On June 22, Miguel Tejada's consecutive-games streak came to an end due to an injury. This is the 5th longest such streak in major league history. A minor highlight came on June 29 against the Angels. Aubrey Huff recorded his 1000th hit, 200th double, and became the first Oriole to hit for the cycle at home. He joins Brooks Robinson (1960) and Cal Ripken (1984) as the third Oriole to hit for the cycle in team history. On July 7, Erik Bedard struck out 15 batters in a game against the Texas Rangers tying a franchise record held by Mike Mussina. On July 31, 2007, Andy MacPhail, President of Baseball Operations named Dave Trembley as the Orioles Manager through the remainder of the 2007 season, and advised him to "Keep up the good work." Facing the Texas Rangers at Camden Yards on August 22, a team which had suffered 19 strikeouts at the hands of Minnesota Twins pitching three days earlier, the Orioles surrendered 30 runs--a modern era record for a single game--in a 30–3 defeat. The Orioles led in that game 3–0 after three innings of play. Sixteen of Texas' 30 runs were scored in the final two innings.

The Orioles began the 2008 season in a rebuilding mode under GM Andy MacPhail. The rebuilding phase began as the Orioles traded away star players Miguel Tejada to the Astros and ace Erik Bedard to the Seattle Mariners for prized prospect Adam Jones, lefty reliever George Sherrill, and minor league pitchers Kameron Mickolio, Chris Tillman, and Tony Butler. Respectively, baseball analysts across the country wrote off the Orioles as a team likely to finish last in the A.L. East. The Orioles started off the first couple weeks of the season very well near the top of their division as players such as Nick Markakis and newcomer Luke Scott led the team offensively. Although the Orioles were able to stay competitive for most of the season hovering around .500, they had fallen back by September and were over 20 games back from the first place Rays. They would finish the season losing 11 of their final 12 games and 28 of their final 34. Their final record of 68–93 (.422) would mark the 2nd worst of their 11th consecutive losing season. The team once known as the "Landlords of Fourth Place" finished in dead last for the first time since their infamous 1988 season. After the season ended, the Orioles showcased altered uniforms, with a circular 'Maryland' patch added to the right hand sleeve of all jerseys and the grey road jerseys displaying Baltimore across the chest for the first time since 1972.

Since its introduction at games by the "Roar from 34," led by Wild Bill Hagy and others, in the late 1970s, it has been a tradition at Orioles games for fans to yell out the "Oh" in the line "Oh, say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave" in the "The Star-Spangled Banner." "The Star-Spangled Banner" has special meaning to Baltimore historically, as it was written during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812 by Francis Scott Key, a Baltimorean. "O" is not only short for "Oriole," but the vowel is also a stand-out aspect of the Baltimorean accent. This tradition is also carried out during the Orioles' spring training home games in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The practice carries on to this day, although not with the zest of years gone by. Sentiment for the tradition has dwindled partly due to supposed patriotic concerns, and also because the Orioles' results are less a source of hometown pride than they were when the tradition was started in the 1970s.

The tradition is often carried out at other sporting events, both professional or amateur, and even sometimes at non-sporting events where the anthem is played, throughout the Baltimore/Washington area and beyond, notably at Baltimore Ravens, Georgetown Hoyas, Maryland Terrapins, and Aberdeen Ironbirds games. Fans in Norfolk, VA chanted "O!" even before the Tides became an Orioles affiliate. "O!" has also been shouted during the anthem at Washington Redskins and Washington Capitals home games. The "O" Shout has traveled from across the DC Metro Area, from the snowy hills in Frostburg to the warm shores of Salisbury, Md. Washintonians that traveled to college kept their Orioles spirit from Kansas State, Michigan, and Central Florida. The practice caught some attention in the spring of 2005, when some fans performed the "O!" cry at Washington Nationals games at RFK Stadium. At Cal Ripken, Jr.'s induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the crowd, mostly of Orioles fans, carried out the "O!" tradition during Tony Gwynn's daughter's rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner.

It has been an Orioles tradition since 1975 to play John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" during the seventh inning stretch.

In the July 5, 2007 edition of Baltimore's weekly sports publication Press Box, an article by Mike Gibbons covered the details of how this tradition came to be.

Some songs from special events include "One Moment in Time" for Cal Ripken's record-breaking game. For his last game, the theme from Pearl Harbor, "There You'll Be" by Faith Hill, was featured. The theme from Field of Dreams was played at the Last Game at Memorial Stadium in 1991, and the song "Magic to Do" from the stage musical Pippin was used that season to commemorate "Orioles Magic" on 33rd Street. During their heyday in the 1970s, a club song, appropriately titled "Orioles Magic", was composed, and played when the team ran out until Opening Day of 2008. Starting the following game, the song (a favorite among many fans, who appreciated its references to Wild Bill Hagy and Earl Weaver) was only played (along with a video featuring several Orioles stars performing the song) after wins.

