OK, we’ve gotten through Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday. But “Orioles Classics” are the gift that keeps on giving - all through the offseason, brightening your dreary, cold days with warm thoughts of baseball.
This week’s smorgasbord of “Classics” has some of the most revered names in O’s history and a smattering of home runs. Hey, chicks aren’t the only ones who dig the longball!
A couple of games from the 1980s bookend some “Classics” of a more recent vintage. So while you await new executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias’ remake of the front office and his choice of a new manager, we dig deep into the vault to whet your diamond appetites.
Thursday, Nov. 29, 1 p.m. - As baseball firsts go, it’s hard to beat what happened on July 11, 1987 in a 3-2 Orioles loss to the Twins at Memorial Stadium. Cal Ripken managed two of his sons - shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. and second baseman Billy Ripken (making his big league debut) - the first time in major league history that a father had managed two sons in a game. Unfortunately, the Ripkens were a combined 0-for-7 as Minnesota’s Frank Viola outdueled Mike Griffin.
Friday, Nov. 30, 7 p.m. - Manny Machado had himself a day at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago on Aug. 7, 2016, homering in each of the first three innings and driving in seven runs in a 10-2 victory over the White Sox.
Sunday, Dec. 2, 2:30 p.m. - Game 2 of the 1983 World Series saw the Orioles in an awkward position: down one game in the best-of-seven Fall Classic. A crowd of 52,132 at Memorial Stadium watched as Mike Boddicker checked the Phillies on three hits in a 4-1 victory, the first of four straight Baltimore wins that locked down the Commissioner’s Trophy. John Lowenstein homered in a three-run fifth that tilted things Baltimore’s way.
Monday, Dec. 3, 10:30 a.m. - Fans who braved a long rain delay on Sept. 6, 1996 were rewarded with Eddie Murray’s 500th career homer. Murray’s seventh-inning blast off Felipe Lira sent streamers into the air around Camden Yards and helped take some of the sting off a 5-4 O’s loss in 12 innings. Ironically, Murray entered the 500 club one year to the day after Cal Ripken Jr. broke Yankees great Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games streak.
Tuesday, Dec. 4, 7 p.m. - The 2018 season got underway earlier than usual - March 28, to be exact - and the O’s and Twins needed extra innings to decide the first game of the year. Adam Jones stepped to the plate in the bottom of the 11th and clubbed a Fernando Rodney pitch deep into the left field stands for a 3-2 walk-off win for the home team.
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 11 a.m. - As dramatic walk-off victories go, it’s hard to beat what happened at Memorial Stadium on July 17, 1989, when the O’s walked off the Angels 11-9. Trailing 9-7 in the last of the ninth, Larry Sheets tied the game with a two-run single off Bryan Harvey (father of O’s farmhand Hunter Harvey). Bob McClure replaced the Angels closer and Mike Devereaux lofted McClure’s 1-1 offering deep down the left field line. Third base umpire Jim Joyce ruled the ball curved around the foul pole, while TV replays were inconclusive (remember, these are the days before video replay reviews). While the Orioles celebrated, Angels skipper Doug Rader unleashed a memorable tirade at the men in blue (Earl Weaver would have been proud). Rader was still incensed the next day - he was ejected before the first pitch in the Sunday matinee was thrown.