Here’s to you, Baltimore. The city that sits atop the Chesapeake Bay is known for many things, from the diverse art scene to the scenic harbor to their internationally celebrated crab cakes. It’s also a fantastic sports city, with professional, college, and local leagues making for a time-honored tradition in Baltimorians' lives.
Just look at Wild Bill Hagy, a Baltimore fan who became a local legend in the 70s and 80s. He’s credited with leading the O-R-I-O-L-E-S cheers at Memorial Stadium, and many associate his magic spirit with multiple Orioles comebacks. That’s just how it is in Baltimore. Fans are passionate, loyal, and willing to get wild.
There are many distinct eras in Baltimore’s sporting history. Today, the city has two professional teams — the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens and the MLB’s Baltimore Orioles.
The latter is its oldest. The current Orioles franchise threw its first pitch in 1954, but there have been baseball teams called the Orioles in Baltimore dating back to 1882. The Orioles of the American League in 1902 actually moved to New York and became the Yankees.
The Ravens are a more recent addition, coming to the city in 1992 from Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell. There’s a much longer story to tell there, but suffice it to say the flock has adjusted well in Baltimore. The team has two Super Bowl rings, winning in 2000 and 2012, and is a mainstay in playoff football.
The city is also known for horse racing, with the annual Preakness Stakes drawing massive crowds. It is the second jewel in the triple crown.
Looking further back, you can see the ebbs and flows of sports in Baltimore. In the 70s, you had the Baltimore Blades, a financially troubled AHL hockey team. Around the same time, the Baltimore Claws of the ABA played only three exhibition games before the franchise folded.
The Baltimore Skipjacks enjoyed more success during their eleven-year run in the AHL, even reaching the Calder Cup one year. Today, there aren’t any plans to bring back pro hockey or basketball teams to the city, but you never know.
If you’re lucky enough to call the ‘four one oh” home, then don’t forget to root for the home teams. That’s one special, historic city you’ve got there.