In the 2006 World Baseball Classic, the Orioles contributed more players than any other major league team, with eleven players suiting up for their home nations. Erik Bedard and Adam Loewen pitched for Canada; Rodrigo López and Geronimo Gil (released before the season began by the club) played for Mexico; Daniel Cabrera and Miguel Tejada for the Dominican Republic; Javy López and Luis Matos for Puerto Rico; Bruce Chen for Panama; Ramon Hernandez for Venezuela; and John Stephens for Australia.

Orioles games are broadcast on a 20-station radio network in Maryland and nearby states, anchored by flagship station WJZ-FM (105.7 MHz). Fred Manfra, and Joe Angel alternate radio announcing duties.

As part of the settlement of a television broadcast rights dispute with Comcast SportsNet over the Washington Nationals, the Orioles severed their Comcast ties at the end of the 2006 season. All Orioles' games are now televised on the Orioles-controlled Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), with some games also airing locally on WJZ-TV (ch. 13). Longtime sportscaster Gary Thorne, who is also recognized for his work as a hockey announcer, is the current television announcer for the Orioles, Hall of Fame former Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer, former Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey, and former major leaguer Buck Martinez. Some MASN telecasts in conflict with Washington Nationals' game telecasts air on an alternate MASN2 feed. All Oriole games are televised, as their non-MASN games are televised by ESPN, FOX, or TBS.

Four former Oriole franchise radio announcers have received the Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting: Chuck Thompson (who was also the voice of the old NFL Baltimore Colts), Ernie Harwell, Herb Carneal and Harry Caray (as a St. Louis Browns announcer in the 1940s. ). Other former Baltimore announcers include ESPN's Jon Miller, FOX's Josh Lewin, the late Bill O'Donnell, and Baltimore radio veteran Tom Marr, who called the games during the "Oriole Magic" years on the old WFBR-AM (now WJZ). In 1991, the Orioles experimented with longtime TV writer/producer Ken Levine as a play-by-play broadcaster. Levine was best noted for his work on TV shows such as Cheers and M*A*S*H, but only lasted one season in the Orioles broadcast booth.

Other previous flagship radio stations include WBAL (1090 kHz AM) from 1987–2006, the now–defunct WFBR (1300 kHz AM) from 1979 through 1986, and a brief period with WCBM (680 kHz AM) for the 1987 season. Previous to 1979, WBAL had been the flagship station.

Former Oriole television broadcasters include: Thompson, Miller, former Baltimore Ravens broadcaster Scott Garceau, longtime versatile sportscaster Mel Proctor, former Cleveland Cavaliers broadcaster Michael Reghi, as well as former Oriole players including Hall of Fame third baseman Brooks Robinson, former pitcher Mike Flanagan, and former outfielder John Lowenstein.

Previous Baltimore television flagship stations have included: WMAR-TV (Channel 2) and WNUV-TV (Channel 54), as well as regional cable network Home Team Sports (HTS) which eventually evolved into Comcast SportsNet.

For 23 years, Rex Barney was the PA announcer for the Orioles. His voice became a fixture of both Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards, and his expression "Give that fan a contract," uttered whenever a fan caught a foul ball, was one of his trademarks – the other being his distinct "Thank Yooooou..." following every announcement (He was also known on occasion to say "Give that fan an error" after a dropped foul ball). Rex Barney died on August 12, 1997, and in his honor that night's game at Camden Yards was held without a public–address announcer.

Of the eight original American League teams, this franchise had once had the sparsest post-season record, and was the last of the eight to win the World Series, doing so in 1966 with its four–game sweep of the heavily favored Los Angeles Dodgers. When the Orioles were the St. Louis Browns, they played in only one World Series, the 1944 matchup against their Sportsman's Park tenants, the Cardinals. The 1966 season was the start of an era of some great Orioles teams, during which they were a frequent contender, including winning the 1966, 1970, and 1983 World Series.

Eddie Murray Jim Palmer Cal Ripken, Jr.

Note: Cal Ripken Sr.'s number 7 and Elrod Hendricks' number 44 have not been retired, but a moratorium has been placed on them and they have not been issued by the team since their deaths.

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2006 Caribbean Series

The XLVIII edition of the Caribbean Series (Serie del Caribe) baseball tournament was played in 2006 in the neighboring cities of Maracay and Valencia in Venezuela, making it the first one to be played in two different cities. It was held from February 2 through February 7 featuring the champions teams from Dominican Republic (Licey), Mexico (Mazatlán), Puerto Rico (Carolina) and Venezuela (Caracas). The format consisted of 12 games, each team facing the other teams twice. The games were played at Estadio José Pérez Colmenares (Maracay) and Estadio José Bernardo Pérez (Valencia).

