Sure the Orioles lost two fan-favorites in one week. Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis were vital parts of the teams success in 2014. Nelson Cruz signing elsewhere shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone in Baltimore because we all knew the O’s weren’t going to give a 34 year old slugger a 4-year deal. They may have offered 3 but the last time I checked 4 is more than 3. The only reason he would have stayed is if he just loved the team and manager Buck Showalter that much… Apparently he didn’t. Nick Markakis has been in the Orioles organization since 2006. He was one of the guys you thought about when Buck said “I like OUR guys.” He and Adam Jones are THE guys that have been here and leaders on the team. We can go on and on about what a loss it is and take “the world is coming to an end” mentality BUT instead lets look at the Top 5 players that left Baltimore, either via trade or free agency… an we still survived.
Dave McNally (1962–1974)
Dave McNally was traded to the Montreal Expos along with Rich Coggins, Bill Kirkpatrick for Ken Singleton and Mike Torres. McNally was a 32-year old veteran left-handed pitcher at the time of the trade. From 1968-1971, he won 20 or more games each season helping the O’s win 3-consecutive pennants from ’60 to ’71. McNally reportedly asked to be traded after 12 seasons with the Orioles. He had 181 career victories with the franchise and held almost every record imaginable when he left.
Boog Powell (1961–1974)
The Orioles first baseman is now known as the face of ballpark food at Camden Yards. Walk down Eutaw Street and try not to get hungry. Sometimes you can even catch the man himself walking across from the warehouse shaking hands with people as they greet him, “Hey, Boog” like old friends do. He’s not just loved for the BBQ, people remember the Glory Days of the Orioles in the late 60s with two World Series championships. Boog won the AL MVP award in 1970. Boog was never a fast guy and age wasn’t helping matters. Before the 1975 season, he was traded to Cleveland with Don Hood for Dave Duncan and a minor leaguer.
Frank Robinson (1966–1971)
Before coming to the Baltimore Orioles in 1966, Frank played for the Cincinnati Reds (1956–1965). Robinson hit 49 home runs, won the Triple Crown and lead the Baltimore Orioles to a World Series Championship that same year against the defending champs, the LA Dodgers. Frank and the Orioles won three consecutive pennants between 1969 and 1971 and another World Series in 1970 (against his former team, Cincinnati). After the 1971 season, Frank was traded to the LA Dodgers and played 5 more seasons with the Dodgers, Angels, and Indians (player-coach in 1975).
Eddie Murray (1977–1988, 1996)
Eddie was selected in the third round of the 1973 amateur draft by the Baltimore Orioles but got his debut in 1977 and went on to win Rookie of the Year honors. For 10 years, Eddie averaged almost 30 home runs a season with almost 100 RBIs and was a perennial All-Star. Eddie helped the O’s to the World Series in 1979 and 1983, winning it all in ’83. Eddie was a fan-favorite and good pal with Cal Ripken Jr. during his time in Baltimore. Murray was traded on December 4, 1988 to the LA Dodgers for Juan Bell, Brian Holton, and Ken Howell.
Mike Mussina (1992-2000)
Mike Mussina figured in the list of the top players in baseball and after his performance in the 1997 ALDS vs. Seattle and Randy Johnson, nobody could argue that. He could have gone down in history as one of the greatest pitchers in Orioles history along side Jim Palmer… but the Orioles weren’t winning any pennants and the Yankees had the pieces and the checkbook to make him happy. Mussina left in 2000 via free-agency to chase the almighty dollar and the rings to New York to play in pinstripes. The $88.5 million, six-year deal was apparently too steep for Peter Angelos. By today’s standards, that’s an amazing bargain. The Orioles stunk after the 1997 season so I guess he got out just in time but he never did get that ring, not even in New York.