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The Top Orioles Stories Of 2013

January 1, 2014

1. Crush Davis

Where else could a look back at the Orioles' top stories of 2013 begin except with super-slugging first baseman Chris Davis? He had 37 home runs by the All-Star break and went on to finish the season with 53, setting an Orioles franchise record. As a team, the O's crushed 212 home runs, 24 more than any other team in baseball.

Orioles 2013: Chris Davis (after swing)
Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer/PressBox

Davis was one of five Orioles selected to the 2013 All-Star Game, and also took part in the Home Run Derby, during which he finished fourthHe was named the 2013 Most Valuable Oriole and finished third in the American League MVP vote.

Davis also won a Silver Slugger award, giving the Orioles an MLB-high three winners, along with center fielder Adam Jones and shortstop J.J. Hardy

2. The Defense

Baltimore's defense may not have led the team to a playoff appearance, but it certainly shined in 2013The Orioles made history with their defensive prowess, committing the fewest single-season errors (54) of all time. They also shattered a previous major league record by playing 119 errorless games.

For the second straight year, the O's had had three Gold Glove winners, as Hardy, Jones and third baseman Manny Machado took home the hardware in 2013.

Orioles 2013: Manny Machado (throwing)
Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer/PressBox

Machado was also recognized with the AL Platinum Glove after a stellar season, during which he committed 13 errors during 156 games and had a fielding percentage of .973 -- leading AL third basemen.

Only time will tell whether Machado will be back to form in 2014 after undergoing reconstructive surgery on his left knee Oct. 14, a procedure that is expected to require 4-6 months of rehabilitation.

3. No One-run Magic 

Although Jim Henneman may have warned fans not to overestimate the importance of one-run games, the Orioles could have used some of their 2012 one-run magic in 2013.

The Orioles' bullpen ERA rose to 3.52 after a 3.00 mark the year before, and their blown save total rose to 27 from 18. The bullpen slippage played a large role in the fact that the 2013 Orioles went 20-31 during one-run games, as opposed to 29-9 the year before.

Orioles 2013: Jim Johnson (set)
Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer/PressBox

There will certainly be plenty of bullpen changes for 2014 after the Orioles traded closer Jim Johnson to the A's Dec. 2. Johnson led the AL in saves each of the past two years, notching 51 in 2012 and 50 in 2013. By making the trade, the Orioles avoided arbitration with Johnson, who would have become a free agent following the 2014 season.

Would things have been different if the Orioles had locked Johnson down to a multi-year deal before the 2013 season even started? That's one question fans won't be able to answer.

4. Showalter, Duquette Sign Contract Extensions

Two Orioles who did get major multi-year deals during the offseason were manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette. On Jan. 16, the Orioles announced that both Showalter and Duquette had signed contract extensions that would keep them in Baltimore through 2018. 

Orioles 2013: Buck Showalter (giving signs)
Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer/PressBox

Stan "The Fan" Charles praised Orioles owner Peter Angelos for the move, saying it created stability at the top of the organization.

5. In Memoriam: Earl Weaver

The year 2013 also marked the passing of one of the most beloved Orioles of all time. Earl Weaver, the manager who led Baltimore to four World Series appearances and one championship, died Jan. 18 at the age of 82.

Orioles: Earl Weaver (2012)
Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer/PressBox

The Orioles' 2013 FanFest, held the following day, was bittersweet as fans young and old were touched by the news of his passing.

Henneman remembered Weaver's softer side and wondered whether Weaver could have kept Eddie Murray in Charm City.