TBN Sports Feature: 1989 'Why Not?' Anniversary Luncheon and Reunion

Cal Ripken, Jr. speaks to reporters at the 1989 'Why Not?' Anniversary Luncheon and Reunion Ceremony Friday. Photos by Toby Tenuta

The Baltimore Orioles hosted a luncheon and reunion ceremony at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Friday to commemorate the 1989 "Why not?" team.

Thirty years ago, the Baltimore Orioles finished second in the American League East, winning 53.7 % of the games that year, with a record of 87/75 (wins/losses).

The team was known as the “Comeback Kids” as they rebounded from the 54 wins and 107 losses of the 1988 season, “now seen as rock bottom season for the Orioles” according to Jeff Ballard (’89 P) in an interview today at the Luncheon Press Q&A.

The season also took on the “Why Not?” promotional slogan as the team’s pursuit of the pennant went down to the final series of the regular season. 

After starting the ’89 season as poorly as the ’88 season had ended, that’s what has made this season even more impressive, “coming out of a losing streak, then to immediately turn it around and make it to the finals of the regular season. It almost seemed too easy,” said Gregg Olson, ’89 RP and American League Rookie of the Year.  He continues, “There was a surprising amount of immediate friendship among the entire team, even more than just working together, and with coming out of the 1988 season, expectations were extremely low for us.” 

Several of the players attributed the team’s success in 1989 to their late coach, Frank Robinson.

“Frank always knew we could do better - always pushed us to do better,” said Craig Worthington, ’89 3B. “IF you ever struck out you’d see Frank walk across the dug-out with his arms in the air, so disappointed, but ready for us to improve.” 

The ’89 Orioles have by far have had some seemingly out of the ordinary achievements, including “having a completely sold out, home game during a terrible losing streak during the regular season, to the parade, for coming in second,” said Mark Huismann (’89 RP) when asked about what made that season so special to him.

Other players have forgotten about said parade, however, others agree, Baltimore took so kindly to the ’89 Orioles that they had the parade even after not winning. 

The Orioles went into the three-game season finale against the first-place Toronto Blue Jays down by one game in the AL East standings and needing either a sweep to win the AL East championship or two wins to force a one-game playoff.

The Blue Jays won the first two games of the series, clinching first place in the penultimate game of the season.

When asked what it was like going into the finals in Toronto, Cal Ripken Jr. responded, “If we had won even just one more game prior to Toronto, it would’ve been more of a ‘we only need to play better’ atmosphere, but due to being one game behind in the standings, we were playing catch-up.” 

We then asked Gregg Olson if the “Why Not Orioles?” season could be a motivator and lesson to the current Orioles that ‘anything can happen’, he commented, “Absolutely! As long as you have the uniform on, you have a chance to have a good year, regardless of whatever has happened before. A lot of the [team] on that staff had the best year. When you start to have several people start pulling you in the right direction,” (also referring to F. Robinson) “anything is possible.”

Around the Web


0 Comments Write your comment

    1. Loading...