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Milt Pappas was a great pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles during his nine years with the organization.
Milt Pappas played for the Baltimore Orioles from 1957 – 1965. The three-time All-Star (Pappas played in both All-Star games in 1962) was instrumental in the success of the franchise during his time in Baltimore from the late-1950s to the mid-1960s. Pappas joined the Orioles out of high school at 18 years old and made an impact right away.
While he was dominant on the mound, Pappas is also well known for being part of the package the Orioles put together for the late, legendary MLB Hall of Famer, Frank Robinson. Here are some of his more notable numbers during his Orioles tenure.
110-74 record with the Orioles (.598%)
232 games started (264 total games)
82 complete games
7.9 H/9 IP
0.8 HR/9 IP
That’s a lot of Impressive numbers for Pappas over his nine seasons. Having retired from the game in 1973, it’s difficult to speak about Pappas based on watching him in person, but clearly, he meant so much more to the game than just his numbers.
Here is a timeline of Pappas’ time with the Orioles:
Pappas pitched nine innings across four games to begin his major league career, giving up just six total hits on one run. The Orioles finished at .500 with a record of 76-76. Pappas did not get much action, but still was able to get into a few games and make as much of an impact as he could as a rookie.
Pappas started 21 of the 31 games he played in. He finished with a record of 10-10 and an ERA of 4.06, Pappas struggled a bit more with his command early on in his career before eventually leading the league multiple times in limiting walks. He walked 48 and struck out 72 batters in 135.1 innings pitched and ironically gave up 135 hits. He faced 574 batters.
Pappas played in 33 games, starting 27. He went 15-9 with an ERA of 3.27. In 15 complete games, he had four shutouts and even grabbed three saves. Across 209.1 IP, he struck out 120 batters and walked 75. He had the most wild pitches in a season during his career with the O’s with 14.
Pappas went 15-11 with an ERA of 3.37. He played in 30 games while starting 27 of them. He had 11 complete games with three shutouts, limiting opponents to184 hits across 205 innings, with 126 strikeouts and 83 walks.
Pappas went 13-9 with an ERA of 3.04. He pitched in 26 games and got the start 23 times. He had 177.2 innings pitched with 134 hits allowed, 78 base on balls, and 89 strikeouts. His ERA was much better this season, despite his high walk numbers and low strikeout totals. Pappas allowed just 6.8 H/9 IP, by far the lowest mark of his career (7.5 H/9 IP in ’59 was the second-lowest mark).
Pappas made both All-Star games during the 1962 season, an event used by Major League Baseball to increase revenue for players’ pension funds, as outlined by Richard Sandomir in the New York Times. He had a record of 12-10 with 4.03 ERA (highest in his tenure with the O’s). He made 32 starts, pitching 205.1 innings and giving up 200 hits. He struck out 130 batters and walked 75.
His sixth season in the big leagues was one of his more successful seasons as an Oriole. He recorded an Orioles career-high 16 wins (would match again the next season) and his second-best winning percentage as an Oriole (.640). Overall, Pappas was 16-9 with an ERA of 3.03. He was an instrumental piece of the rotation with 216.2 innings pitched, 186 hits allowed, 120 strikeouts and 69 base on balls. For the first time in his career, he would allow fewer than three walks per game, a number he would not reach again over his final ten seasons in the majors.
Matching his 3.5 bWAR performance of 1963, Pappas 16-7 with an ERA of 2.97, allowing 225 hits and just 48 walks across 251 innings. His seven shutouts were a career-high and his 1.09 WHIP was a career-low as he took the reigns as a top of the rotation arm on a 97-win Orioles team.
Pappas last season with the ball-club saw him make his third and final All-Star game while posting the best ERA of his entire tenure with the Orioles at 2.60. He had a record of 13-9 and for the first time in his career, every game he played in (34), he started. Pappas recorded nine complete games with three shutouts, giving him 26 shutouts as an Oriole across nine seasons. In 221.1 innings pitched, he gave up 192 hits and 52 walks, fanning 133 total hitters.
Pappas was inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame in 1984 and will always be remembered as a great Oriole player. He currently ranks 10th in franchise history in combined bWAR (21.7), ninth in wins (110), and sixth in strikeouts (944).
Thanks Pappas for your contributions to Orioles Magic!