Opening Day parades, victory parties: How Baltimore celebrated its winning teams over the years

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After winning Super Bowl XLVII, the Baltimore Ravens were welcomed back by one of the greatest victory parades in Baltimore history with over 200,000 fans in attendance on Feb. 5.

Look back at past celebrations and Opening Day sports parades. Perhaps, the biggest turnout was on April 15, 1954, when fans welcomed the Baltimore Orioles in their very first season on Opening Day against the White Sox. Over 350,000 fans were said to have shown up for the parade.


The 1958 NFL Championship Game is considered “The Greatest Game Ever Played” when the Baltimore Colts defeated the Giants 23-17 in sudden death overtime. Fans celebrated the victory with the blare of horns, bells, shouts and fireworks. In what was decribed as a tidal wave of 30,000 nearly hysterical fans, many descended on Friendship Airport (now BWI-MARSHALL) to welcome the world champion Colts. Some fans became unruly and jumped on top of the team bus, while several were arrested because of the mass confusion and rowdy behavior. Meanwhile, in 1959, Baltimore played the New York Giants again for the championship — this time at home in front of an announced crowd of 57,545 at Memorial Stadium — prevailing 31-16. Fans quickly poured onto the field, grabbed souvenirs from the Colts bench and even toppled the iron goal post.

The Orioles had a big Opening Day parade in 1961 with between 35,000 and 40,000 people lining the parade route along Howard, Baltimore, Charles and Preston Streets, despite the bitter wind and chill. “It can be done in 61.”

In 1966, the city went wild after the Orioles won the American League pennant as well as the World Series title. The celebration was postponed twice because of weather. When the celebration did occur, it was described as a mammoth two-hour parade, the biggest celebration since the end of World War II and even the traffic police smiled as crowds jammed streets. The city would go crazy for their Orioles several more times, celebrating World Series and American League pennant wins throughout the late ’60s and ’70s.

In 1971, the city planned to honor all four of its teams at the time — Orioles, Colts, Bullets and Clippers — in the Parade of Champions. Unfortunately, the celebration was canceled due to heavy rain.

Meanwhile in 1983, the Orioles had a magical season and were on top of their game when they won the World Series. Seventeen hours after winning, a huge crowd was ready to greet the team along the parade route hoping to see Eddie, Cal, Rick and others.

On September 7, 1995, a crowd estimated at 300,000 participated in a a parade to honor Cal Ripken Jr. for his record-breaking streak playing in 2,131 straight games. “All I ever wanted to do was be a baseball player,” Ripken Jr. told the crowd at the Inner Harbor. “All I ever wanted to do was was be a baseball player in this City.”

Baltimore celebrated its first Super Bowl win with a new team — the Baltimore Ravens on January 30, 2001. “Raven Maniacs” braved the cold rain to celebrate the Purple Reign. “Who Let The Dogs Out” became an anthem for Ravens fans.

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