The Venezuela home team won its first Caribbean Series title since 1989 after a dramatic rally with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning led them to a perfect 6-0 finish. Managed by Carlos Subero, Venezuela outscored opponents 45 to 15 and the defense committed three errors. Triple Crown winner Ramón Hernández was named the CBWS Most Valuable Player after leading all teams with a .542 batting average (13-for-24), eight RBIs and tying Mexico's Edgar González with three home runs. Hernández also hit for the cycle in Game Two. Other notable contributions came from Alex Cabrera (.360, 2 HR, 7 RBIs), Alex González (.409, 1 HR, 7 RBIs), Marco Scutaro (.304, 7 runs, 5 RBIs, 2 HR, including a grand slam), Luis Rodríguez (.310, 3 doubles, 5 runs, 8 RBIs) and Franklin Gutiérrez (.364, 4 runs, 4 RBIs). Overall, the Venezuelan club hit .327 with nine home runs. Geremi González led all teams with one victory and a 1.20 ERA over 15 innings pitched. He struck out 12 batters and walked three. Overall, the team finished with a 2.62 ERA.

The Dominican Republic finished the series in second place with a 4-2 record. Both losses were to Venezuela. The team was managed by Rafael Landestoy and included players as Alexis Gómez, who led his teammates with a .500 BA (10-for-20), and Miguel Tejada (.273, 1 HR, 8 RBIs), Sandy Martínez (.300, 1 HR, 5 RBIs), Napoleón Calzado (.321) and Rafael Belliard (.304, 1 HR).

Puerto Rico was guided by Lino Rivera and finished third at 2-4, both its wins coming against Mexico. Other than starter William Collazo (0-1) and relievers Iván Maldonado and Orlando Román, the pitching staff resulted ineffective. The offense was led by Luis Figueroa (.364, 1 HR, 5 RBIs), Rubén Gotay (.368, 1 HR), Alex Cintrón (.308, 1 HR) and José Valentín (.269, 1 HR).

The defending champion Mexico did not win a game in the series. Managed by Juan José Pacho, it was the fifth time a Mexican team had been held winless in Caribbean Series history. Edgar González led the attack with a .524 BA (11-for-21) and three solo home runs. The team also incluyed veterans players as Trenidad Hubbard, Oscar Robles and Francisco Campos.

Fox Sports en Español narrator on the final play.

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2005 National League Division Series

NL Division Series 2005 Logo.png

The higher seed (in parentheses) had the home field advantage, which was determined by playing record. Although the team with the best record was normally intended to play the wild card team, the Cardinals played the Padres, rather than the wild card Astros, because the Cardinals and Astros are in the same division.

The Cardinals and Astros went on to meet in the NL Championship Series (NLCS). The Astros became the National League champion, and lost to the American League champion Chicago White Sox in the 2005 World Series.

It was a matchup between Jake Peavy and eventual 2005 Cy Young Award winner Chris Carpenter. In the bottom of the 1st, Jim Edmonds's one out solo homer put the Cardinals up 1-0. Then in the bottom of the 3rd, Peavy's control slipped away as a wild pitch and a two run single by Reggie Sanders gave the Cards a 4-0 lead. But Sanders would provide more offense with a grand slam in the 5th. That would make the score 8-0 and give Sanders 6 RBIs in the game. The Padres would not go quietly though. They would scratch out a run in the 7th on a sac fly, then one more on a solo homer by Eric Young in the 8th. After the Padres put runners on the corners in the 9th, Jason Isringhausen came on to close the deal. But four consecutive hits with two outs would make the score 8-5 and would load the bases with the go ahead run at the plate. Ramon Hernandez would not deliver as he would strike out to end the game.

Pedro Astacio faced Mark Mulder in Game 2. The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the 3rd when an error by Khalil Greene allowed the Cardinals to plate two unearned runs, the last one a bases loaded walk. A fielder's choice and a squeeze play by David Eckstein made it 4-0 Cardinals in the 4th. But the Padres were not done. In the top of the 7th, a double and two singles made it 4-1 and put the tying run at the plate. But a double play killed the rally and the Padres would only get one. Reggie Sanders would get two more RBIs with a two run double in the bottom half of the inning. A bases loaded hit-by-pitch to Xavier Nady made it 6-2, but the Padres would squander the chance to tie the game. The Cards would go on to win 6-2.

