What if I told you there was an Orioles minor league affiliate that went out and exceeded the odds to win a championship?
Let me introduce you to the 2015 Double-A Bowie Baysox.
The 2015 Baysox, a team led by the likes of Mike Yastrzemski and Trey Mancini, finished with a record of 79-63 for the 2015 season and was ready for the 2015 Eastern League playoffs. The first competition? The 2015 Altoona Curve.
The Curve, an affiliate for the Pittsburgh Pirates, finished with a 74-68 record for the 2015 season. Altoona was led offensively by the current second baseman of the Orioles, Adam Frazier, and current first baseman for the Cleveland Guardians, Josh Bell.
On the pitching side, they were led by left-hander and current free agent Steven Brault, who was a former Oriole product, and right-hander Chad Kuhl.
Bowie would lose the first game 8-7 off a walk-off single by current Miami Marlins catcher Jacob Stallings, despite the Baysox having a seven-run second inning and a three-hit game by Mike Yastrzemski. Bowie would win game two 7-0 behind Yastrzemski and Mancini, both knocking in two runs.
The Baysox would win game three in Bowie, 11-3, behind a two-home-run and six-RBI game by outfielder Quincy Latimore. Bowie would win the series in game four with a 3-0 victory behind a quality start by David Hess.
Now, it was time to compete for the Eastern League Championship.
The Championship Series would be against the Reading Fightin Phils, who were coming off an 80-61 season and a complete sweep of their semifinal matchup against the Binghamton Mets. The Fightin Phils were led by catcher Andrew Knapp and outfielder Roman Quinn on the offensive side and right-handers Zach Eflin and Ryan O’Sullivan on the pitching side.
The series would begin in Reading, Pennsylvania, where Bowie would lose game one, 3-1, due to a solid performance from Eflin. The Baysox would win game two, 10-3, behind a three-RBI day by outfielder Glynn Davis and a three-hit game by Garabez Rosa.
The first game at Bowie would go to the Fightin Phils in a 9-3 win behind two-RBI days from outfielder Nick Williams, catcher Andrew Knapp and third baseman Harold Martinez. Now Bowie was in “win now” mode as the series could have ended in game four.
The Baysox would send the series to a game five after a 9-1 victory. Bowie would have four players tally two RBIs and had a great pitching performance by David Hess.
Game five’s scoring would begin in the fourth inning, when Fightin Phils outfielder Cameron Perkins hit a solo shot to make it 1-0. Bowie would answer behind Garabez Rosa, hitting not one but two home runs, scoring three total runs, making the score 3-1 Bowie’s way after six innings.
Catcher René Garcia would hit a solo shot in the seventh for Reading to make it a 3-2 game, but Bowie would score four more runs in the seventh and eighth innings to win the 2015 Eastern League Championship.
The 2015 Bowie Baysox were highlighted by many players, but unfortunately, they will only be known by the two players that really turned into something in the MLB. Those players are, of course, Trey Mancini and Mike Yastrzemski.
The team would also be highlighted by Mychal Givens during the first half of the season, but he made his big league debut in the 2015 season and was not a part of the team during their postseason run.
Mancini would debut just a year later for the Orioles on September 20, 2016, against the Boston Red Sox. The now-30-year-old is about to enter his seventh year and is coming fresh off a World Series Championship and a two-year contract with the Chicago Cubs.
Yastrzemski would be traded before the 2019 season to the San Francisco Giants and would make his big league debut later that season on May 25th, 2019. Yastrezemski, the grandson of Hall of Famer Carl Yastrezemski, is entering his fifth season and just agreed to a one-year, $6.1 million deal this offseason with San Francisco.
The 2015 Bowie Baysox will always be in the history books. They are still the most recent Orioles affiliate to win a championship, but we’re hoping that changes in the near future.
What do you remember most about the 2015 Eastern League Champions? Let us know in the comments below! And make sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on Facebook and Twitter, and use the hashtag #baltimorebattery when sharing our content!
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