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Thirty years on...


Mad Mark

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We have been quite fixated on the failures of last 10 seasons of Orioles baseball (and rightly so). I believe that fixation has caused us to miss the true extent of the problem, namely that the farm system has been rotting from below for closer to 30 years.

The Orioles drafted Cal Ripken in the second round of the 1978 amateur draft. This summer will mark the 30th anniversary of that signing. I believe it’s a baseball axiom that farm system should produce one quality, major-league ready player each season. Since Cal arrived in 1981, that would mean that the Orioles farm system should have produced, lets say, 26 quality position players through today. A very cursory reckoning on my part can come up with maybe six names.

That’s a pretty colossal failure, and a damning indictment of four owners, countless front office personnel, and thousands of players.

It’s also an indication of how much work Andy MacPhail has in front of him. Not only does he have to break the losing tradition this team has forged at the major league level, he has to completely rebuild the foundation of the organization at the same time. It’s like pouring a new foundation for your home—while you’re living in it!

I hope he’s the right man for the job. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m sure not getting any younger…

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We had a thread last week touch on this, though the argument's still valid and open for discussion. I don't remember who started it. Basically, the OP asserted that the O's downfall began in the early 1980's with reduced focus on the farm system (under the two owners prior to Angelos), a problem that has persisted essentially up until last year (though its effects will be felt for a few years still). It's a good thread, though I don't have the time to find it right now. Basically, I think you're right.

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Excellent point. Even in our mid-90s renaissance, we were short on homegrown talent. (We had the highest payroll in baseball, however.)

The problems with the O's developing major league ready talent indeed stretches back 30 years. Maybe we've produced 10 players in that time who could be considered above-average hitters or pitchers over, say, a five year stretch? Whatever the count is, it's pretty abysmal.

Maybe because we fans are more savvy and able to communicate in ways we weren't able to in say, the mid-80s, this seems like a recent problem. But it runs very deep. Here's hoping we've turned over a new leaf.

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We had a thread last week touch on this, though the argument's still valid and open for discussion. I don't remember who started it. Basically, the OP asserted that the O's downfall began in the early 1980's with reduced focus on the farm system (under the two owners prior to Angelos), a problem that has persisted essentially up until last year (though its effects will be felt for a few years still). It's a good thread, though I don't have the time to find it right now. Basically, I think you're right.

I missed that one. The reason I started this one was that I had made this point in NMS's thread about what it would take to make us forget the last 10 years, and it kind of got rolled past.

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Excellent point. Even in our mid-90s renaissance, we were short on homegrown talent. (We had the highest payroll in baseball, however.)

The problems with the O's developing major league ready talent indeed stretches back 30 years. Maybe we've produced 10 players in that time who could be considered above-average hitters or pitchers over, say, a five year stretch? Whatever the count is, it's pretty abysmal.

Maybe because we fans are more savvy and able to communicate in ways we weren't able to in say, the mid-80s, this seems like a recent problem. But it runs very deep. Here's hoping we've turned over a new leaf.

Ah, the Orioles' 1998 payroll...every Yankee$ fans' defense against the charge that they buy their champion$hips...

That was the only season the Orioles payroll was #1 in baseball, IIRC--though we were top 10 during most of the mid-90s--but the rest of your point is valid.

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We have been quite fixated on the failures of last 10 seasons of Orioles baseball (and rightly so). I believe that fixation has caused us to miss the true extent of the problem, namely that the farm system has been rotting from below for closer to 30 years.

The Orioles drafted Cal Ripken in the second round of the 1978 amateur draft. This summer will mark the 30th anniversary of that signing. I believe it’s a baseball axiom that farm system should produce one quality, major-league ready player each season. Since Cal arrived in 1981, that would mean that the Orioles farm system should have produced, lets say, 26 quality position players through today. A very cursory reckoning on my part can come up with maybe six names.

That’s a pretty colossal failure, and a damning indictment of four owners, countless front office personnel, and thousands of players.

It’s also an indication of how much work Andy MacPhail has in front of him. Not only does he have to break the losing tradition this team has forged at the major league level, he has to completely rebuild the foundation of the organization at the same time. It’s like pouring a new foundation for your home—while you’re living in it!

