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70 greatest Orioles vote: Who were the best Orioles from 1954 to 1963?

To mark the 70th anniversary of the Baltimore Orioles franchise, the Babe Ruth Birthplace Museum is creating an exhibit on the 70 greatest players, managers and coaches in Orioles history. Sun readers can help the museum choose who to feature through a series of online votes. Scroll down to vote for your favorite Orioles from 1954 to 1963. The poll closes 11:59 p.m. Tuesday. The next poll, for 1964 to 1973, opens Jan. 17.

Meet the 1954-63 nominees | Cast your votes

Meet the 1954-1963 nominees

Cal Abrams

Right fielder Cal Abrams led the Orioles in batting during their inaugural season with a .293 average in 1954. He stayed for just one more season, however. Despite a hot spring training, his performance in 1955 was hampered by an elbow injury sustained in a collision at home plate.

Jerry Adair

Jerry Adair plied his dependable glove at every infield position except first base for the Orioles from 1958 to 1966. While known for his defense, he could be a clutch hitter, and his bat often came alive against the New York Yankees. The Orioles acquiesced to Adair’s request to be traded early in the 1966 season after rookie Davey Johnson became the starting second baseman.

Steve Barber

A hard-throwing left-handed pitcher for the Orioles from 1960 to 1967, Steve Barber was the first 20-game winner in Orioles history in 1963. The two-time All-Star compiled a 95-75 record over 7 1/2 seasons with the Orioles, pitching 19 shutouts. Elbow problems that would short-circuit his career ended his 1966 season early, keeping him out of the 1966 World Series.

Jackie Brandt

Jackie Brandt played outfield for the Orioles from 1960 to 1965. His best season was 1961, when he was an All-Star and helped the Orioles win 95 games. Brandt was nicknamed “Moonman” for his on-field hijinks and offbeat personality. He would run the bases backward or slide into each base after hitting a home run.

Harry Brecheen

As the Orioles’ pitching coach from 1954 to 1967, Harry Brecheen mentored young pitchers who would lead the Orioles to their first World Series championship in 1966, become 20-game winners and join the Hall of Fame. He was nicknamed the “The Cat.”

Hal Brown

A mentor to younger players, right-hander Hal Brown pitched for the team from 1955 to 1962. Nicknamed “Skinny,” he went 12-5 for an Orioles club that finished second in the American League in 1960. Brown was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1991.

Chuck Diering

An outstanding defensive outfielder, Chuck Diering was the most valuable player on the inaugural Orioles team and stayed with Baltimore longer than any of his 1954 teammates, leaving in a trade amid a slump in 1956.

Chuck Estrada

Part of the “Kiddie Korps” starting rotation that nearly pitched the Orioles to an American League championship in 1960, right-handed rookie Chuck Estrada represented the Orioles at the All-Star games that year. He pitched for Baltimore for four more seasons, but, with elbow problems affecting his control, none were as good as his 18-11 inaugural campaign.

Jack Fisher

Another member of the four “Kiddie Korps” pitchers, none of whom were over 22, righty Jack Fisher had his best Orioles season in 1960, going 12-11 with three shutouts. In an Orioles career that spanned from 1959 to 1962, he was 30-39 with a 3.92 ERA.

Billy Gardner

Leadoff hitter Billy Gardner led the American League in doubles (36) and plate appearances (718) and led AL second baseman in fielding percentage in 1957, his best season and the first the Orioles didn’t post a losing record.

Jim Gentile

First baseman Jim Gentile’s best season was 1961, the middle year of three straight All-Star selections, when he hit 46 home runs and drove in 141 runs. Contracted to get an extra $5,000 if he led the league in RBIs, he received the bonus almost 50 years later after baseball researchers found that one of the 142 RBIs originally credited to Yankee outfielder Roger Maris that year had been erroneously awarded. Nicknamed “Diamond Jim,” Gentile was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1989.

Dick Hall

Dick Hall, a 6-foot-6 right-hander known for his herky-jerky, near-sidearm delivery and pinpoint control, pitched nine of his 16 seasons with the Orioles (from 1961 to 1966, then from 1969 to 1971), winning 65 games, saving 60 and compiling an ERA of 2.89. Hall helped the Orioles win World Series titles in 1966 and 1970 and American League pennants in 1969 and 1971.

