Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, and Cal Ripken, Jr., all three Hall of Famers called Baltimore home for the entirety of their big league careers. Fellow Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio along with Latino legends Miguel Cuellar and Dennis Martínez also called Baltimore home, but only for part of their career. While these players all left an imprint on Orioles franchise history with their bats, gloves, or pitching, the development of homegrown Latino talent has not been a forte of Baltimore’s system.
That is, until the arrival of Manny Machado.
A reminder of how we determined the list. We focused strictly on the time these players spent with the team, not their overall career. To make things simple, we used WAR (as calculated by Baseball-Reference.com) as our metric of choice. And while this is one measure of the impact of these players, you might have your own opinion as to who deserves to be higher (or lower) on that team’s Top 10.
So let’s take a look at which players made the Orioles list of Latino Top 10 and see where you guys landed.
1. Manny Machado
29.9 WAR, 6+ years with Baltimore, 3-time All-Star, two Gold Glove Awards
Now a full-time shortstop per his request, Machado has been among the best all-around third basemen for the last five years. He led the league with 51 doubles in 2013 – as a 20-year-old – and has missed only 11 games over the last three seasons. He has already passed Mora into first this season, but Orioles fans wonder how long he’ll continue accumulating stats for the organization beyond 2018.
2. Melvin Mora
29.1 WAR, 10 years with Baltimore, 2-time All-Star, one Silver Slugger
3. Rafael Palmeiro
24.4 WAR, 7 years with Baltimore, one All-Star Game, two Gold Glove Awards
Palmeiro spent the majority of his career between Texas and Baltimore in two stints with each team. In exactly 1,000 games with the Orioles, Palmeiro slashed .284/.366./.520 and hit 223 home runs with 204 doubles. Appropriately, his 3,000th career hit came on a double. Palmeiro drove in at least 100 runs and hit at least 38 homers in four of his the five seasons in his first stop in Baltimore.
4. Miguel Tejada
19.5 WAR, 5 years with Baltimore, 3-time All-Star, two Silver Sluggers
Tejada played in all 162 games in his first three years in Baltimore and led the league with 150 RBI in 2004, the year he won an epic home run derby. He followed that up with a league-leading 50 doubles in 2005 and 100 RBI in 2006, making him one of the most feared offensive shortstops of the decade. He slashed .305/.354/.481 over 716 games with Baltimore.
5. Mike Cuellar
17.3 WAR, 8 years with Baltimore, 3-time All-Star, 1969 Cy Young Award winner
In 1969, Cuellar became the first Latin American-born pitcher to win the Cy Young Award, an award he split with Detroit’s Denny McLain. He went 23-11 with a 2.38 ERA in 1969 but was actually better in 1970; Cuellar won 24 of 32 decisions and led the league with 21 complete games. He still ranks third all-time among Cuban pitchers with 185 career wins, 143 of which came for the Orioles. He also struck out 1,011 while a member of the dominant Orioles pitching staffs of the early 1970s. Cuellar’s birthday happens to be May 8.
6. Luis Aparicio
16.4 WAR, 5 years with Baltimore, 2-time All-Star, two Gold Glove Awards
The Hall of Famer joined the Orioles as a 28-year-old in 1963 and led the league in stolen bases with 40 and 57 in 1963 and 1964, respectively. In 1966 he led the league with 707 plate appearances, scoring 97 runs on the World Series championship Orioles team. His 166 stolen bases are still tied for ninth in Baltimore history.
7. Sidney Ponson
12.1 WAR, 8 years with Baltimore, 73-85, 836 strikeouts
Ponson showed up in Baltimore in 1998 and finished fifth in Rookie of the Year voting. His best season came in 2003, when he started the season 14-6 with a 3.77 ERA before he was traded to San Francisco. He re-signed with Baltimore that winter and led the league with five complete games the following season.
8. Jonathan Schoop
10.1 WAR, 5+ years with Baltimore, one All-Star Game
Schoop, the second current member of the Orioles on the list, is coming off his best season in the majors. He hit 32 home runs and drove in 105 last year while playing in 160 games; he has missed only two games over the past two years.
9. Dennis Martínez
9.7 WAR, 11 years with Baltimore, 108-93, 858 strikeouts
“El Presidente” joined the Orioles in 1976 and became a force in their rotation the following season, posting a 14-7 record. Martínez led the league with 39 starts, 18 complete games and 292.1 innings pitched in 1979 and won a career-high 16 games twice (1978, 1982). His personal problems kept him from being part of the Orioles’ championship run in 1983, but his 108 wins with Baltimore still ranks tenth in team history.
10. Rodrigo López
9.3 WAR, 5 years with Baltimore, 60-58, 614 strikeouts
López signed with Baltimore as a 25-year-old before the 2002 season and promptly had the best season of his career, winning 15 games and striking out 136 while finishing the runner-up for the Rookie of the Year Award (behind Eric Hinske). He led the league with 35 starts and threw a career-high 209.1 innings in 2005 but struggled to regain his form after that season. He never won more than nine games again in his career.
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