Oriole Bird cartoon returns!
Seventeen years after he flew the coop, the Oriole bird has returned to The Baltimore Sun.
Starting on April 7, the whimsical cartoon – a stamp-sized favorite of Sun readers during the team’s heyday 40 years ago – has graced the sports pages.
“Hopefully, in that one inch of space, this classic little Oriole can capture the essence of last night’s game,” said Mike Ricigliano, the cartoonist who is drawing it. Ricigliano’s oddball work has appeared in The Sun (and, previously, The Evening Sun) for more than 20 years.
The original caricature first appeared in the paper in June 1966, during the Orioles’ championship season, and quickly became a beacon for readers “who looked for it as eagerly as they did the daily weather forecast,” The Sun once wrote.
Created by the late Jim Hartzell, a longtime staff artist, the bird caught on quickly. When Hartzell retired in 1979, his cartoon friend went with him. When readers complained, the paper resurrected the bird, employing a number of artists to draw him. By 1992, the Oriole was gone.
“The Oriole bird cartoon represents a memorable time in the history of Baltimore, the Orioles and The Baltimore Sun,” said Tim Wheatley, assistant managing editor for sports. “It symbolizes Baltimore’s sense of humor, love of sports and optimism. The new cartoon continues that feeling of fun and hope.
“The old cartoon was something that readers looked forward to every day because each one was unique, and we think the new [one] will have the same effect.”
Here in order are the cartoons, starting with the Opening Day victory over the Yankees and continuing until today’s:
Opening Day: Orioles 10, Yankees 5
Orioles 7, Yankees 5
Yankees 11, Orioles 2
Orioles 5, Rays 4
Orioles 6, Rays 0
Rays 11, Orioles 3 (I was at this game, unfortunately)
Orioles 10, Rangers 9 Also, be on the lookout for my new blog http://jewsonfirst/mlblogs.com/