Florida’s population this week swelled with the arrival of pitchers and catchers throughout the Sunshine State, including Sarasota, where one of the least predictable spring training competitions in the majors has begun to unfold. As you begin counting down to opening day in earnest, you’ll want to catch as much as you can of the next seven days’ worth of “Orioles Classics.”
Most of these episodes come from Orioles playoff seasons, and the ones that don’t will feature major league milestones achieved by Orioles players. We start off this afternoon with the Iron Man reaching a benchmark for Hall of Fame hitters. Next come a couple of games from the Orioles’ most recent playoff season in which power hitting was the order of the day. Then viewers will enjoy the start of a postseason that ended in an O’s World Series title. Throw in the shattering of a pitching record and you’ve got more than enough to tide you over until the 2020 spring games get going.
Thursday, Feb. 13 - 12:30 p.m. - As conscientious as Cal Ripken Jr. was about his work, it’s a pretty good bet that he always gets his taxes done well in advance of the deadline. He certainly didn’t seem preoccupied when it arrived in 2000. On April 15 that year, the Iron Man went 3-for-5 in a 6-4 win over the Twins while reaching the 3,000-hit plateau. B.J. Surhoff likewise went 3-for-5 and had a solo homer. Catcher Charles Johnson also went yard.
Friday, Feb. 14, 8:30 p.m. - The Orioles’ 253 homers led the American League in 2016, with Chris Davis, Manny Machado and majors-topping Mark Trumbo each exceeding 30. Seven of the O’s roundtrippers came in a single game against the Red Sox on June 2. Trumbo and Adam Jones got two apiece, and Machado, Pedro Álvarez and Francisco Peña each went deep as the Birds won 12-7.
Saturday, Feb. 15, 3 p.m. - The O’s collected several deep shots again on Aug. 18, 2016 to beat the Astros 13-5 at Camden Yards. Trumbo homered again (he had 47 that year), as did Machado, Davis and J.J. Hardy. All but one of the Orioles’ starting lineup had at least one hit. Hyun Soo Kim tripled.
Monday, Feb. 17 - 9 a.m. - Orioles fans of a certain age certainly remember the 1983 World Series, especially Ripken’s jubilation as he snagged the clinching out in Philadelphia. But we don’t always recall how the Orioles won the right to face the National League champs that year. The Orioles spotted the White Sox Game 1 of the best-of-five American League Championship Series, dropping the opener at home 2-1. Lefty Scott McGregor allowed just two runs over 6 2/3 innings, but Chicago starter LaMarr Hoyt surrendered just one in his complete-game victory. It proved to be the only win the White Sox would get in the series.
Tuesday, Feb. 18 - 9 a.m. - Gary Roenicke homered, doubled and walked twice to lead the O’s to a 4-0 victory in Game 2 of the 1983 ALCS. Ripken also had a home run, and Mike Boddicker spread five hits over nine innings to send the series to Chicago knotted at a game apiece.
Tuesday, Feb. 18 - 7 p.m. - Zack Britton now makes his baseball home in Yankee Stadium, but he made his bones with the Orioles. On July 23, 2017 at Oriole Park, the sinkerballing lefty had a Sunday to remember, setting an new American League record for consecutive saves in the O’s 9-7 win over the Astros. Trumbo doubled and homered, and Jones went 4-for-5. With the score tied 7-7 in the eighth, Machado brought Rubén Tejada home on a fly to left-center and Jonathan Schoop’s RBI single set the stage for Britton’s record-breaking save.
Wednesday, Feb. 19 - 9 a.m. - The O’s quieted a Comiskey Park crowd of 46,000 in a hurry in Game 3 of the 1983 ALCS. Eddie Murray homered with two aboard in the first inning, and Al Bumbry’s double in the second plated another run before the White Sox answered in the bottom half with the only run they’d score all night. The visitors had picked up another three by the ninth, at which point they proceeded to crush whatever lingering hope the home fans might have had left. Ripken’s double was the Orioles’ only hit in the ninth, but walks, a sacrifice fly and a big error gave them a four-run inning that turned the game into an 11-1 laugher.