Pitching, Defense, and Three-Run Homers: The 1970 Baltimore Orioles

Pitching, Defense, and Three-Run Homers: The 1970 Baltimore Orioles

Pitching, Defense, and Three-Run Homers: The 1970 Baltimore Orioles

Pitching, Defense, and Three-Run Homers: The 1970 Baltimore Orioles

Synopsis

For the Baltimore Orioles, the glory days stretched to decades. Through the 1960s and 1970s, the team arguably had the best players, the best manager, the best Minor League teams, the best scouts and front office--and, unarguably, the best record in the American League. But the best of all, and one of baseball's greatest teams ever, was the Orioles team of 1970. Pitching, Defense, and Three-Run Homers documents that paradoxically unforgettable yet often overlooked World Champion team.
Led by the bats of Frank Robinson and Boog Powell and a trio of 20-win pitchers, the Orioles won 108 regular season games and dropped just 1 postseason game on their way to winning the World Series against the Reds. The club featured three future Hall of Fame players (Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, and Jim Palmer), a Hall of Fame manager (Earl Weaver), and several other star players in the prime of their careers. Featuring biographical articles on Weaver, his coaches, the broadcasters, and the players of the 1970 season, this book tells what happened in and out of the game. It details highlights and timelines, the memorable games, spectacular plays, and the team's working philosophy, "the Oriole Way"--and in sum recreates the magic of one of the greatest seasons in baseball history.

Excerpt

Mark Armour

This book was conceived a few years ago by lifelong Orioles fan Malcolm Allen, who organized the project and edited early drafts of many of the chapters herein. in 2010 Malcolm had to bow out, and he passed the baton to me. I hope that the finished product is worthy of his original vision. Bill Nowlin helped both Malcolm and me throughout the three-year endeavor, and Len Levin heroically copyedited nearly every word in this book. After adding the many writers who stepped up late in the game to do a bit more work, this was a true team, just as the 1970 Orioles were.

When the 1970 baseball season played out, I was a nine-year-old fan of the Boston Red Sox. Kids are capable of imagining all sorts of realities, and one of mine was that the Red Sox had a chance to finish ahead of the Orioles. a friend on my street was an Orioles fan, and we would have spirited arguments about our teams every year. I would tout the abilities of Ray Culp and Sonny Siebert, and he would counter with Jim Palmer and Mike Cuellar. I would brag about Tony Conigliaro, and he would calmly mention Frank Robinson. I acted unimpressed, but really, I knew even then it was nothing like a fair fight.

The Baltimore Orioles were the envy of nearly every team in baseball, year after year. They often had the best players, the best manager, the best front office, the best scouts, and the best Minor League teams. They never seemed to make any mistakes on the field. If the Red Sox were lucky enough to have a lead late in the game, the Orioles always had the perfect pinch hitter or relief pitcher to regain the advantage. No matter the situation, manager Earl Weaver always had the perfect card to play.

The Orioles had the best record in the American League in both the 1960s and 1970s, and kept it up through their 1983 World Series victory. But of the many good and great Oriole clubs, the 1970 juggernaut may have been the best. They had Frank Robinson and Boog Powell hitting home runs, Brooks Robinson and Paul Blair making great defensive plays, and Jim Palmer and Dave McNally throwing shutouts. This perfectly balanced team played the game the way every fan wanted their team to play.

This book is a celebration of that great Orioles team, and the men who played the game of baseball so splendidly. Whether you are old enough to remember the events described here, or want to discover these stories for the first time, pull up a chair and start reading. We have a lot of stories to tell.

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