So long, 2020. Don’t let the door whack your backside on your way out.
The general consensus seems to be that the year that draws to a close tonight at midnight can’t be over soon enough. As if social and political turmoil and a deadly virus sweeping the globe weren’t awful enough, the pandemic also screwed up the baseball season.
With new vaccines approved and inoculations begun, we’re all crossing our fingers in hopes that we can kick COVID-19 to the curb in 2021, and that spring training and the season can come off on schedule, or at least close to it.
As we ring in the new, we’re reminded that some things never get old. Take, for example, the first “Orioles Classics” broadcast of 2021, in which you’ll see the Birds taking it to the Phillies in the 1983 World Series. Subsequent shows will bring you two key contests in another O’s title run, as well as various and sundry other memorable moments in club history.
So readjust your party hat and finish up that champagne before it goes flat as you enjoy “Orioles Classics” on MASN.
Friday, Jan. 1 - 2 p.m. - The 1983 Orioles boasted a formidable pitching staff, none more imposing than right-hander Mike Boddicker. Playing his first full year with the parent club, the O’s sixth-round draft pick went 16-8 with a 2.77 ERA in the regular season. On Oct. 12, with the Phillies up one game to none, Boddicker turned in complete-game beauty, allowing just three hits to help the Birds even the World Series. Left fielder John Lowenstein went 3-for-4 with an RBI as the Orioles won 4-1.
Friday, Jan. 1 - 5 p.m. - The legendary Steve Carlton came out on the losing end of Game 3 of the 1983 World Series. Lefty had a 2-0 lead in his home park going into the sixth inning, but Dan Ford cut it in half with a one-out homer. The Orioles gave the Phillies ace further trouble after he got the first two batters in the seventh. Rick Dempsey doubled and Benny Ayala’s single brought him home to tie the score and send Carlton to the showers. With Al Holland on in relief, Ayala scored on an Iván de Jesus error. Sammy Stewart and Tippy Martinez held on to the 3-2 lead to put the Orioles up two games to one. Jim Palmer pitched the fifth and sixth in relief of starter Mike Flanagan.
Friday, Jan. 1 - 7:30 p.m. - The Orioles had won both Game 3 and Game 4 of the 1983 World Series by just one run in Philadelphia, but they would command Game 5 wire-to-wire to bring home the Commissioner’s Trophy. Southpaw Scott McGregor allowed just five hits in a complete-game shutout and Eddie Murray homered twice to drive in three of the Birds’ runs in their 5-0 series-clinching victory.
Saturday, Jan. 2 - midnight - The Orioles dropped a midseason scrap with the Twins 2-1 on July 11, 1987, but the game marked an important day for the first family of Baltimore baseball. With Cal Ripken Sr. at the club’s helm and his namesake holding down the shortstop position, the O’s called up kid brother Billy Ripken from Rochester to man second base. The brothers went oh-fer in that first game as the double-play combo, however. Left fielder and future Rangers skipper Ron Washington had the only RBI for the Birds in the contest.
Sunday, Jan. 3 - 3 p.m. - Right-hander Rick Sutcliffe spent the bulk of his career in the National League, starting out in the Dodgers organization, spending eight years with the Cubs and finishing up with the Cardinals in 1994. But he holds a singular distinction in the annals of the American League, having thrown the first pitch that counted at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Signed as a free agent in December 1991, Sutcliffe started the first game in the Orioles’ new home on April 6, 1992. He finished it, too, as the Orioles beat Cleveland (for whom Sutcliffe had also played) 2-0.
Monday, Jan. 4 - 7 p.m. - The Amazing Mets had shocked the world in 1969, beating the favored Orioles in the World Series. The following year, the Birds were back in the Fall Classic, this time facing Sparky Anderson’s Big Red Machine. On Oct. 10, the O’s were in Cincinnati for Game 1. With the Reds up 3-0 in the top of the fourth inning, Boog Powell homered with Paul Blair aboard. Elrod Hendricks led off the fifth with another blast to tie the score, and Brooks Robinson’s solo shot in the seventh provided the margin in a 4-3 Baltimore win that would send the Orioles on their way to a four-games-to-one World Series victory.
Monday, Jan. 4 - midnight - In a Battle of the Beltways clash, Orioles starter Jake Arrieta squared off against Nationals southpaw Ross Detwiler on June 24, 2012 at Camden Yards. The visitors took a 1-0 lead into the home eighth. That’s when Adam Jones stroked a 1-2 pitch the other way for a single through the 3-4 hole. Following Jones in the order, Matt Wieters homered to left-center to put the O’s on top 2-1. Jim Johnson issued a one-out walk to Ian Desmond in the ninth but still got a three-batter save as the Orioles retired Danny Espinosa and Desmond on a strike-‘em-out-throw-‘em-out double play.
Tuesday, Jan. 5 - 7 p.m. - The Orioles enjoyed a second straight one-run win over the Reds in Cincinnati in Game 2 of the 1970 World Series, again coming from behind to get it. Leadoff hitter Pete Rose reached on a rare Mark Belanger error and O’s lefty Mike Cuellar scuffled in the bottom of the first inning, giving up three runs. Bobby Tolan added a run for the Reds with a third-inning solo blast, but Powell matched it with his own leadoff homer in the fourth off Jim McGlothlin. The Birds grabbed the lead in a five-run fifth as Blair, Powell and Robinson all singled and Hendricks doubled. Moe Drabowsky gave up a Johnny Bench home run, but Drabowsky and Dick Hall clamped down after that to send the series back to Baltimore well in hand.
Wednesday, Jan. 6 - 3 p.m. - In Oakland on July 13, 1991, the Birds came out on the winning end of a baseball oddity: a combined no-hitter. Starter Bob Milacki got a little help from friends Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson as the O’s took the Athletics 2-0. Mike Devereaux was the big man at the plate that day, going 3-for-4 with a home run.