The Orioles of 1960 made a charge for the pennant and the team emerged as a perennial contender. Finishing with 85 wins, it was clear that the future was bright with rookies Jim Gentile, Ron Hansen, and Steve Barber shining bright alongside more established players such as Milt Pappas and Brooks Robinson, who went to the first of his 16 All-Star Games.
After finishing 2nd the year before, the 1961 Orioles slogan was "It Can Be Done in '61." Despite a dazzling 95-67 record, however, they finished a distant 3rd behind the Yankees and Tigers. On May 9 at Minnesota, first baseman Jim Gentile became the first player in history to hit grand slams in consecutive innings. He went on to hit .302 with a club-record 46 homers and tied Roger Maris for the AL RBI lead with 146. The Orioles top four starting pitchers - Steve Barber, Milt Pappas, Jack Fisher and Chuck Estrada, all were 23 or younger - combined for 56 wins, giving rise to the nickname "the Kiddie Korps." Paul Richards left the club in September to join the new Houston franchise in the National League.
The 1962 Orioles, under new manager Billy Hitchcock, slumped to 7th place in the league. The "Kiddie Korps" of starters - Steve Barber, Milt Pappas, Jack Fisher and Chuck Estrada - fell to 37-42 and saw their collective ERA rise by half a run from the season before.
The 1963 Orioles rebounded to an 86-76 record and 4th place finish. Lefty Steve Barber became the Orioles' first 20-game winner, going 20-13, and newly acquired shortstop Luis Aparicio became the first Oriole to lead the AL in stolen bases with 40. Second-year outfielder Boog Powell led the club with 25 homers.
Under new manager Hank Bauer in 1964, the Orioles were tied for the AL lead on September 18. Despite going 8-4 over their final 12 games, they finished in 3rd place with a 97-65 record, 2 games behind the Yankees (12-4 after September 18) and a game behind the White Sox (10-2 after September 18). Brooks Robinson was the AL's Most Valuable Player, batting .318 with 28 homers and 118 RBI. Boog Powell hit .290 with 39 homers and 99 RBI and Luis Aparicio led the AL for the 9th straight season with 57 steals, while rookie right-hander Wally Bunker led the pitching staff with a 19-5 record and 2.69 ERA.
The 1965 Orioles again finished in 3rd place. Six different pitchers won at least 10 games, led by Steve Barber's 15 victories. Reliever Stu Miller finished second with a 14-7 record and 24 saves. Outfielder Curt Blefary was named AL Rookie of the Year, hitting 22 homers with 70 RBI.
In a trade for Milt Pappas and two others, Frank Robinson (right) came to the Birds and proved to be the missing ingredient for the Championship. The Orioles defeated the favored LA Dodgers in the World Series with awe-inspiring pitching and timely power - traits that would become the staples of the franchise for years to come. The Birds won their first-ever title in decisive fashion, outscoring LA 13-2 in the Series for a 4-game sweep.
After winning their first World Series title the year before, the 1967 Orioles suffered from injuries and a collective slump, falling to 6th place and their first losing season in five years. The season was epitomized on June 27 when Frank Robinson - batting .337 in 68 games and on pace to surpass his previous season's homer and RBI totals with 21 and 59 - was injured sliding into second base against the White Sox. Robinson missed a month and suffered from blurred vision when he returned, batting .282 with 9 homers and 35 RBI over his final 60 games. Rookie Tom Phoebus was the only pitcher to win in double-figures, going 14-9.
With the Orioles in 3rd place, 10 1/2 games behind the Tigers at the All-Star break, first base coach Earl Weaver replaced Hank Bauer as manager. The Orioles rallied and went 48-34 in the second half finishing second in the league but 12 games behind Detroit. Left-hander Dave McNally went 22-10 and right-hander Jim Hardin finished 18-13, but the highlight of the season came on April 27 when Baltimore-born Tom Phoebus tossed a 6-0 no-hitter to beat the Red Sox at Memorial Stadium.
Jim Palmer's (16-4, pictured right) dominance was on display as he fired off an 11-game win streak in the summer of '69. The O's finished 109-53 and played the Minnesota Twins in the first American League Championship series, which they promptly swept in 3 games. The World Series pitted the favored Birds against the Miracle Mets who shocked all of baseball with a 4-1 victory in the Fall Classic.