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O's honor 50 all-time fan favorites
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09/26/2004 4:32 PM ET
O's honor 50 all-time fan favorites
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• 50 all-time favorite Orioles:  56K | 350K

BALTIMORE -- Nothing changed when Boog Powell's name was announced Sunday afternoon. Fans chanted "Boooooog" as if the clock had been turned back 30 years, drawing a big smile from the former Orioles first baseman as he walked onto the field. Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr., possibly the two most popular players in franchise history, received similar greetings when their names were announced minutes later.

Sometimes, the more things change, the more they stay the same. The Orioles capped their season-long 50th anniversary celebration Sunday by announcing the 50 All-Time Favorite Orioles -- and honoring the 30 players who came to town to take part in the ceremony held before the game with Detroit. Many of the franchise's most beloved players came back and were cheered just as if they were still playing.

The ceremony was a simple one, looking much like what the Orioles did in their final home game at Memorial Stadium in 1991, as the players walked out onto the field after their names were announced and made a type of semicircle in the infield between the mound and second base.

Most of the players picked had long been fan favorites and received all kinds of cheers when introduced at the ceremony. Ken Singleton, who played outfield and designated hitter for the Orioles from 1975-84 and now broadcasts for the New York Yankees, said playing in Baltimore was fun for a variety of reasons. That's why being named to this list meant so much to him.

"It was very nice of the fans to vote me in," Singleton said. "It's always an honor because the Orioles have had such a great franchise over the years. There's been so many great players here and to be considered one of the top 50 is certainly an honor."

The more current players and coaches probably got the biggest cheers. Players like Rafael Palmeiro and B.J. Surhoff, still on the Baltimore roster, got loud receptions. Elrod Hendricks and Rick Dempsey were popular as players, and their legends have grown more as coaches for the team. Cheers greeted them as they walked on the orange carpet that led them from the dugout to the infield.

50 All-Time Favorite Orioles
Jerry Adair 2B
Roberto Alomar 2B
Brady Anderson OF
Luis Aparicio SS
Harold Baines DH
Jeff Ballard P
Steve Barber P
Don Baylor OF
Mark Belanger SS
Paul Blair OF
Mike Boddicker P
Mike Bordick SS
Don Buford OF
Al Bumbry OF
Jeff Conine 1B
Mike Cuellar P
Rich Dauer 2B
Tommy Davis DH
Doug DeCinces 3B
Rick Dempsey C
Doug DeCinces 3B
Mike Devereaux OF
Scott Erickson P
Andy Etchebarren, C C
Mike Flanagan P
Jim Gentile 1B
Bobby Grich 2B
Elrod Hendricks C
Chris Hoiles C
Reggie Jackson OF
Davey Johnson 2B
Dennis Martinez P
Tippy Martinez P
Scott McGregor P
Dave McNally P
Eddie Murray 1B
Mike Mussina P
Gregg Olson P
Jesse Orosco P
Rafael Palmeiro 1B
Jim Palmer P
Boog Powell 1B
Bill Ripken 2B
Cal Ripken, Jr. SS
Brooks Robinson 3B
Frank Robinson OF
Ken Singleton OF
B.J. Surhoff OF
Mickey Tettleton C
Gus Triandos C
Hoyt Wilhelm P

Some players who didn't play in Baltimore as long got plenty of cheers. Reggie Jackson, who wouldn't even report to the Orioles for a month when traded at the start of the 1976 season and then left for free agency when the year ended, earned a surprising ovation. Jeff Ballard pitched here from 1987-91 and Tommy Davis was the team's first full-time designated hitter (1972-75) and both found nice cheers waiting.

Others didn't get the nicest reactions. Long-time Oriole pitcher Mike Mussina, who bolted after the 2000 season to go to the Yankees, drew the largest amount of boos. There were some cheers, but the taste of Mussina's free-agent decision obviously remains. Pitcher Scott Erickson also received some boos.

But the boos were few and far between as the fans loved seeing their old heroes, a bit older, a little grayer, but most still looking as if they could put on a uniform and play.

Andy Etchebarren caught for the Orioles (1962, 1965-75) and has long worked for the team as a minor league manager and now a roving instructor. He was part of some of the team's greatest moments in history -- the surprising 1966 World Series sweep of the Dodgers, the 1970 World Series win over Cincinnati -- and enjoyed making this list.

"It's an honor," Etchebarren said. "Fifty years, and if there's 50 guys, that's really only one guy per year. I feel very fortunate and I'm very happy about it."

Chris Hoiles was an Etchebarren-type catcher. He was very quiet, worked extremely hard and kept proving himself over and over again during his career (1989-98). Hip problems ended his career a little early, but Hoiles now works with Bowling Green University's baseball team and spending time with his three young boys.

But Hoiles will never forget his time with the Orioles.

"There's so many [big] moments," Hoiles said. "Probably one of the biggest ones was just making it to this level and being able to play and stick at this level."

Jim Gentile played first base for four years in the early '60s and looked at Baltimore as one of the highlights of his career. He was a starter when the Orioles were just breaking through, but the team had to make way for Powell, and that ended Gentile's time.

However, there was no question how much Gentile loved being in Baltimore -- and how much he loved making this team.

"Everybody's been real nice, and it's great to be back in Baltimore," said Gentile, who now lives in Oklahoma. "I hated to leave ... but I knew that Boog was going to play first base. It was just a matter of when. I wanted to finish my career here like Brooks Robinson did."

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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