Move over, Iron Man. In 67 years of Orioles baseball, no rookie has hit more home runs than Ryan mountcastle. Mountcastle eclipsed the franchise record of Cal Ripken Jr. on Thursday, reaching his 29th HR of the season in Baltimore’s 3-2 win over the New York Yankees in 10 innings in the Oriole Park At Camden Yards.
Mountcastle had been sitting on the Ripken record since Sunday, which has been held since 1982, that is, for a period of 39 years. Mountcastle did it with a 438-foot solo hit off Yanks starter Jordan Montgomery in the bottom of the sixth inning, providing Baltimore’s only run until the ninth. Here the video:
That temporarily diverted attention from Mountcastle, whose record-breaking home run placed him one by Texas Rangers outfielder Adolis Garcia for the AL rookie lead. Mountcastle is now also tied with Cedric Mullins for the team lead in home runs, if he passes Mullins, he would be the first Orioles rookie to lead them in home runs since Curt Blefary in 1965.
Overall, Mountcastle ranks among the top three rookies in the American League in hits (123), home runs (29), doubles (23), RBIs (81), total bases (236), slugging (.497) and OPS ( .810).
This is as rewarding an ending as the Orioles could have hoped for with Mountcastle, especially considering how the year started. Coming out of a 35-game sample in 2020, Mountcastle entered 21 with his rookie eligibility intact and struggled mightily to get out.
The gate, hitting .198 with a home run through May. The O’s decided to let him work through funk at the Major League level, scrapped his left field experiment, and eventually saw Mountcastle come out of that hole.
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Months later, Mountcastle is in the midst of a tight race for AL Rookie of the Year with Garcia, Randy Arozarena and several others. Ripken won the award in 1982; The last Oriole to win was right-hander Gregg Olson in ’89.