Rivalry Renewed: The Baltimore Orioles Vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

John Means

orioles vs pirates

The rivalry between the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates in Major League Baseball (MLB) spans decades, evoking a sense of nostalgia and passion among fans.

With both teams boasting storied histories, iconic players, and championship triumphs, their encounters on the diamond have been marked by fierce competition and memorable moments.

However, recent years have seen both franchises facing challenges, leading to rebuilding efforts and a focus on developing young talent.

As we delve into their past encounters and examine their current outlook, it becomes clear that the Orioles vs.

Pirates rivalry remains an enduring and captivating aspect of the MLB landscape, poised for future excitement and resurgence.

History: Baltimore Orioles Vs Pittsburgh Pirates

The Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates have distinct histories as Major League Baseball (MLB) franchises, each with its own set of accomplishments, challenges, and defining moments.

Let’s compare the histories of these two teams

Founding and Early Years

  • Baltimore Orioles: The Baltimore Orioles franchise has a rich history that dates back to 1901 when it was founded as one of the charter members of the American League (AL).
    The team was based in Milwaukee and then St. Louis before eventually moving to Baltimore in 1954.
    The team’s name pays homage to the rich baseball history of Baltimore, which was once home to a successful Minor League team called the Baltimore Orioles in the late 1800s.

  • Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pittsburgh Pirates were founded in 1881 as one of the National League’s original members.
    The team has one of the oldest and most continuous histories in professional baseball and is named after the city’s association with pirates and its location near three rivers.

World Series

  • Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles have won three World Series championships. They claimed their first title in 1966, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers.
    Their second and third titles came in 1970 and 1983, defeating the Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies, respectively.

  • Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates have a more illustrious World Series history, capturing five championships. They won their first title in 1909, defeating the Detroit Tigers.
    Subsequent victories came in 1925, 1960, 1971, and 1979, defeating the Washington Senators, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, and the Baltimore Orioles again, respectively.

Playoff Appearances

  • Baltimore Orioles: The Orioles have made several playoff appearances, with their most successful period being the late 1960s through the 1970s and early 1980s.
    In addition to their World Series victories, they reached the American League Championship Series (ALCS) multiple times during that era.

  • Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates have had their share of playoff success, particularly during the 1970s when they were a dominant force in baseball.
    They appeared in multiple NLCS and also made postseason appearances in the early 1990s and mid-2010s.

Fanbase: Baltimore Orioles Vs Pittsburgh Pirates

The Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates both have passionate and dedicated fan bases, each with its own unique characteristics and traditions.

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles’ fan base is known as “Birdland.” Orioles fans are known for their unwavering loyalty and love for their team, despite the challenges the franchise has faced in recent years.

Baltimore has a rich baseball history, and the team holds a special place in the hearts of its fans. Camden Yards, the Orioles’ home stadium, is often praised for its nostalgic charm and is considered one of the most beautiful ballparks in MLB.

One of the most significant factors that bind Orioles fans together is the team’s history and iconic players.

Legends like Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, and Frank Robinson have left a lasting impact on the franchise and continue to be beloved by the fan base.

Orioles fans also take pride in their distinctive team colors of orange and black.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates’ fan base is known as the “Bucco Nation.” Pirates fans are deeply passionate and loyal, even during periods when the team faces challenges.

The team’s long history, dating back to the late 19th century, has cultivated a strong sense of tradition and community among the fan base.

Pirates fans take immense pride in the team’s successes, especially the five World Series championships they have won.

The “We Are Family” Pirates, who won the 1979 World Series, hold a special place in the hearts of the Bucco Nation.

The team’s iconic black and gold colors are emblematic of Pittsburgh sports, and Pirates fans proudly display their team spirit with apparel and accessories in these colors.

Iconic Moments: Baltimore Orioles Vs Pittsburgh Pirates Rivalry

The rivalry between the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates has produced several iconic moments throughout their encounters on the baseball field.

While the two teams belong to different leagues (Orioles in the American League and Pirates in the National League), they have faced each other in various interleague matchups and significant games over the years.