I hope he’s the right man for the job. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m sure not getting any younger

I'm heading south next week and and going past St. Augustine and plan to see if there's any chance to reverse the process. ;)

I'm interested in seeing how AMac starts acquiring young position players to the fold. He has a bunch of pitching and implied in his Bedard news conference that he's going to flip some for fielders. I may be old (but not yet mold) but I am excited. Unfortunately, the game plays out so slow - er - deliberately that I hope I'm here to see the final results.

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I still don't see how people can say "30 years" when the O's made the WS in '79 and then won it in '83. They were also in the playoffs in 1980. Any slide would have to start with the first losing season which would have been 1986. Screw what was going on in the MiL, because if a team can keep winning at the MLB level with a poor MiL system, I'll take it.

Also, the run from 1992 to 1997 wasn't that bad and resulted in a cumulative 494-410 record.

So yes, overall, the last 25 years have sucked, but there have been times when the team wasn't a disaster.

What sets the pre-1998 suckfest apart from the last ten years is the hope that at any given time, the team could become good again. They sucked in 1991 but were good in 1992. They sucked in 1995 but were good in 1996. These last 10 years have offered little hope, and it's almost as if the owner has purposefully run the team into the ground to benefit his own agenda.

Wait a minute, he did.

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I still don't see how people can say "30 years" when the O's made the WS in '79 and then won it in '83. They were also in the playoffs in 1980. Any slide would have to start with the first losing season which would have been 1986. Screw what was going on in the MiL, because if a team can keep winning at the MLB level with a poor MiL system, I'll take it.

Also, the run from 1992 to 1997 wasn't that bad and resulted in a cumulative 494-410 record.

So yes, overall, the last 25 years have sucked, but there have been times when the team wasn't a disaster.

Clap clap clap! I'm down with the new, improved NMS! :002_scool:

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I still don't see how people can say "30 years" when the O's made the WS in '79 and then won it in '83. They were also in the playoffs in 1980. Any slide would have to start with the first losing season which would have been 1986. Screw what was going on in the MiL, because if a team can keep winning at the MLB level with a poor MiL system, I'll take it.

Also, the run from 1992 to 1997 wasn't that bad and resulted in a cumulative 494-410 record.

So yes, overall, the last 25 years have sucked, but there have been times when the team wasn't a disaster.

No one is saying the team hasn't ever been good in the past 30 years - the point is that in the last 30 years the team stopped producing homegrown talent, even when it was winning.

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I agree with Mark. This losing has beena long time in the making. That said, the mid 90's we had top free agents WANTING to come to Baltimore. Then it all stopped. To me, the real moment that this franchise went from a place that players wanted to come, to a place where careers come to die, was when we allowed Mussina to walk away to the MFY! That was the day that will live in infamy to me.

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Ripken, Roberts, Finley, Mussina, Bod****er, Olsen, McDonald, Bedard, Benitez, and I'm running out of names.

Lesser names: Harris, Ray, Delucci, Towers, Maine, Hairston, Werth, Goodwin, Pickering, Dempsey's nephew, Cabrera, Bauer, Fontenot, Gutierrez, Alexander, Milacki, Billy Ripken, Sugar Bear?, Hammonds, Bigbie.

Anyone throw out a few more major leaguers who started with us since Ripken?

I hope there is more than this, because this a pathetic list.

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For as bad as the system was for the last 30 years, we've still managed to produce a HoF SS (Ripken), two ace pitchers (Mussina, Bedard), another solid SP (Bod****er), a closer (Olson) an AS 2B (Roberts) and a slew of decent players (Finley, Harnisch, McDonald, Hammonds, Segui, Rhodes, Benitez, Markakis)

Granted, that's 14 players in a 30 year span.

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Ripken, Roberts, Finley, Mussina, Bod****er, Olsen, McDonald, Bedard, Benitez, and I'm running out of names.

Lesser names: Harris, Ray, Delucci, Towers, Maine, Hairston, Werth, Goodwin, Pickering, Dempsey's nephew, Cabrera, Bauer, Fontenot, Gutierrez, Alexander, Milacki, Billy Ripken, Sugar Bear?, Hammonds, Bigbie.

Anyone throw out a few more major leaguers who started with us since Ripken?

I hope there is more than this, because this a pathetic list.

Schilling has had a pretty good career. ;)

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Schilling has had a pretty good career. ;)

Schilling began his professional career as a prospect in the Boston farm system, but was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in 1988 for Mike Bodd icker. His major league debut was with the Orioles (1988-1990). He probably does not qualify as an Oriole product, imho.

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