Hometown Cal and Camden Yards
The St. Louis Browns baseball team (1902-53) did not win ballgames, which is, unfortunately, the point of a ballgame. They did manage, however, to make it all the way to the 1944 World Series, but lost to cross-town rival St. Louis Cardinals. The Browns had their spark, but the flame was never fanned bright enough to carry the team into the latter half of the 20th century. So, MLB owners in 1953 unanimously voted to move the team to Baltimore, where the Orioles have since thrived.
The modern-day Baltimore Orioles are synonymous with Cal Ripken Jr. Dubbed “Iron Man,” the Maryland native played each of his 20 years in Major League Baseball with the Orioles. The 2007 Hall of Fame inductee, 1983 World Series champion, two-time AL MVP (1983 and 1991), and 1982 AL Rookie of the Year has more home runs (431) than any other Oriole ever. Above all of his accolades, though, Cal holds one of the most staggering statistical achievements in sports: consecutive games played. Ripken played in every single MLB contest for the Orioles for 16 straight years, amassing 2,632 consecutive games played.
While Hall-of-Famer “Steady” Eddie Murray walloped 504 career home runs, he’s still second on the Orioles all-time list for 343 homers over 13 seasons in Baltimore. Most of Murray’s home runs took place at Memorial Stadium – Baltimore’s home field from 1953 to 1992.
In 1992, Oriole Park at Camden Yards hosted its first season as the team’s home field. Ripken split his career down the middle, playing at Memorial for his first 10 years and at Camden for the latter 10. Camden holds 172 of the Iron Man’s home runs.
Baltimore’s leading active slugger is center fielder Adam Jones, with 222 career home runs for the O’s. Nipping at his heels is current first baseman Chris Davis (199 home runs). Youngster Manny Machado will be looking to swing big this season to add to his 105 career round-trippers. Machado hit 37 long balls last year.
The Orioles’ “colossus of clout” last year was second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who had a career year (164 hits, 82 RBIs, and 25 HRs) in 2016. He also went Johnny-Rockets last June against Toronto at Camden, with a 461-foot shot to left field’s upper decks.
Lefties are swinging for the fences at Camden Yards. The park is teed up for left-handed hitters, with the right field fence a check-swing away from a home run hit. Long-ball territory in right rests 318 feet from the batter’s box. Left field is 333 feet away from home plate, and dead center sits at an attainable 410 feet.
The most voluminous helping of home run shots to right has historically landed in sections 92, 94, 96, 98, and especially the SRO (standing room only) section, which consumes a bulk of right field spectating. If seated out in left field, have your glove ready in sections 74, 76, 78, 80, 82, 84, and 86. Home runs are generous from Camden’s left field foul pole all the way to the bullpens in center field.
If you’re planning on heading out to Camden Yards in your old, faded Ripken Jr. jersey, maybe it’s time to check out Fanatics to upgrade to a fresh, new Ripken Jr. jersey.