Baltimore is such a great sports town , we at BSR tried to list the top 10 moments in Baltimore Sports History.
1. The Greatest Game Ever Played
The greatest moment in the history of Baltimore sports could also be the most important moment in the history of the NFL. An overtime thriller punctuated by an Alan Ameche touchdown run helped transform the NFL in front of a live nationwide television audience. The greatest game ever played made names like Unitas, Berry, and Moore famous outside of the city of Baltimore and helped transform America’s cultural landscape. Just months after celebrating it’s 50th anniversary, the 1958 Championship game is what all other Baltimore sports moments are compared to.
2. 2131 Cal Ripken Jr.
For two nights in early September the eyes of major league baseball were fixed on Baltimore, as Cal Ripken Jr. broke one of the most hallowed records in baseball history. Thought to never be broken, Ripken surpassed Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games record of 2130. With President Clinton in attendance, Ripken took a lap around Camden Yards shaking and slapping the hands of Oriole fans who were the lucky ones able to get tickets. If the celebration were not enough, Cal hit a homerun on both nights, 2130 and 2131, to add more fireworks to a celebration filled with them.
3. Michael Phelps races for 8 Golds
Halfway around the globe, Michael Phelps made Olympic history. The 23 year old swimmer from the North Baltimore Aquatic Club won a record 8 gold medals and made Baltimore proud all the way from Beijing. With his races appearing live in prime time within the US, Phelps was watched on TV screens around the country including Times Square and M&T Bank Stadium. For a few days in August, Michael Phelps made everybody from Baltimore proud that the hometown hero had traveled to China and became the most decorated Olympian ever.
4. The Big Orange Machine
The Big Red Machine and the Orioles met in the 1970 World Series marking the Orioles second strait appearance in the fall classic. The Orioles won the first game 4-3, the second 6-5 and the third 9-3 before dropping game four. The Orioles rebounded however, and won game five 9-3 clinching the series. Brooks Robinson was named the MVP after batting .429 and playing his typical legendary defense at the hot corner.
5. Ravens Win Superbowl
Only several seasons after football returned to Baltimore, the 2000 Baltimore Ravens rode a vaunted defense to their first ever Superbowl Championship. With strong personalities such as coach Brian Billick and players Ray Lewis and Shannon Sharpe, the Ravens became the first wild card team to win the Superbowl. The 34-7 dismantling of the New York Giants, ended a season where the defense carried the offense through a entire month without scoring a touchdown. Superbowl MVP Ray Lewis helped lead the Ravens bring Baltimore its first major sports championship since the ’83 World Series.
6. Colts Sneak Out of Baltimore
We never said the top ten moments were all good. Under the cover of night and a late March snow, the Baltimore Colts left in moving vans on their way to Indianapolis. Following many reassurances by ownership that the Colts were not leaving Baltimore, the team left town and took the hearts of football fans with them. Even today, 25 years later, the Colts hold a special place in a Baltimore sports fans heart. For some it’s the feeling of hatred and betrayal, for others, it’s the feeling of remorse that a team that once had Johnny Unitas, Lenny Moore and Art Donovan, left in the Mayflower moving trucks.
7. Ravens Come to Baltimore, 1996 Draft
Perhaps three of the most important months in Baltimore football history took place in 1996. In February, Art Modell and the NFL agreed in principle to a move that would bring the Browns to Baltimore. Then in April, the Ravens selected two future members of the Hall of Fame in the first round. With the franchises first ever pick they picked UCLA offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden, then later in the first round they selected an undersized linebacker from Miami, Ray Lewis. Ogden went on to become arguably the greatest left tackle in the history of the NFL and Lewis became a dominant defensive player and the vocal leader the moment he stepped onto the field his rookie season.
8. 1966 World Series
The premier dynasty of the 1960’s, the Los Angelas Dodgers entered the World Series against the Orioles armed with twenty seven win pitcher Sandy Koufax. After winning game one the Orioles sent young Jim Palmer to the mound to face the Dodgers ace. It was a scoreless pitching duel until the fifth inning when the Orioles began to break it open. Triple crown winner Frank Robinson and Boog Powell led an Orioles rally which would force Koufax out of the game on the way to a 6-0 O’s win. The Orioles would go on to sweep the Dodgers convincingly ending a World Series they entered as dramatic underdogs.
9. 2000 Divisional Playoff game
Until earlier in the season, the Titans had never lost in what was then called, the Adelphia Coliseum. It was the Ravens who knocked off the Titans in the regular season and then returned to Nashville for the AFC Divisional round and showed that the first win was no accident. Anthony Mitchell returned a block FG attempt for a touchdown, then Ray Lewis ripped the ball away from Eddie George to permanently silence the Titans fans. This game many fans credit as being the moment that they realized the Ravens had a chance at Superbowl glory.
10. Orioles “I-95” World Series
Names such as Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt, Joe Morgan, Cal Ripken Jr., and Eddie Murry headlined the 1983 World Series between the Phillies and the Orioles. The Phillies took game one as Joe Morgan became the second oldest man to hit a home run in the World Series, giving the Fightin’ Phils a 1-0 series lead. The Orioles would respond to win games 2,3,4 and 5 clinching the World Series with a 5-0 victory. Cal Ripken caught the final out while catcher Rick Dempsey was named series MVP after a home run and two double performance.