The long national nightmare known as election season has finally passed, and the next barrage of campaign ads is two years away. Now that it’s safe to watch TV again, it’s a great time to relive some of the best feel-good moments in Orioles history.
The MASN vault this week yields three of Birdland’s most auspicious occasions ever. Starting with today’s day-night doubleheader, you’ll see one Hall of Fame slugger reach a nice round number of round-trippers, another one set a new standard for stamina and both of them celebrate with teammates an achievement that eclipsed their individual accomplishments.
We’re certain that O’s fans of all political stripes will endorse this week’s “Orioles Classics.” Meanwhile, cast your vote in the comments section for the most memorable moment in club history.
Thursday, Nov. 8, 11 a.m. - The 1996 Orioles packed plenty of power as they stormed toward the American League Championship Series. Eight of their opening day starting nine hit 20 or more homers that season (that was the year Brady Anderson had 50). One of those players, though, hit 12 of his 22 dingers in 1996 for the Indians. Eddie Murray came back to the Birds via trade in July of that year, seven and a half years after the offseason deal that sent him to the Dodgers. The switch-hitting slugger was 40 and in the twilight of his career on Sept. 6, 1996, when he sent a Felipe Lira pitch over the wall in right-center in the seventh to record his 500th big league home run. The O’s would lose the rain-delayed game 5-4 to the Tigers, but the Camden Yards crowd that night witnessed a milestone moment for their prodigal son.
Thursday, Nov. 8, 7 p.m. - The principals age as the years pass, but seeing the events of Oct. 16, 1983 never gets old. After dropping the first game of that season’s World Series at Memorial Stadium, the Orioles had won the next three. On their last night at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium, they made good on the opportunity to put the title away then and there, crusing to a 5-0 win over the Phillies. Catcher Rick Dempsey scored the series MVP award after calling Scott McGregor’s complete-game victory. O’s fans weren’t bothered in the least that the series did not return to Baltimore.
Monday, Nov. 12, 1 p.m. - In political and academic circles, they talk about the fall of the Iron Curtain taking place in 1989 as the Berlin Wall came down, or the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In Birdland, of course, we reckon it happened a few years later. Specifically, Sept. 6, 1995. That’s the night that Cal Ripken Jr. became the Iron Man, shattering a record that for decades had been thought unassailable: the consecutive games streak of the Iron Horse, the Yankees’ Lou Gehrig. The home half of fifth inning that night ended as Angels right-hander Shawn Boskie retired Ripken on a popup. That made the game official, and the consecutive games mark 2,131 and counting. The ensuing celebration featured Ripken’s memorable victory lap. After the delay, the O’s went on to win the game 4-2, with the man of the hour going 2-for-4 with an RBI.