Ron Hansen

Overcoming back injuries that limited him to a handful of games his first two seasons, shortstop Ron Hansen was the American League Rookie of the Year and an All-Star in 1960. Over 153 games, he had 22 home runs and 86 RBIs and was also a dependable defender. After a solid 1961 and poor 1962, Hansen was among the players dealt to the Chicago White Sox in the trade that brought shortstop Luis Aparicio to Baltimore for the 1963 season.

Connie Johnson

Connie Johnson, who was a teammate Satchel Paige’s on the Negro Leagues’ Kansas City Monarchs, was a 6-foot-4 right-handed pitcher for the Orioles from 1956 to 1958. Boasting a good fastball and curveball, Johnson led the Orioles in wins in 1957 with 14, three of them shutouts, and was their opening day starter in 1958.

Bob Nieman

Outfielder Bob Nieman batted .303 and drove in more than 250 runs in just under 1,000 plate appearances for the Orioles from 1956 to 1959. He sustained a hand injury and other ailments during his time in Baltimore and was one of the few major leaguers at the time to wear glasses.

Billy O’Dell

Left-handed pitcher Billy O’Dell was the Orioles’ first “bonus baby,” signed under a rule that required teams who gave amateurs big signing bonuses to send them straight to the major leagues. Nicknamed “Digger,” he was with Baltimore from 1954 to 1959, though military service kept him from playing in 1955 and most of 1956. An All-Star in 1958 and 1959, O’Dell recorded the save in the 1958 Mid-Summer Classic, the first to be held in Baltimore, by striking out nine straight batters, five of them future Hall of Famers.

Milt Pappas

Right-hander Milt Pappas was the winningest pitcher of the Orioles’ first decade, notching 81 wins from 1957 to 1963. He added 29 more wins over his final two years with the club. An All-Star in 1962 and 1965, Pappas was among the players sent to the Cincinnati Reds in the trade that brought Frank Robinson to Baltimore. Pappas was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1985.

Al Pilarcik

Left-handed hitting outfielder Al Pilarcik played for the Orioles from 1957 to 1960. Pushed by manager Paul Richards to become a successful bunter, Pilarcik led the American League in 1959 with 13 sacrifice bunts.

Paul Richards

Despite his lack of a pennant or Cooperstown plaque, Paul Richards left an indelible mark on baseball in Baltimore and the sport overall. A fiery leader and brilliant tactician, Richards was Baltimore’s manager from 1955 to 1961 and general manager from 1955 to 1958. He is credited with laying the groundwork for the modern-day Orioles and pioneering now-common tactics such as using on-base percentage to evaluate hitters and limiting the pitch counts of young hurlers. Richards joined the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1984.

Willie Tasby

A very good defensive outfielder, rookie Willie Tasby helped preserve a 1958 Hoyt Wilhelm no-hitter against the Yankees. With the Orioles for two-plus seasons, Tasby’s best in Baltimore was 1959 when he posted 13 home runs and 48 RBIs.

Gus Triandos

Gus Triandos was the Orioles’ first power hitter, slugging 142 home runs during his eight years with the club from 1955 through 1962. An All-Star from 1957 to 1959, Triandos caught the club’s first no-hitter, by Hoyt Wilhelm in 1958, and provided that game’s only run with a homer. A street in Timonium, Triandos Drive, is named in his honor.

Bob Turley

Right-hander Bob Turley pitched for the Orioles in their inaugural season of 1954. It was an All-Star season for him that began as the winning pitcher in the team’s home opener. Nicknamed “Bullet Bob” for the speed of his fastball, he was dealt to the Yankees in a 17-player trade.

Jerry Walker

Another member of the “Kiddie Korps” starting rotation and bonus baby, right-hander Jerry Walker pitched for the Orioles from 1957 to 1960. At age 20, he started the second 1959 All-Star Game. Later that season, he threw a 16-inning shutout against the Chicago White Sox.

Hoyt Wilhelm

Knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm, who spent most of his career as a reliever, played for the Orioles from 1958 to 1962. The right-hander’s no-hitter in 1958 was the first in modern Orioles history. Though already 39 when the Orioles traded him to the Chicago White Sox, Wilhelm played for another decade, becoming the first pitcher to surpass 1,000 games. He became the first relief pitcher inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985 and joined the Orioles Hall of Fame 15 years later.

Gene Woodling

A clutch-hitting outfielder, Gene Woodling had stints with the Orioles in 1955 and from 1958 to 1960. He batted .300 in 1959 when he was an All-Star and was voted Most Valuable Oriole. Woodling returned to the Orioles from 1963 to 1967 as a first base coach and was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1992.

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