Coming off their first playoff berth in 13 years, the Baltimore Orioles had high hopes entering the 1997 season and didn’t disappoint.

The Birds won the AL East with a 98-64 record, two game ahead of the defending World Series champion Yankees. Rafael Palmiero belted 38 home runs, while Jimmy Key, Scott Erickson and Mike Mussina paced a solid pitching rotation. Baltimore dispatched Seattle in the divisional playoffs but fell to Cleveland in six games in the ALCS. It was Cal Ripken, Jr.’s last postseason appearance and the Orioles wouldn’t post a winning record for another 15 years.

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