What '83 World Series champs have to say about Adley, O's

August 5th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Jake Rill’s Orioles Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

BALTIMORE -- Rick Dempsey, the 1983 World Series MVP, was posed with a simple question Friday afternoon while seated in front of the Baltimore media on the seventh floor of the Camden Yards warehouse.

Are the 2023 Orioles good enough to be the franchise’s first World Series winner since '83?

“Are they good enough? I think they are,” Dempsey said. “And for one reason: Because I like what I see out of .”

Various members of Baltimore’s 1983 squad are in town this weekend to celebrate the 40-year anniversary of the O’s third, and most recent, World Series title. They’ll be honored during an on-field pregame ceremony prior to Saturday’s game vs. the Mets -- with fans encouraged to be in their seats by 6:20 p.m. ET -- after many of them participated in an Oriole Advocates luncheon on Friday.

There were plenty of reflective moments and memories shared by the former players. But they also had a lot to say about the 2023 Orioles, a team that has defied external expectations by getting off to a 68-42 start that marked the best record in the American League entering Saturday.

“The players are having fun, and you can almost just like feel it in the air or just see that,” former All-Star left-hander Tippy Martinez said. “Our motto was, ‘Stay close and something good will happen.’ I get that feeling right now with this team. They know they’re going to win. If not, they’re going to be awfully close. And they’re going to be tough to beat.”

That’s proven to be true so far. This O's team is 20-10 in one-run games, it owns 35 comeback victories and it has won 30 times when its opponent scored first.

A wave of young talent has taken over the roster with Rutschman (the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 Draft), infielder , right-hander and top prospects and  all arriving in the Majors over the past two years.

“The best guider of success is winning. And they’ve started to win,” former All-Star outfielder Al Bumbry said. “They’ve gotten a taste of what winning feels like compared to three or four years ago. And I think that’s a major, major factor that’s pushing them now. And of course, you can’t win a race without some thoroughbreds.”

Consider Rutschman the leader of the pack. His offensive tools, his skills behind the plate and his leadership have all impressed Dempsey, who had high praise for his fellow catcher.

“He has an effect on the pitching staff that you don’t see anywhere else in baseball,” Dempsey said.

The Orioles are in a good spot to potentially reach the postseason for the first time since 2016, and perhaps even win their first AL East title since '14. They entered Saturday with a two-game lead over the Rays in the division.

Still, getting to the postseason and playing deep into October are two different things. Baltimore has made the playoffs five times since 1996, but it hasn’t made it past the AL Championship Series since winning the World Series in '83.

“It’s a little tougher to win the World Series now, because you have to navigate through different series to get there,” former All-Star outfielder Ken Singleton said. “I like what I see, that’s for sure. They’re young. Even if they don’t win this year, I have a feeling they won’t be bringing us [the 1983 team] back after so many years because we were the last team to win the World Series. I’ve got a feeling that this team’s going to get it done.”

Singleton isn’t the only former Orioles player who has been watching and getting that inkling.

“When you have that magic and you have that winning thing that the Orioles are finally getting again [it’s a good sign],” former All-Star left-hander Scott McGregor said. “When I watch the games every night now, I think they’re going to win. I don’t care what the score is, they’re going to win. Well, that’s hard to find. That’s hard to get. And when you get it, you better not let it go.”

Several members of the 1983 team see similarities in the '23 squad -- the way they win those close games, the mix of talent and the presence of young stars. Perhaps this year’s O’s will even follow in their footsteps by winning it all.

While manager Brandon Hyde appreciates the support, he doesn’t want his team crowned ahead of time.

“Well, it’s really nice of them to say that,” Hyde said. “But we have a long way to go and big shoes to fill.”