From Hall of Famers like Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray to contemporary stars like Manny Machado and others, some of the most dynamic hitters in baseball history have dug in for the Orioles. So it’s perhaps little surprise how those recognizable names make up an outsized portion of the list when examining the best single-game performances in franchise history.
And why not? These players were feared by opposing pitchers and revered by their teammates. They were players who made a living from their ability to change games with one swing. Here are the games they impacted the most, the top five single-game hitting performances in Orioles history:
Aug. 18, 2017
3-for-5, 3 R, 3 HR, 7 RBIs
Machado is far from the only Oriole with a three-homer game (11 others have done it), and the seven runs he drove in on this night are not the club’s single-game record (Eddie Murray and Jim Gentile co-own that mark, with nine). But Machado gets the nod here because of the impact each swing had on the game. By launching a two-run homer in the third inning and a solo shot in the fifth, Machado cut into a deficit the O’s would claw back from all night. His final swing erased it for good -- the walk-off grand slam off Keynan Middleton punctuated a dramatic, come-from-behind, 9-7 win over the Angels at Camden Yards. In the process, Machado became just one of three players in MLB history to cap a three-homer game with a walk-off grand slam. He is the only Oriole to do it.
Cal Ripken Jr.
June 13, 1999
6-for-6, 5 runs, 2 HR, 13 total bases, 6 RBIs
Tying the franchise single-game records for hits and total bases, Ripken led a 22-1 dismantling of future Hall of Famer John Smoltz and the Braves on this June night. He socked a three-run homer off Smoltz in the first, chased Smoltz with a single in the third, added a two-run shot off Justin Speier in the fourth and sandwiched an RBI double between a pair of singles as the O’s poured it on. When it was over, Ripken had driven in six runs and scored five, courtesy of the only six-hit game of his career.
Aug. 26, 1985
4-for-5, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, BB
Had Murray’s late-game drive stretched just a few feet farther, past the warning track where it landed, this game would probably top this list. As it stood, Murray settled for three homers and a franchise single-game record nine RBIs and one long out … still more than enough to pace Baltimore’s 17-3 romp over the Angels. Even more impressive was the way Murray did it from both sides of the plate, connecting for a right-handed three-run homer off John Candelaria in the first, then hitting a solo shot and a grand slam from the left side off Alan Fowlkes. Between, Murray singled home a run and also walked as the O’s connected for a then-franchise-record seven homers.
“I’m very happy with Eddie, but I’m very happy with him every night,” then-manager Earl Weaver told the Los Angeles Times afterward. “Eddie is always there when you need him.”
Aug. 14, 1998
3-for-5, 2 HR, 8 RBIs
The Orioles’ primary catcher in the early 1990s, Hoiles enjoyed a 10-year big league career as a reliable defensive backstop with pop at the plate. But put him in bases-loaded situations and he transformed into a superstar. Among players with at least 75 plate appearances with the bases full, Hoiles’ 1.219 OPS ranks fifth all-time behind Albert Belle, Mike Trout, Tris Speaker and Mike Blowers. Hoiles hit eight career slams (and compiled 75 RBIs) in just 77 plate appearances with the bags full, including two in Baltimore’s 15-3 win over the Indians in August 1998. Homering off Charles Nagy in the third and Ron Villone in the eighth, Hoiles became one of 13 big leaguers to sock two slams in the same game. Three -- Hoiles, Frank Robinson and Jim Gentile -- were Orioles.
Cal Ripken Jr.
May 28, 1996
3-for-5, 3 HR, 8 RBIs, 12 total bases
Less than a month before breaking Japan's Sachio Kinugasa’s world record for most consecutive games played, MLB’s Iron Man enjoyed the lone three-homer game of his career. The result of one of Ripken’s most productive nights at the plate was a come-from-behind, 12-8 win over the Mariners that the O’s wouldn’t have captured without him. Each of Ripken’s three blasts came with a consequence: His two-run shot off Bob Wolcott broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth; his grand slam off Michael Jackson in the seventh put the Orioles on top; and his two-run homer off Scott Davison in the ninth provided insurance. With eight RBIs and 12 total bases on the night, Ripken came within one of both single-game franchise records.