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70 Years of Orioles Magic Moments...10 Years at a Time: 1964-1973

February 20, 2024

Two days after the St. Louis Browns finished the 1953 season in last place, American League owners approved the sale and transfer of the franchise to Baltimore, putting the city back in the big leagues for the first time since 1902.

The newly renamed Baltimore Orioles moved into Memorial Stadium, thus beginning a 70-year love affair with Charm City. Good times were lean in the early years; it would take seven years for the team to post its first winning season.

The Orioles eventually would produce three World Series titles, numerous memorable players including a manager and five players whose Hall of Fame careers led to their numbers being retired, and countless magic and improbable moments, including the 2023 AL East Division title.

Now, with a new 30-year lease for Oriole Park at Camden Yards that will take the club through its 100th season in Baltimore, the Orioles are poised to create even more memories in the years ahead.

But first, let’s take a look at the highlights of the first 70 years – memorable moments from seven decades of Orioles Baseball. We’ll look at the players and events that shaped “Orioles Magic” 10 years at a time.

We’ll also include some moments we didn’t know were going to be so memorable at the time.

Last week, we looked at 1954-1963. This time, the second decade:


9/18/1964: With 35,845 fans attending “Brooks Robinson Night” at Memorial Stadium, Robinson delivers his 100th RBI for the first time in his career as the Orioles top the Angels, 10-8. After the season, he will become the first Oriole to earn AL MVP honors.

5/13/1965: Milt Pappas becomes the first of eight pitchers to record 100 wins with the Orioles, beating Cleveland, 3-2, at Memorial Stadium.

5/16/1965: In his seventh big league appearance, 19-year-old rookie Jim Palmer enters in relief of Dave McNally in the 3rd inning and gets his first major league win, beating New York, 7-5, at Memorial Stadium. Palmer enters in the 3rd inning and goes 3 2/3 innings, allowing one run. He also hits his first home run, a shot to right off the Yankees’ Jim Bouton. Palmer will go on to win 268 games, all with the Orioles.

5/25/1965: Orioles board chairman Joseph Iglehart sells his 64,000 shares of stock in the ballclub to the National Brewing Company. Jerold C. Hoffberger, chairman of the brewery, becomes the new Orioles chairman. He’ll hold the title until selling the club to Edward Bennett Williams on August 3, 1979, ending local ownership of the team until a group headed by Baltimore attorney Peter G. Angelos buys the team on October 4, 1993.

12/9/1965: The Orioles acquire future Hall of Famer Frank Robinson from Cincinnati in exchange for righthanders Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun and outfielder Dick Simpson. Declared an “old 30” by Reds owner Bill DeWitt, Robinson wins the Triple Crown and leads the Orioles to their first World Series title in his first season and goes on to bat .300 with 179 homers and 545 RBI in six seasons with the Orioles. He finishes his career with 586 homers and later serves as a coach, manager and assistant GM for the club.

4/12/1966: Frank Robinson homers in his first game with the Orioles as the Birds beat Boston, 5-4, in 13 innings at Fenway Park. Brooks Robinson homers and has a game-tying single in the 9th, but it is a balk by Red Sox reliever Jim Lonborg with two outs and the bases loaded in the 13th inning that brings home Bob “Rocky” Johnson with the game-winning run.

5/8/1966: Frank Robinson hits a 451-foot home run off Cleveland’s Luis Tiant, becoming the only player to hit a fair ball completely out of Memorial Stadium. The 1st-inning blast gives the O’s a 2-0 lead on the way to an 8-3 win and a doubleheader sweep as the Orioles end Tiant’s 27-inning scoreless streak and tie the Indians for first place. The Orioles place a flag on the back of the left field bleachers where Robinson’s home run left the park, saying simply, “HERE”.

