The most successful Maryland Sports Franchises of all time
Maryland is one of the underrated states in terms of sports, but it has produced some legendary franchises and players. Even if the state doesn’t enjoy the popularity of major sports networks in New York or LA, its teams have received national recognition due to sound management and public funding. In this article, we’ll discuss some of Maryland’s biggest sports teams.
Baltimore Ravens history
The Baltimore Ravens were established in 1996, when then-owner of the Cleveland Browns, Art Modell, announced his intention to relocate the team to Baltimore due to his dissatisfaction with Cleveland city officials’ efforts to improve the city’s stadium situation. The resulting controversy ended when representatives of Cleveland and the NFL reached a settlement on February 8, 1996, whereby the Browns would move to Baltimore and be renamed as the Ravens. As part of the settlement agreement, former Browns owner Art Modell agreed to leave the Browns’ name, colors, and history in Cleveland.
The Browns themselves returned in 1999 as an expansion team.
In their first year, Baltimore’s new NFL franchise quickly developed a loyal following that has only grown larger over time, partially owing to some key personnel moves made by General Manager Ozzie Newsome–such as drafting future Hall-of-Famer Jonathan Ogden with the team’s very first pick ever back in 1996–and partly owing to the team’s on-field success in recent years, winning two Super Bowls (XXXV and XLVII).
Today, the Ravens are one of the most popular sports teams in Maryland, regularly selling out home games at M&T Bank Stadium. The team feeds the enormous Maryland sports betting industry, which takes in billions of dollars in bets each year.
The Orioles began to play in Milwaukee in 1901 as one of eight charter members of the American League (AL), which was then a minor league. They spent their first year as an unofficial minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox under manager Clark Griffith. The White Sox won the AL pennant that year. After the season, the Brewers were invited to move to the newly created AL and did so; they played their home games at Lloyd Street Grounds. According to Bill James’ Historical Baseball Abstract, they were one of baseball’s worst teams in their early years (1901–1903) but improved dramatically when they acquired future Hall of Famer Pitching Ace Three Finger Brown in mid-1903.
The Orioles became one of the AL’s eight charter franchises upon the formation of that league in 1901. They were formed as a minor league club in Milwaukee and then moved to St. Louis, where they spent 52 often-beleaguered years before moving to Baltimore prior to the 1954 season. In their first year in Baltimore, the Orioles finished last in the AL but improved dramatically when they acquired future Hall of Famer Pitching Ace Three Finger Brown in mid-1903. The team was competitive for much of the next half-century, winning three pennants (1944, 1966, and 1970) and three World Series titles (1966, 1970, and 1983), but also suffered some long periods of futility, including a stretch of 21 consecutive losing seasons from 1954 to 1974.
The Orioles had their greatest successes from 1966 to 1983. There, they made six World Series appearances, winning three. During that time, the team had its first period of sustained success since the early 1900s, winning three AL pennants and three World Series titles. The Orioles were led by a core group of stars that included future Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, and Eddie Murray. The team’s manager during this period was Earl Weaver.
Since 1984, the Orioles have been mostly disappointing, with only two playoff appearances (in 1996 and 1997) and no trips to the World Series. The team has had only four winning seasons in the past 20 years and only one (in 1997) since 1992. The team’s most recent period of success came under manager Buck Showalter, who led the team to playoff berths in 2012, 2014, and 2016. However, the Orioles have not won a playoff series since their last World Series appearance in 1983.
The Ravens and Orioles are by far Maryland’s most successful and popular sports teams. The Ravens have won two Super Bowls, while the Orioles have made six World Series appearances, winning three championships. While both teams have had periods of futility over the past 20 years, the Ravens have been more successful than the Orioles, making the playoffs seven times since 2000, compared to just twice for the Orioles. The Ravens are also more popular than the Orioles, with a higher average attendance at their home games.