It was on 10/16/83 when the O's beat the Phils 5-0 behind a Scott McGreggor shutout to win the Series 4-1. For "domestically violating" Philly pitching at a .385 clip and handling a pitching staff that held Philly hitting to .195, Rick Dempsey was named Series MVP. And Cal Ripken was the AL season MVP.
The final standings will show a convincing 6 game regular season margin of victory, but that doesn't tell the whole story. It was a legitimate 5-way race well into August with the Os only pulling away in the last 6 weeks or so.
In Detroit, Sparky Anderson had all the pieces in place of a team that would win 104 games the next year.
Billy Martin was brought back to the Yankees after a horrid '82 season to prove that the core of the '77-'78 championship team was still strong.
The talented but inexperienced Blue Jays were led to the 1st winning season in team history by Bobby Cox.
And Harvey [Keunn]'s Wallbangers of Milwaukee, last year's pennant winners, still had a beefy lineup, even if the pitching had dropped off some.
With competition like that, no wonder there were questions if rookie manager Joe Altobelli, taking over from Earl himself, could run with the larger canines of the division! Only the Red Sox & Indians were out of it from the beginning.
But whatever it is that separates the winners from everyone else down the stretch, the Os found it. A perfect example of this was a Sep. game against Toronto when Tippy Martinez walked - and then picked off - 3 baby Jays in succession.
Then it was on to Chicago to play the White Sox, winners of the west by 20 games. A formidable lineup led by Kittle, Baines & Luzinski combined with the pitching of Hoyt, Dotson & Burns all pointed to Tony LaRussa's 1st pennant in his 1st full season. Eh, not so much. O's 3 - Sox 1.
And finally the Series, against the badly geezing Phillies, fresh off their own upset of LA in the NL playoffs, was rather anticlimactic.
If you were there it's worth remembering. If not, it's worth finding out about.