6/21/1966: With two on and two out in the 9th inning, right fielder Frank Robinson leaps to make a spectacular catch, falling backward into the seats at Yankee Stadium and emerging with the ball to rob Roy White of a game-winning home run as the Orioles hold on, 7-5. It is their 12th straight win in the Bronx, dating to 5/1/65, before losing the nightcap of the doubleheader, 8-3.

9/22/1966: Russ Snyder makes a diving catch on a line drive to left center field by the A’s Dick Green for the final out, clinching the Orioles’ first American League pennant. Jim Palmer posts a complete-game 6-1 victory in the game at Kansas City’s Municipal Stadium.

10/5/1966: Playing in their first World Series, the Orioles beat the Dodgers, 5-2, in Game 1, behind reliever Moe Drabowsky, who fans a record 11 batters in 6 2/3 innings in relief of starter Dave McNally. Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson set the tone with back-to-back homers in the first inning. Drabowsky’s appearance will be the only one by an Orioles reliever during the series.

10/6/1966: Jim Palmer, nine days shy of his 21st birthday, becomes the youngest pitcher to throw a complete game shutout in World Series history, besting Dodgers’ ace and future Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax, 6-0, in Los Angeles. Palmer allows four hits and the Orioles take advantage of six Dodger errors, three of them in the 5th inning by center fielder Willie Davis, to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

10/8/1966: In their first home World Series game ever, Paul Blair’s 5th inning home run off the Dodgers’ Claude Osteen is the only run of the game as the Orioles beat the Dodgers in Game 3 at Memorial Stadium, 1-0. Wally Bunker’s complete-game 6-hitter gives the Birds a 3-0 lead in the series.

10/9/1966: The Orioles sweep the Dodgers to win their first World Series title. Dave McNally tosses a 4-hit shutout and Frank Robinson’s 4th inning home run provides the lone run in a 1-0 win at Memorial Stadium. Paul Blair, inserted defensively in the top of the 8th, robs LA’s Jim Lefebvre of a potential game-tying home run leading off the inning.

6/4/1967: In the longest game in club history, Orioles pitchers set a club record, striking out 21 Washington Senators in a 19-inning, 7-5 win at Memorial Stadium. Five pitchers -- Steve Barber (2), Wally Bunker (5), Eddie Watt (5), Eddie Fisher (3) and Stu Miller (6) combine on the Ks, and the Orioles win on Andy Etchebarren’s two-run homer off the Senators’ Bob Priddy in the 19th.

4/27/1968: On a rainy Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium, right-hander Tom Phoebus tosses a no-hitter to beat Boston, 6-0. The Baltimore native fans nine and walks three, retiring the last 12 batters. Joe Foy strikes out to end the game, and Curt Blefary – an outfielder making only his fourth start behind the plate – jubilantly gives the ball to Phoebus. The game, delayed 1 hour, 23 minutes by rain, draws 3,147 fans.

7/11/1968: With the Orioles in 3rd place, 10 ½ games out of first, manager Hank Bauer is fired and replaced by first-year first base coach Earl Weaver. Weaver installs utility man Don Buford into the lead-off spot and puts him in left field, and he goes 1-for-2 with a homer and walk and scores both runs in the Orioles’ 2-0 win over the Senators that night. The Orioles go 48-34 the rest of the year to finish second to Detroit with a 91-71 record.

4/23/1969: In a battle of the eventual co-Cy Young Award winners that season, the Orioles’ Mike Cuellar and the Tigers’ Denny McLain go the distance in a terrific pitchers’ duel before Birds shortstop Mark Belanger’s run-scoring single in the bottom of the 10th inning wins it, 3-2. At one point, McLain retires 21 straight Orioles before Elrod Hendricks leads off the 10th inning with a double, while Cuellar retires 20 straight Tigers.

5/25/1969: The biggest crowd of the year on Bat Day – 39,860, including a record 28,960 walk-up sold at the gate – see the O’s beat the A’s 5-3 on Don Buford’s two-run double in the 8th inning.

