The Orioles wanted to make 1991 a "season to remember" and drew a club-record 2,252,783 fans as they played their 38th and final season at Memorial Stadium. Cal Ripken earned his second AL Most Valuable Player Award, finishing with a .323 batting average, 34 homers and 114 RBI, but the team struggled from the start and finished in 6th place in the AL East. A tear-filled ceremony featuring more than 100 Orioles past and present after the last game of the season provided a fitting tribute to the closing of the team's 38-year home.
The dawn of a new era of Orioles baseball began as Camden Yards was introduced to the world. Despite many comments about how hitter-friendly the park was, the first three games played there were low-scoring shutouts with the O's winning two of them. At the end of the '92 season, Cal Ripken Jr.'s consecutive games streak had reached 1,735 and Lou Gehrig's record was in sight.
The All-Star Game returned to Baltimore for the first time since 1958 in the beautiful setting of Camden Yards and All-Star Fanfest Week was a celebration unlike any in recent memory. In the Home Run contest, Ken Griffey Jr. became the first player to hit the warehouse on the fly. Not to be outdone, Juan Gonzalez, a right-hander, reached the 3rd deck in left field with a shot estimated to be over 500 feet. The Birds as a whole had a streaky season, but catcher Chris Hoiles was solid throughout en route to winning Oriole MVP. He hit .310 with 29 HR and 82 RBI even though he missed 21 games due to injury.
In 1994, the Orioles were never under .500 but finished a distant second in the AL East despite a 64-49 record in the strike-shortened season. Mike Mussina was among the league's top pitchers with 16 wins and a 3.05 ERA, but was thwarted in his bid for 20 wins when the season ended on August 10.
On September 5th and 6th at Oriole Park at Camden Yards against the California Angels, Cal Ripken Jr. (right) became baseball's all-time "Iron Man", tying and breaking Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played record of 2,130. Cal's streak began on May 30, 1982. In the games Cal went a combined 5-9 and hit home runs in each. Ceremonies were held after the tying game and included a "roast" of Cal to congratulate him on his achievement, but the best celebration was to come during the record breaking game. After the game was in the books as an official game, play was halted for over 20 minutes and Cal made a victory lap as the fans showed their appreciation for baseball's new "Iron Man".
After a frustrating first half which saw the team struggle to find their identity, the Birds made a charge and captured the AL Wild Card. In the Division Series against Cleveland, Roberto Alomar (right) secured victory for the O's with his heroics on the field and at the plate and the Orioles moved on to face the Yankees in the ALCS. Two extremely close games in New York, including the famous Home Run That Wasn't game, brought the series back to Baltimore tied 1-1 but the Yankees proved to be too much to take and the O's fell short, losing the series 4-1 to the eventual World Champs.
The O's potent attack, led by Rafael Palmeiro (right), Roberto Alomar, and B.J. Surhoff, and double digit wins from 5 Orioles pitchers propelled the Birds to a season-long reign in the division as they went wire-to-wire. Their dominance brought them back to a Division Series rematch with the Indians, who had also been nothing short of dominating throughout the regular season campaign. This time around the Tribe got the best of the favored Orioles, whose offense had suddenly gone silent in the series, and the Indians eeked out a six-game series win to take the AL pennant before falling to the Marlins in the World Series.
Under new manager Ray Miller, the Orioles had only residue from their previous two playoff teams and finished just 79-93 in what was truly a transition year. Joe Carter was traded to the Giants and rookies such as Jerry Hairston and Sidney Ponson made their debut. It was a sparkling season for Rafael Palmeiro, his final one in Baltimore. The first baseman hit .296 with 43 homers and 121 RBI to earn an All-Star berth while Eric Davis put up a vintage season with a team-leading .327 average and 28 homers. The Orioles finished in fourth place in the AL East.
The transition continued as Rafael Palmeiro, Roberto Alomar and Eric Davis left via free agency and the Orioles welcomed slugger Albert Belle in what would be his second to final season. Belle led the Orioles in home runs and RBI while B.J. Surhoff hit .308 for the 78-84 Orioles and Ray Miller, who would be fired at season's end. Mike Mussina led the pitching staff with 18 wins and made the All-Star team. The Orioles would finish in fourth place in the AL East for the second consecutive season.