Matthew Taylor: O’s walk-off against Mariners extends streak that began in 1954

The Orioles earned their first walk-off win of the 2011 season Tuesday night with a two-run rally in the bottom of the 13th inning against the Mariners. The victory keeps alive a streak that has been in existence as long as the team itself. The Orioles have had a least one walk-off win every year since the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954. They don’t call it Orioles Magic for nothing.

Seattle was among the Orioles’ walk-off victims last year, as well, thanks to Adam Jones’ memorable two-out bunt single in the 11th inning on Aug. 16. The O’s had 12 walk-off wins in 2010, which tied the 1977 team for the third-largest total in team history. The Birds’ first walk-off win last year came April 30 against the Red Sox when Miguel Tejada hit a game-winning single in the 10th inning. Two days later, again versus Boston, the O’s recorded a walk-off win on a 10th-inning double by Ty Wiggington.

The most walk-off wins the Orioles have had in one season is 14. It has happened twice - in 1970 and again in 1974. Meanwhile, the O’s posted 13 walk-off wins in both 1969 and 1990.

The Orioles’ first-ever walk-off win occurred May 9, 1954. Centerfielder Gil Coan gave the O’s a 2-1 victory over the Indians with a 10th-inning home run. Coan had 39 career homers in 11 seasons. Bob Turley pitched all 10 innings to earn the win for Baltimore.

The closest the Orioles have come to ending their streak of consecutive seasons with a walk-off win was in 2005 when they had just one. But it was a good one. On June 28, Brian Roberts hit a home run on Mike Stanton’s first offering in the 10th inning to give Baltimore a 5-4 victory over the Yankees.

Back to the aforementioned Orioles Magic. By most accounts, the concept originated during the 1979 season. Specifically, Orioles Magic is said to have taken flight on June 22, 1979, when the Orioles scored three ninth-inning runs at Memorial Stadium to defeat the Detroit Tigers 6-5. The final two runs came on a Doug DeCinces homer. In their very next game, the Orioles again scored three runs in the ninth inning. Eddie Murray played the hero role this time with a three-run homer. The Orioles had nine walk-off wins in 1979.

Mariners fans should therefore take heart after last night’s extra-innings loss. This type of thing happens every year in Baltimore.

Most Orioles walk-off wins in a season:

1970 - 14
1974 - 14
1969 - 13
1990 - 13
1977 - 12
2010 - 12
1960 - 10
1966 - 10

Matthew Taylor blogs about the Orioles at Roar from 34. His ruminations about the Birds will appear this week as part of’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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