Here are some of the memorable moments from their rivalry

1971 World Series

The pinnacle of their rivalry came in the 1971 World Series when the Orioles and Pirates faced off for baseball’s ultimate prize. The series was a hard-fought battle, and the Pirates emerged victorious in a thrilling seven-game showdown.

The series featured outstanding performances from legendary players like Roberto Clemente, Brooks Robinson, and Frank Robinson.

Cal Ripken Jr. Hits for the Cycle (1984)

On July 1, 1984, during an interleague matchup between the Orioles and Pirates, Cal Ripken Jr. achieved an extraordinary feat by hitting for the cycle.

Ripken became the first player in Orioles history to accomplish this rare feat, solidifying his place as one of the game’s greats.

Roberto Clemente’s Last Game (1972)

In a bittersweet moment, Roberto Clemente, one of the most iconic Pirates players, played his final regular-season game against the Orioles on September 30, 1972.

Tragically, this would be his last regular-season appearance before his untimely death in a plane crash during a humanitarian mission.

1979 World Series

The Pirates’ “We Are Family” team captured their most recent World Series title in 1979 by defeating the Orioles in a memorable seven-game series.

Willie Stargell and the Pirates showcased their power and resilience, with Stargell earning the World Series MVP award.

2017 Interleague Slugfest

On May 19, 2017, during an interleague matchup between the Orioles and Pirates, the teams engaged in an offensive showcase.

The game ended in a 9-6 victory for the Pirates, but both teams combined to hit seven home runs, thrilling fans with a display of power hitting.

Andrew Mccutchen’s Walk-off Home Run (2009)

In a memorable game on June 3, 2009, Pirates star Andrew McCutchen provided a thrilling finish with a walk-off home run in the 12th inning, securing a 4-3 victory over the Orioles.

Future Outlook: Baltimore Orioles Vs Pittsburgh Pirates

Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles have made significant strides in their rebuilding process, with promising young players like Cedric Mullins, Ryan Mountcastle, and Adley Rutschman showing great potential.

These players are expected to be the core of the Orioles’ lineup for years to come. Additionally, the emergence of pitchers like John Means, Grayson Rodriguez, and DL Hall offers hope for a formidable rotation.

However, the Orioles still face challenges. Their bullpen and defense need improvement, and they play in the highly competitive American League East division, featuring strong teams like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Tampa Bay Rays.

To compete with their division rivals, the Orioles will need to be strategic in their acquisitions through free agency and trades, addressing areas of weakness while nurturing their young talent.

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Pirates, too, have been investing in their future by assembling a group of talented prospects. Players like Ke’Bryan Hayes, Bryan Reynolds, and Henry Davis offer hope for a strong offensive core, while pitchers Mitch Keller, Quinn Priester, and Roansy Contreras hold promise for the rotation.

However, the Pirates face similar challenges to the Orioles. Their offense and depth require improvement, and the National League Central division features tough competitors like the Milwaukee Brewers, St.

Louis Cardinals, and Cincinnati Reds. To be competitive in the division, the Pirates will need to spend more on payroll to complement their young core with experienced veterans.

Recent Performance: Baltimore Orioles Vs Pittsburgh Pirates

The Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates faced each other in a three-game interleague series during the 2023 MLB season. 

Here is a summary of the results and highlights from each game

Game 1: Orioles 6, Pirates 4

  • The Orioles secured a victory in the first game of the series, thanks to a four-run rally in the eighth inning.

  • Trey Mancini’s go-ahead two-run double was a crucial moment in the game, followed by an RBI single by Ryan Mountcastle and a sacrifice fly by Austin Hays.

  • The Pirates had taken a 4-2 lead in the seventh inning on a two-run homer by Ke’Bryan Hayes, but their bullpen faltered, leading to their defeat.

  • John Means earned the win for the Orioles, delivering an impressive performance by pitching seven innings and striking out eight.

  • Richard Rodriguez took the loss for the Pirates, giving up four runs in just two-thirds of an inning.

