From the day it opened in 1992, Baltimore’s crown jewel of a ballpark set a new standard. In the years since, it’s hosted some of baseball's most unforgettable moments.
Here are the 10 best in the history of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, which remains one of the most iconic, storied stops on the Major League circuit.
1. Sept. 6, 1995
Cal Ripken Jr.'s 2,131st consecutive game
The top moment at Camden Yards also ranks high on the list of most memorable in baseball history. With the world watching, Cal Ripken Jr. played his 2,131st consecutive game to break Lou Gehrig’s unbreakable record and become baseball’s new Iron Man. It was a generational event, a culmination of a streak credited with healing America’s national pastime after the strike-shortened 1994 season.
On that historic night, the ballpark itself didn’t merely provide a backdrop. It played a central role, hosting 46,272 fans from all over the world and creatively using its singular feature -- the red brick B&O Warehouse beyond the right-field wall -- to commemorate Ripken’s achievement. It’s been debated whether any player will ever match Ripken’s streak, which ended on Sept. 20, 1998, at 2,632 games. Either way, what 2,131 provided as an event certainly will never be replicated.
2. Oct. 3, 2014
The Delmon Young Game
The consensus from the people who were there, when Delmon Young etched his name into Orioles lore, is that they'd never heard Oriole Park louder. They’d never seen it shake like that. They’d never seen it erupt so completely.
Then again, it had been waiting to do so for a while. It had been 17 years since the O’s last won the American League East, 17 years since they last captured a playoff series. Young’s go-ahead eighth-inning double in Game 2 of the 2014 AL Division Series vs. Detroit all but ensured the latter streak would end. Young’s heroics swung the series and gave Oriole Park, in its 22nd year, its first signature October moment.
3. July 12-13, 1993
1993 All-Star Week
In its second year of existence, Oriole Park at Camden Yards hosted its lone All-Star Game. While the game itself (a 9-3 AL win) provided controversy after AL skipper Cito Gatson did not pitch hometown selection Mike Mussina, the week-long festivities had longer-term ripple effects.
By succeeding on a national stage, Baltimore’s brand new jewel of a ballpark set the standard for a generation of new-age downtown stadiums that would soon be built with an eye toward revolutionizing the fan experience. The week came with some highlights too, like Ken Griffey Jr.’s warehouse-scraping Home Run Derby homer and a comical John Kruk/Randy Johnson exchange that remains a blooper reel staple to this day.
4. Sept. 6, 1996
Eddie Murray’s 500th HR
This was the moment the Orioles envisioned when they reacquired Eddie Murray, seven years after he last played in Baltimore, in July 1996. It just didn’t play out exactly how anyone anticipated.
A two-hour, 20-minute rain delay had largely emptied the Oriole Park crowd by the time Murray joined the 500-home run club, homering off Felipe Lira in the seventh inning of an eventual loss to the Tigers. Then there was the coincidence of timing: Murray’s big night came on the one-year anniversary of Ripken’s record-breaking 2,131st consecutive game, an impossible bar to clear.
Still, Murray received a more than eight-minute ovation from those who stayed, many of whom cheered the slugger over parts of 13 total seasons with the Orioles. At the time, the future Hall of Famer also became the third player in MLB history (three others have since done so) to compile both 500 homers and 3,000 hits.
5. Sept. 20, 1998
The Streak ends
When Ripken voluntarily ended his streak at 2,632 games, three years after breaking Gehrig’s record, the scene was far more understated. No festivities. No prior notice. No iconic lap. Far out of the playoff hunt by this point, the Orioles simply jogged out of the home dugout to open a nationally televised Sunday night game against the Yankees without Ripken among them. It was the first time that had happened in 17 years.
After word circulated through the stadium, Ripken received a standing ovation from the 48,013 in attendance as well as the entire Yankees team. The event made a household name out of rookie Ryan Minor, his replacement at third base.
6. Oct. 8, 1995
The Pope’s visit
In Pope John Paul II’s seven trips to the United States, he visited Baltimore City once. Oriole Park at Camden Yards played a central role in his visit, hosting 50,000 people for Paul II’s Papal Mass. This is the only non-baseball related moment on this list. But it was a global event that reportedly attracted more than 1,000 reporters at the time -- twice the number that covered Ripken’s record-breaking night.
7. May 17, 1996
Homering with Hoiles
Two years before he’d make Orioles grand slam history, catcher Chris Hoiles capped one of the most captivating regular-season games ever played at Oriole Park in grand fashion. With the O’s trailing Seattle by three runs with two outs in the ninth, Hoiles tagged a two-strike walk-off grand slam off Norm Charlton to beat the Mariners, 14-13. It was only the 12th two-out sudden-death grand slam in MLB history.
8. Sept. 28, 2011
The 2011 Red Sox wouldn’t have fallen victim to one of the most epic late-season collapses in MLB history had it not been for some Orioles magic on the season’s final day. Down to their last out of the season, the O's scored twice off All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon to claim a dramatic 4-3 walk-off win and dash Boston’s playoff hopes. Nolan Reimold and Robert Andino were the heroes, driving in the tying and go-ahead run, respectively.
9. March 31, 2003
The Orioles had to fight the elements to outlast Cleveland on maybe the most bizarre Opening Days in club history, a 13-inning snow-delayed 6-5 victory that featured sun, rain and sleet. Cleveland scored two of its runs on a fly ball lost amid snowflakes, but the O’s -- who tied the game for a second time in the 12th on a two-out passed ball -- finally won on Gary Matthews' single in the 13th.
10. April 6, 1992
The First One
Eventually, Camden Yards would come to be called “The Ballpark That Forever Changed Baseball.” Its official birthday was a happy one: Rick Sutcliffe threw a nifty five-hit shutout as the Orioles beat Cleveland, 2-0, on Opening Day in OPACY's first game.