7/27/1969: The Orioles beat the White Sox, 17-0, at Memorial Stadium in the largest shutout victory in club history. Jim Hardin hits a three-run homer and tosses a two-hitter, retiring the last 20 Sox in order. Frank Robinson hits two homers and drives in five runs.

8/13/1969: In his second start back after spending nearly six weeks on the disabled list, Jim Palmer tosses an 8-0 no-hitter against the Oakland A’s at Memorial Stadium, walking six with eight strikeouts. It is the only no-hitter of his career and the fourth complete game no-hitter by an Orioles pitcher.

9/13/1969: In baseball’s first season with divisional play, the Orioles become the first of the four division winners to earn a post-season spot when Detroit loses to Washington in the afternoon. The Orioles then go out and beat Cleveland, 10-5, as Tom Phoebus improves his record to 14-6.

10/4/1969: Paul Blair’s two-out, two-strike bunt in the bottom of the 12th inning off Ron Perranoski scores Mark Belanger to give the Orioles a 4-3 win over the Twins in the first-ever AL Championship Series game. Boog Powell’s 9th inning homer had tied the game for the Orioles.

10/5/1969: In their second straight extra-inning battle in the first-ever AL Championship Series, the Orioles beat the Twins, 1-0, when pinch-hitter Curt Motton singles off Ron Perranoski to drive in Boog Powell from second base with a single in the 11th inning. Dave McNally goes the distance for the Orioles, striking out 10 and beating Baltimorean Dave Boswell, who was replaced with two on and two out in the 11th. The Orioles go on to thrash the Twins, 11-2, in Minnesota the next day to sweep the series.

10/11/1969: Don Buford homers in his first World Series at bat leading off the bottom of the 1st inning, Mike Cuellar strikes out eight in a complete game effort and the Orioles beat the Mets, 4-1, in the World Series opener at Memorial Stadium. Things won’t go so well after that, as the Orioles drop four straight.

9/17/1970: The Orioles clinch the AL East for the 2nd straight year, despite losing 2-0 to the Senators in Washington. When they got off the bus for the game at RFK Stadium, they found out the Yankees had lost that afternoon to the Red Sox, thus clinching the division for the Orioles.

10/3/1970: The Orioles beat the Twins, 10-6, in the first game of the ALCS at Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis. Mike Cuellar becomes the only pitcher to hit a grand slam in LCS history as part of a seven-run 4th inning but can’t finish the 5th as the Twins cut the Orioles’ lead to 9-6. Dick Hall allows one hit over the final 4 2/3 innings for the win.

10/4/1970: The Orioles break open a one-run game, scoring seven runs in the 9th inning for an 11-3 win over the Twins at Minnesota for a 2-0 lead in the best-of-3 AL Championship Series. Boog Powell’s two-run double and Davey Johnson’s three-run homer are the big blows, supporting lefty Dave McNally’s complete game effort.

10/5/1970: Jim Palmer goes the distance to complete a second straight sweep of the Twins in the AL Championship Series. Davey Johnson homers for the second game in a row as the Orioles win, 6-1, at Memorial Stadium, for their sixth straight playoff win over the Twins in two years.

10/10/1970: In the first World Series game ever played on artificial turf, the Orioles beat the Reds, 4-3, in Game 1 at Cincinnati on Brooks Robinson’s 7th inning solo home run. Boog Powell and Elrod Hendricks also homer, and Jim Palmer comes within one out of a complete game before Pete Richert comes on for the save. Hendricks is part of a prominent play in the 6th inning, when the Birds’ catcher tags Reds’ runner Bernie Carbo with his glove while knocking down home plate umpire Ken Burkhart, who signals Carbo out. Replays show Hendricks had the ball in his right hand, and Carbo missed home plate.

10/11/1970: The Orioles overcome a 4-0 deficit, scoring five runs on six hits in the 5th inning, to beat the Reds in Game 2 of the World Series at Cincinnati. The Reds threaten in the 7th with two men on, but reliever Dick Hall comes in and gets an inning-ending force out, then retires the last six batters for the save.

