The Washington Post
Navigation Bar
Navigation Bar

Related Items
O's Memories Front

Orioles Section

Baseball Section

Sports Section

  The 1988 Orioles: A Season to Forget

Going into the 1988 season, the Baltimore Orioles weren't sure what to expect, but knew they would struggle. Coming off a season in which they lost 95 games, finished 13th in the American League and ended the season losing 42 of their final 56 games, expectations weren't exactly high.

The offseason was spent retooling the team to the point where only 11 players from the previous season opener were among the 24-man roster. Reality and a glimpse of things to come hit early, however, as the Orioles were pounded by the Milwaukee Brewers, 12-0, on Opening Day in front of a then-franchise-record 52,395 at Memorial Stadium.

What followed was a tumultuous month of 20 straight losses, calls of sympathy from the nation's president, offers of help from priests and psychologists and national attention of the dubious kind.

On the 10th anniversary of the streak, we take a look back, game by painful game.

Game 1: Orioles Lose Opener to Brewers, 12-0
With 52,395, including the governor of Maryland on hand, the Baltimore Orioles bumbled away the season-opener, losing 12-0 to the Milwaukee Brewers. Starter Mike Boddicker was hit hard, allowing nine hits and four runs in 5 1/3 innings.

Game 2: One Bad Inning Chills Morgan, Orioles
On a chilly, wind-swept night, Milwaukee handed Baltimore its second straight loss, 3-1. The O's played well defensively, turning two double plays, and starter Mike Morgan scattered six hits over nine innings, but it wasn't enough.

Game 3: Indians Dump Orioles to 0-3
The Orioles made Cleveland starter Scott Bailes look like a Hall-of-Famer, as he threw a three-hitter and recorded his first career complete game en route to a 3-0 shutout of Baltimore.

Game 4: Orioles Lose, 12-1
Mike Boddicker got hammered for the second time in the young season. This time, he gave up eight hits and five earned runs in 1 2/3 innings as the O's were beaten by the Indians, 12-1. After four games, Baltimore has been outscored 30-2.

Game 5: Orioles Still Can't Get Going
The Orioles dropped to 0-5 on the year, losing to the Indians again, 6-3. The poor start prompted reliever Tom Niedenfuer to say: "Every team in the majors is going to lose five games in a row at some point. Ours are just coming at the beginning."

Game 6: Orioles Bumble to 7-2 Loss
It was no secret Orioles manager Cal Ripken Sr. was on the hot seat. The team made the noose a bit tighter, however, by losing its sixth straight, 7-2, to the Indians. The next day, Ripken was fired and Frank Robinson took over.

  • Poor Start Leads to Ripken's Firing

    Game 7: And the Getting Beat Goes On
    New manager, same result. The O's returned to Baltimore, but in front of a paltry crowd of 11,180, they lost to the Kansas City Royals, 6-1. After this game, the Orioles had been outscored 49-8 for the season.

    Game 8: Orioles Lose, 9-3, Tumble to 0-8
    Manager Frank Robinson shuffled the lineup, replacing Fred Lynn, Terry Kennedy and Jeff Stone (who were hitting a combined .130) but the result was once again an anemic offensive performance and poor pitching effort. The Royals won, 9-3.

    Game 9: Orioles Misplay It Again
    Two blown sacrifice bunts, three errors and two balks contributed to the Orioles' ninth straight loss. This one, a 4-3 stinker to the Royals before 13,005 at Memorial Stadium.

  • Povich: '04 Senators: Ripken No Win, No Fuss

    Game 10: In Chill of Night, Orioles Get Colder
    Maybe they shouldn't have played at all. After a blustery, driving rainstorm delayed the game 76 minutes, the Orioles went out and dropped a heartbreaker to the Indians, 3-2.

    And the Losing Goes On: Games 11-21

    Back to the top

  • Navigation Bar
    Navigation Bar