5. 2011 » Remember last year? A 6-1 start and you were mildly intrigued with top pitching prospects ready to contribute. It was a brief love affair en route to a fourth straight last-place finish (69-93).
4. 2004 » A 20-16 record on May 16 and the shoots of a rebuild showed promise. Don't be silly. All it meant was third place at 78-84.
3. 1998 » You didn't know it was over yet. A third straight playoff appearance appeared a lock after a 10-2 start. But injuries took a toll in 1998, and manager Davey Johnson was missed. At 68-58 on Aug. 19, Baltimore won just 11 more games -- the start of 14 consecutive losing seasons.
2. 2008 » It was never really a division title contender. But this entertaining group started 6-1 and was on the fringe of the playoff race on July 4 with a 45-41 record. The Orioles finished last in the AL East (68-93).
1. 2005 » The Orioles started 30-16 with shortstop Miguel Tejada looking like a bargain as the rare free agent signing that chose Baltimore's "Confederate money" the year before. As late as June 19, the O's were 41-27 and in first place in the American League East. But by the end of the year they were in fourth (74-88).
- Brian McNally