Game 2: Pirates 7, Orioles 3

  • The Pirates bounced back in the second game, starting strong with a five-run first inning.

  • Bryan Reynolds contributed significantly to the Pirates’ offensive surge with a three-run homer, and Colin Moran added a two-run double.

  • Orioles starter Matt Harvey struggled, lasting only one-third of an inning before being replaced.

  • Pirates pitcher Mitch Keller pitched six solid innings, surrendering three runs and striking out six.

  • The Orioles scored their runs on solo homers by Cedric Mullins, Anthony Santander, and Ramon Urias, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Pirates’ early lead.

Game 3: Orioles 5, Pirates 2

  • The Orioles clinched the series with a 5-2 victory in the finale.

  • Cedric Mullins continued his impressive performance with his second homer of the series, a two-run shot in the third inning that helped give the Orioles a 3-0 lead.

  • Ryan Mountcastle contributed to the Orioles’ offense with a solo homer and an RBI single.

  • Orioles pitcher Jorge Lopez had a standout performance, pitching five scoreless innings, allowing only two hits, and striking out seven.

  • The Pirates scored their runs in the eighth inning on an RBI double by Jacob Stallings and an RBI groundout by Kevin Newman, but their efforts fell short.

Baltimore Orioles Vs Pittsburgh Pirates Rivalry

1971Oct 6-17Memorial StadiumPittsburgh PiratesPirates won 4-3 (World Series)
1984Jul 1Three Rivers StadiumBaltimore OriolesOrioles won 6-3
1972Sep 30Memorial StadiumPittsburgh PiratesPirates won 5-0 (Roberto Clemente’s last regular-season game)
1979Oct 10-17Memorial Stadium/PNC ParkPittsburgh PiratesPirates won 4-3 (World Series)
2017May 19PNC ParkPittsburgh PiratesPirates won 9-6 (interleague slugfest)
2009Jun 3Oriole Park at Camden YardsPittsburgh PiratesPirates won 4-3 (Andrew McCutchen’s walk-off HR)


When did the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates first face each other in a game?

The Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates first faced each other in a regular-season game on June 23, 1973.

How many World Series titles have the Orioles and Pirates won combined?

The Orioles have won three World Series titles (1966, 1970, and 1983), while the Pirates have won five World Series titles (1909, 1925, 1960, 1971, and 1979), totaling eight championships between both teams.

Who are some of the iconic players associated with the Orioles and Pirates rivalry?

For the Orioles, iconic players include Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, and Frank Robinson. For the Pirates, legends like Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, and Honus Wagner have left a lasting impact on the franchise.

What is the current overall head-to-head record between the Orioles and Pirates in regular-season games?

The Orioles and Pirates have faced each other in regular-season games a total of 54 times. The overall head-to-head record was relatively balanced, with the Pirates holding a slight lead in the series.

Have the Orioles and Pirates ever met in the playoffs?

Yes, the Orioles and Pirates have met in the playoffs. The most notable encounter was in the 1971 World Series, where the Pirates emerged victorious in a thrilling seven-game series to claim the championship.

To Recap

The rivalry between the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates has a rich history filled with iconic moments, legendary players, and memorable matchups.

While both teams have faced challenges in recent years and embarked on rebuilding phases, their young talent and prospects offer hope for a brighter future.

The Orioles and Pirates must navigate tough divisions and make strategic moves to strengthen their rosters and compete with powerhouse opponents.

As fans eagerly anticipate their next face-off, it is clear that these storied franchises, with their dedicated fan bases and historic legacies, continue to add excitement and passion to the game of baseball.

The stage is set for a potential resurgence and return to greatness for both teams.

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John Means

John Means is a professional baseball player who has played in the major leagues for the Kansas City Royals and the Oakland Athletics. He made his major league debut with the Royals in 2009. He was traded to the Athletics in 2012. Baseball is his favorite sport. His passion about the game is evident in his play. Now he write blogs about baseball and other things whenever he has some free time. LinkedIn