BALTIMORE – One by one, they came on the field. Orioles legends and a few merely really good players.
Twenty-three members of the Orioles Hall of Fame walked on the field and were introduced to the 43,743 at Oriole Park on Friday night.
The fans were already overjoyed because of the Orioles’ six home runs and 12-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
For thirty minutes, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Cal Ripken, Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson joined Brady Anderson, Mike Bordick, B.J. Surhoff and many others to celebrate the team’s 60 years in Baltimore.
Highlights of the team’s six decades were shown against the warehouse wall, and the loudest cheers came for Ripken and Brooks Robinson.
Fan favorite Rick Dempsey kissed home plate while the fans roared.
After a laser light show and fireworks, the current Orioles walked on the field, shook hands with their predecessors and walked to the mound for an enormous group photo.
Before the ceremony, manager Buck Showalter who is always eager to embrace Orioles history said he couldn’t wait to participate.
“I've still got chills,” Showalter said. "We all just came up the runway and all the Hall of Famers are greeting our guys as they come off the field. That was pretty cool. You want to take pictures. Those are keepers."
J.J. Hardy hit two home runs, Chris Davis, Ryan Flaherty, Jones and Machado each had one as the Orioles hit their most homers since Sept. 26, 2012.
Before the game, Frank Robinson talked at length with Machado at the batting cage, and the young third baseman enjoyed it.
“Having these guys around today -- it helps a lot, especially younger players,” Machado said. “They’re Hall of Famers, they’re the best of the best, so if you can pick their brain and see how they were successful in their careers and seasons it’s something where you’ve got to just pick their brain as much as you can and that’s what everybody here today did. We took the time to take them aside and ask them questions and see what their thoughts were.”
How thorough was the beating? The Orioles (66-49), who entered the game leading the AL East by five games over New York and Toronto, left the bases loaded three times in the first six innings and still had their biggest win since June 19, 2013.
After loading the bases with none out against Justin Masterson (1-1), the Orioles didn’t score in the first. Nick Hundley had an RBI single and Machado a long two-run home run into the visitors bullpen in the second. It was Machado’s 12th.
Hardy led off the third with his fifth home run to make it 5-0, but after Masterson left with the bases loaded and none out, the Orioles didn’t score.
In the fourth, Hardy hit a three-run home run off Nick Greenwood for an 8-0 lead. It was the 11th two-home run game of his career.
Jones hit his 22nd in the fifth, and in the sixth, the Orioles batted around against Sam Freeman.
Davis hit his 20th home run, a long shot off the batter’s eye in center. Flaherty hit a two-run homer, his fifth, and the Orioles led 12-0.
Freeman hit Jones with a pitch on his knee, loading the bases again, but again the Orioles didn’t score.
Showalter pinch ran for Jones in the sixth and emptied his bench for the seventh.
“Anytime you can get a big lead and come out of the game early it's nice. It's fun just to be able to relax and watch the game,” Hardy said.
Chris Tillman, who had not been well-supported this season, had a three-hit shutout through six, but after A.J. Pierzynski launched his first home run for St. Louis (61-53) to make it 12-2, Tillman’s night was over.
Tillman (9-5) allowed two runs on four hits in 6 2/3 innings, walking one and striking out seven.
"It's always fun to see the all balls fly out -- as long as it's not against us. I think it's only a matter of times before these guys did this and it goes to show you get your team back in the dugout quick what they're capable of,” Tillman said.
Since the five surviving Baseball Hall of Famers were last at an Orioles ceremony in Sept. 2012, the sixth, Earl Weaver, died.
Hardy and Machado’s three-run home runs would have delighted him.
“I thought about that, too,” Showalter said.
NOTES: The Orioles hit multiple home runs off three different pitchers for just the second time in club history. It also happened on May 17, 1967 against Boston.
-Davis’ home run was the 150th of his career.
-Ubaldo Jimenez (3-8, 4.52) faces John Lackey (1-0, 2.57) on Saturday at 4:05 p.m.