Monday, June 10, 2019

Touring Oriole Park Part I

Being fans and living sort of nearby, we decided to take the tour of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. We walked in from the north, seeing the plaza by Gate H. The ball park was first used in the 1992 season, replacing the previous stadium.

Walking in to the stadium

On the tour, we learned that Camden Yards is named after the railroad station located in the area, which is no longer extant. The train station building is still standing and is the location of the Camden Station for MARC trains.

Camden Yards station!

The Gate H plaza has retired numbers from famous Baltimore Orioles players. My youngest posed in front of number five, third baseman Brooks Robinson's number. He played baseball for 23 years, all of them for the Orioles. He has the record for the longest time playing with one team and was a great baseman, earning the nicknames "the Human Vacuum Cleaner" and "Mr. Hoover." He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.

By the Robinson retired number

Also in the plaza is a statue to George Herman "Babe" Ruth, Jr. The Babe was a member of the Orioles briefly and was born only three blocks from the current stadium. So he is a hometown hero, even if most of his heroics were for the New York Yankees.

Babe Ruth statue

Another view of the statue

An interesting bit of trivia about the statue: The sculptor was not a baseball fan and asked for props to be sent to her for sculpting the statue. Someone sent her a right-handed glove, though the Babe was a lefty. By the time the error was caught, fixing it would have doubled the cost of the statue. So the wrong glove remained.

Gate H leads into Eutaw Street, which is only for pedestrians and, during game time, for attendees of the game.

Pedestrian part of Eutaw Street

During the game, fans need to be careful because the street is just outside the outfield and home runs have been known to land there.

Warning for the unwary 

Several spots are marked where home runs landed!

Finding a spot

Spots all over

You will notice in the above picture one spot is not on the ground but on the wall of the warehouse building on the other side of the street.

The longest home run!

That ball wasn't hit during a game but during the home run derby during the All Star celebration in 1993. Ken Griffey, Jr., hit the ball 465 feet.


The street has lots of vendors, including a barbecue joint named after an Orioles player, Boog Powell.

Vintage car for Boog's BBQ

The view of the field is quite nice from the Eutaw Street plaza.

Looking into the stadium

Our tour took us inside where we saw the bullpen where pitchers warm up.


They also have an area of extra grass in case the field gets torn up and needs patching. Since we visited in April, they only used a small section of the "backup" grass.

Backup grass

Just above the backup grass is the batter's eye--a section of the wall painted not-white so that batters can see the pitcher and the ball thrown without any distractions (especially whites that will blend with the ball) in the background.

Batter's eye

Just beyond the bullpen is a picnic area with statues of famous Orioles (many of whom had numbers in the other plaza). One statue is of Jim Palmer, a right-handed pitcher who played nineteen years for the Orioles and was inducted into the National Hall of Fame in 1990.

Jim Palmer statue

Frank Robinson was an outfielder for the Orioles who won MVP awards in both the National League (for the Cincinnati Reds in 1961) and the American League (for the Orioles in 1966). He was part of the Orioles for their first two World Series wins (1966 and 1970) and went on to be the first African-American manager of a major league team. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982.

Frank Robinson statue

Cal Ripken, Jr., played for the Orioles from 1981 to 2001, having a 2,632-consecutive-games-played streak that beat Lou Gehrig's 2,130 run. He was a shortstop and third baseman with many defensive records. He joined the Hall of Fame in 2007.

Cal Ripken, Jr., statue

We went inside the stadium to the club level. This level has lots of the pictures and memorabilia from the team, along with the high-price suites. Our first stop was the Orioles Hall of Fame, which includes broadcasters, managers, and one fan. "Wild Bill" Hagy was a local cab driver who would get the fans excited in the stands by leading an "O-R-I-O-L-E-S" chant in the previous stadium.

The Team's Hall of Fame

The club level has lots of bars and casual seating for fans.

Relaxing, with a small view of the game on that little TV

There's a locker from the previous stadium that has memorabilia from the pre-1992 era.

Locker of cool stuff

We went into one of the suites, which was nice but probably never in our price range.

View from the suite

The club-level halls have all sorts of items, including some oversized signatures and a spot for all the Sports Illustrated covers that feature Orioles players.


Cal Ripken covers

Another case has two of the World Series trophies that the team won (they won three times--1966, 1970, and 1983).

World Series Trophies


Also on display is one of Brooks Robinson's sixteen Golden Glove awards. I guess with that many, it's easy to let one go on display! The tour guide told us that it is an actual glove spray-painted gold.

Brooks Robinson Golden Glove award

Other displays show MVP awards and Cy Young awards won by Orioles players over the years.

MVP awards

Cy Young awards

Retired jerseys are on display along with a banner showing all the post-season accomplishments of the team. Hopefully that will be updated soon, but probably not this year.

Retired jerseys

Oriole accomplishments

Our tour continues in the next post!

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