10/13/1970: Dave McNally bats and pitches the Orioles to a 9-3 win over the Reds in Game 3 of the World Series at Memorial Stadium. McNally’s 6th inning grand slam – the only one by a pitcher in World Series history – gives the Orioles an 8-1 lead, and he goes on to a complete-game victory as the Orioles take a 3-0 lead in the series.

10/15/1970: The Orioles win their second World Series title, beating the Reds, 9-3, in Game 5 at Memorial Stadium. Mike Cuellar goes the distance, and Frank Robinson and Merv Rettenmund hit home runs. Brooks Robinson bats .429 in the series, but it is his defense that earns him series MVP honors.

7/28/1971: Trailing the A’s 2-0 in the bottom of the 9th, the Orioles get two hits off Blue Moon Odom before Rollie Fingers comes on in relief. Frank Robinson belts Fingers’ first pitch over the fence in left for a walk-off three-run homer. It is Brooks Robinson’s worst day in the game, as he commits three errors – all in the 5th inning – and goes 0-for-3, grounding into two double plays.

9/13/1971: After homering in the Orioles’ 9-1 win in the opener, Frank Robinson goes deep with two outs in the 9th off Detroit’s Fred Scherman in the nightcap for his 500th career homer in a 10-5 loss. Frank becomes the 11th player in big league history to reach 500 home runs. He’ll finish his career with 586.

9/29/1971: The Orioles end the regular season with a 1-0 win over Boston, giving them 11 straight wins and 101 victories on the season to become the third of six teams with 3 consecutive 100-win seasons. The others are the Athletics (1929-31), Cardinals (1942-44), Braves (1997-99), Yankees (2002-04) and Astros (2017-19).

10/3/1971: Dave McNally beats the A’s, 5-3, with relief help from Eddie Watt in the opening game of the ALCS at Memorial Stadium. The Orioles score four runs in the 7th off Oakland’s Vida Blue.

10/4/1971: Boog Powell homers twice, Brooks Robinson and Elrod Hendricks each go deep, and Mike Cuellar bests Catfish Hunter, 5-1, in Game 2 of the ALCS at Memorial Stadium, as the Orioles take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-three series over the A’s.

10/5/1971: Jim Palmer gives up three solo homers and the Orioles beat the A’s 5-3 to sweep their best-of-5 American League Championship Series at Oakland. The victory is the Orioles’ 9th in nine ALCS games over three seasons and clinches their third straight American League pennant.

10/9/1971: Despite committing three errors, the Orioles beat the Pirates, 5-3, in Game 1 of the World Series behind home runs by Frank Robinson, Merv Rettenmund and Don Buford. Dave McNally retires 21 of the last 22 Pirate batters.

10/11/1971: The Orioles erupt for six runs in the 6th inning and go on to beat the Pirates, 11-3, for a 2-0 lead in the World Series. Brooks Robinson collects three hits and three RBI, Merv Rettenmund ties a series record with two hits in the 6th inning and Jim Palmer hurls a complete game victory. Palmer also becomes the first player to draw two bases-loaded walks in a World Series game.

10/16/1971: The Orioles beat the Pirates, 3-2, in 10 innings to force a 7th game of the World Series. Frank Robinson walked and raced to third on Merv Rettenmund’s single to center, then slid home with the winning run on Brooks Robinson’s shallow sacrifice fly to center fielder Vic Davililo. Unfortunately, the Orioles would go on to lose the deciding Game 7.

10/6/1973: Jim Palmer strikes out 12 while shutting out Oakland, 6-0, as the Orioles return to the post-season after a year’s absence and win Game 1 of the AL Championship Series. It is the Orioles’ 10th straight win in the ALCS, but they would eventually lose the series to the A’s, three-games-to-two.