Matt Morris faced former Cardinals pitcher Woody Williams. Albert Pujols drove in David Eckstein with an RBI double in the top of the 1st. Then Eckstein would provide significant pop with his bat when he hit a two run homer in the 2nd to make it 3-0. But the Cards wouldn't stop there as Reggie Sanders would collect two more RBIs on a two run double to make it 5-0 later in the inning. That would bring Sanders' RBI total to 10 for the series. Then Yadier Molina's two run single silenced the crowd in the top of the 5th. That made it 7-0 Cardinals. All hope seemed lost for the Padres but a one out double in the bottom half of the 5th started a two run rally that made it 7-2. Then Dave Roberts's solo homer in the 7th put the Padres within striking distance. Another solo home run in the 8th by Ramon Hernandez made it 7-4. Jason Isringhausen would come on to slam the door on the Padres. Ryan Klesko's groundout ended the series.

Andy Pettitte faced Tim Hudson in Game 1. Hudson would struggle in his half of the first, giving up one run, but would get out of the inning with a crucial double play. Pettitte would allow a solo homer to Chipper Jones to tie the game but he would otherwise cruise. The game remained 1-1 until the 3rd when a two run single by Morgan Ensberg made it 3-1 Astros. Hudson would load the bases but survive once again. In the Braves' 4th, Andruw Jones would hit a two run homer to make it a one run game. A walk and a bunt single put the tying run in scoring position later in the inning but Brian Jordan would ground into a double play to end the rally. Pettitte would help his own cause in the 7th with the game still at 4-3. He would double and later score on an RBI hit by Ensberg. It was now 5-3 and Hudson was finished. In the 8th, with Chris Reitsma pitching, the Astros would open the floodgates with a five run rally. The lack of a steady bullpen cost the Braves dearly as the score was now 10-3 and all hope of a Game 1 victory was gone. The Braves would get a run in the 8th and 9th but would lose decisively 10-5.

Roger Clemens faced John Smoltz in Game 2. Smoltz ran into trouble when he allowed two consecutive singles with one out. After a forceout, Jason Lane singled in Lance Berkman to make it 1-0 Astros. He would intentionally load the bases but get out of the inning with no more damage done. Then the Braves struck back against Clemens. With two outs and two men on, Brian McCann came up in his first ever postseason at-bat. He then slammed a three run homer to right field. He became the first Brave ever to homer in his first postseason at-bat. That sparked the Braves as they would go on to score two more in the third on a two run double by Adam LaRoche. Smoltz pitched masterfully and the Braves would add two more for insurance in the 7th. The Braves' victory in Game 2 was their last postseason win to date.

Jorge Sosa faced Roy Oswalt in Game 3. Sosa would fall behind early when a double and a sac fly gave the Astros two runs in the 1st. But the Braves would tie the game in the next inning with back-to-back two out RBI singles by Brian McCann and Sosa. But Mike Lamb would hit the go ahead solo homer in the bottom of the 3rd. The two pitchers would duel until the bottom of the 7th when Chris Reitsma once again came into a close game. But Reitsma would allow two straight hits and the Braves' bullpen could do little to stop the Astros' rally. They would strike for four runs and Reitsma once again put a close game out of reach. The Braves would scratch out a run in the 8th thanks to an RBI double by Andruw Jones but they would get no more. The Astros would go on to win Game 3 7-3.

The final game of the series lasted eighteen innings and set records as the longest game in the history of Major League Baseball's postseason, both in terms of time and number of innings. Although the Braves started out with an early lead and were even ahead 6-1 in the eighth, a grand slam by Lance Berkman in the eighth and a solo home run by Brad Ausmus in the ninth (with the Astros down to their last out) sent the game to extra innings. The second half of the game included three innings of relief by Roger Clemens, appearing as a pinch-hitter in the fifteenth inning and pitching in relief for only the second time in his career (and appearing this time only because the Astros were out of pitchers). Chris Burke hit the game ending home run in the bottom of the eighteenth off Atlanta rookie Joey Devine, giving Houston the series victory and sending them to the NLCS to face the St. Louis Cardinals.

In addition to being the longest postseason game in MLB history, it was also the only postseason game to include two grand slams, Lance Berkman's and Adam LaRoche's. Some commentators have pointed to this game as the greatest game in Houston Astros history, and one of the best games in the history of MLB playoffs.

Even more remarkable than the game's length, perhaps, is the fact that the fan who caught Chris Burke's walk-off homer in the 18th was, in fact, the same fan who had caught Lance Berkman's grand slam in the eighth; the fan later donated both balls to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Swing and a drive to left field... way back... this one is GOOOONE!... The Astros win it... It's Chris Burke with a late inning walk off home run to give Roger Clemens the win and send the Astros to their second straight NLCS in 18 innings.. Houston pulls it out to go back to the League Championship for the second straight year!


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Source : Wikipedia