Someone who’s much smarter than me, and that’s a deep pool of candidates, noted that this year’s World Series between the Astros and Dodgers features two 100-win teams for the first time since 1970.
The date jumped out at me straight from my childhood. It was a little dusty.
My first memories of the Orioles were born in the ‘70 season. I’m forever grateful that I have no recollection of the loss to the Miracle Mets in ‘69. Same with Super Bowl III and the NBA Eastern Division semifinals between the Bullets and Knicks.
The Orioles were 108-54 in the regular season and finished 15 games ahead of the Yankees in the American League East. They went 59-22 at home, 49-32 on the road, 16-9 in extra innings and 40-15 in one-run games. They swept the Twins in the best-of-five Championship Series while the 102-60 Reds were doing the same to the Pirates in the National League.
The ‘70 Series was the first to be played on artificial turf - Riverfront Stadium had just opened - and the last to feature only day games. It also featured a bunch of future Hall of Famers, including managers Earl Weaver and Sparky Anderson.
The Orioles had Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson and Jim Palmer. The Reds had Johnny Bench and Tony Perez. They also had Pete Rose, but ... you know.
I thought Joe Morgan was the second baseman on that team, but he played for the Astros from 1963-1971.
The Orioles won the first three games and led 5-3 in the eighth inning of Game 4 before Lee May hit a three-run homer off reliever Eddie Watt. The Reds were victorious despite committing three errors, their bullpen holding the Orioles to an unearned run over 6 1/3 innings.
The Red scored three runs off Mike Cuellar in the top of the first inning in Game 5, the Orioles scored twice off Jim Merritt in the bottom half and rallied for a 9-3 win. Cuellar went the distance. He probably would have been removed in the first inning today.
Brooks Robinson was named Most Valuable Player after batting .429 with two home runs and putting on a defensive clinic at third base that elevated him to legend status.
The offensively challenged Mark Belanger was the leadoff hitter in Game 5 with Don Buford on the bench against Merritt.
Game 5 attendance was 45,341 at Memorial Stadium, compared to 51,773 for Game 3 and 53,007 for Game 4. Also shocking to me: The games were completed in times of 2:24, 2:26, 2:09, 2:26 and 2:35.
You think that will ever happen again? The commercial breaks last longer.
The 1970 Orioles belong on any list of all-time greatest teams. They had three 20-game winners in Palmer, Cuellar and Dave McNally, the rotation combined for 60 complete games - the Twins were second with 26 - and the staff posted a 3.15 ERA that ranked as the lowest in the league. They led the AL in runs scored with 792 and fewest allowed with 574, and their .980 fielding percentage was third.
Give me Paul Blair in center field any day of the week.
* Former Orioles outfielder Delmon Young isn’t hanging up his bat. I have no idea what he’s doing with his glove, but he’s still playing.
Young has joined the roster of the Melbourne Aces, according to the Australian Baseball League’s website. He’s expected to arrive in early November.
The first overall pick in the 2003 draft, Young hasn’t played since appearing in 52 games with the Orioles in 2015. They designated him for assignment and released him in July.
Young made headlines in February 2016 following his arrest in Miami on a misdemeanor battery charge for allegedly choking and threatening to kill a valet. We hadn’t heard much about him until yesterday.
Controversy and legal issues have hounded Young, but he did provide the loudest moment in Camden Yards history with his bases-clearing double against the Tigers in Game 2 of the 2014 American League Division Series. The noise is piped into Ed Smith Stadium each spring training for pop up drills on the main field.
What’s more surprising, that Young is continuing his career in Australia or that he’s only 32?
Reliever Mark Hamburger, most recently in the Twins organization, is returning to the Aces. Fans will flip over him.
* Aaron Judge was a near-unanimous choice as Sporting News Rookie of the Year in the American League.
Somehow, he didn’t receive every vote from the 140 players on the panel. I guess 52 home runs, 114 RBIs and a 1.049 OPS don’t go as far as they used to.
The Red Sox’s Andrew Benintendi and the Astros’ Yuli Gurriel each received one vote. Nothing for Orioles’ left fielder Trey Mancini, who will try to crack the top three in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
It appears that Sporting News doesn’t have a 5-3-1 system allowing for second- and third-place finishers and Mancini had no shot at winning the award. Benintendi and Gurriel got the scraps.
* Double-A Bowie third baseman Ryan Mountcastle, one of the Orioles’ top position prospects, is heating up in the Arizona Fall League.
Mountcastle hit his second home run yesterday and raised his RBI total to seven while going 3-for-4 for the Salt River Rafters. He also hit his third double and stole his second base.
Mountcastle’s two home runs and seven RBIs have come in his last five games. He’s raised his average to .286.
* The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum revealed the eight finalists for the 2018 Ford C. Frick Award that’s presented annually for excellence in broadcasting.
The candidates from the “National voices” category are Buddy Blattner, Joe Buck, Bob Costas, Dizzy Dean, Don Drysdale, Al Michaels, Joe Morgan and Pee Wee Reese. The winner will be announced on Dec. 13 at the Winter Meetings.
Final voting for the award will be conducted by an electorate comprised of the 11 living recipients and four broadcast historians/columnists: Marty Brennaman, Dick Enberg, Jaime Jarrin, Tony Kubek, Denny Matthews, Tim McCarver, Jon Miller, Eric Nadel, Vin Scully, Bob Uecker, Dave Van Horne, David J. Halberstam (historian), Barry Horn (Dallas Morning News), Ted Patterson (historian) and Curt Smith (historian).
In order to be considered, an active or retired broadcaster must have at least 10 years of continuous major league broadcast service with a team and/or network.
Got a favorite among this group?