The last World Series game to be played in Baltimore happened about a month before I was born. Game 2 of that series against the Phillies took place on October 12, 1983. Though we know now the O's would go on to win the championship, it was no sure thing going into the game, with the team trailing 1-0. I have been hearing about this game for my whole life. My parents were there and so was I. My seat had an obstructed view.
Four future Hall of Famers played in the game. Joe Morgan and Mike Schmidt were in the lineup for Philadelphia, with Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken playing for Baltimore. Hall of Famers Steve Carlton and Jim Palmer pitched in other games of the series. Future hits leader Pete Rose batted second for the Phillies. The stars were out. So were a whole legion fans in what would turn out to be the final postseason game played in Memorial Stadium.
The Orioles went on to win the third championship in their history by winning the next three games, all in Philadelphia.
Camden Chat has been in existence since 2005, meaning there are a lot of great Orioles games that we never got to write about. For the rest of the offseason, we'll be occasionally posting retro recaps like this one, games that mean something to our writers. What might Orioles bloggers have written if they existed back then? Strap in. This time machine is going for a ride.
The young Mike Boddicker did it again. Facing a 1-0 deficit in the World Series against Philadelphia, the Baltimore Orioles turned to their 25-year-old rookie in Game 2, as they did in the League Championship Series. Boddicker did not disappoint, turning in a complete game with only an unearned run allowed as Baltimore evened up the World Series with a 4-1 victory over the Phillies on Wednesday night in front of 52,132 at Memorial Stadium.
Boddicker and Phillies starter Charles Hudson had a scoreless duel through three innings, with Boddicker retiring the side in order each time.
The first baserunner he allowed came when Joe Morgan led off the fourth inning with a single to shortstop. Morgan is 40, eight years removed from his peak year with 67 stolen bases. He can still take advantage of the speed that let him accumulate nearly 700 steals in his career. Not content with merely getting on base, the Phillies second baseman took off on the first pitch. That was in spite of the presence behind the plate of Rick Dempsey, who threw out 37% of attempted base stealers on the season.
Another wiley veteran, 42-year-old Pete Rose, tried to bunt his way on. Dempsey pounced, retiring Rose and holding Morgan on second. Third baseman Mike Schmidt grounded what should have been the second out to shortstop, but Eddie Murray could not hold on to the throw from Cal Ripken Jr. That turned what would have been a harmless fly ball for a third out by right fielder Jim Lefebvre into an RBI sacrifice fly, putting the Phillies on the board first.
In the song, every game has a different star. Some games have more than one. When the Orioles struck, they struck fast. Left fielder John Lowenstein led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a home run to the deepest part of center field. The solo homer was his first of the postseason and it knotted the game at 1-1.
Before Hudson could blink, second baseman Rich Dauer laced a single to left and Todd Cruz surprised everyone by dragging a bunt down the third base line. That left two men on for Dempsey, career .240 hitter. The thing about failing three out of four times is that there's still the one time you succeed. Baseball games ride on the one time. Dempsey, in a 1-2 count, doubled deep down the right field line. They weren't playing him there. Dauer scored and Cruz chugged to third.
That brought up the pitcher, Boddicker, who was making his third professional plate appearance since being drafted in the sixth round in 1978. There is no designated hitter to hide behind in the World Series. That was no problem for Boddicker, who put a ball in play to left field that did enough to drive in Cruz from third base, putting the Orioles up 3-1.
Hudson's day ended. He was relieved by Willie Hernandez, who ended the threat, but not without loading the bases first. O's right fielder Disco Dan Ford was hit in the head by a pitch. He went down after being hit, though he would remain in the game. Hernandez walked Ripken, but retired Murray on a strikeout to keep his team with a chance to win the game.
They would have had a chance if they weren't facing Boddicker in Baltimore, at least. The rookie pitcher enjoyed great success in his home stadium during the season, pitching to a 2.11 ERA, including nine complete games and four shutouts. After the run scored in the fourth inning, the Phillies did not get a runner in scoring position for the remainder of the game.
The Orioles tacked on a run in the bottom of the seventh inning with three consecutive two-out singles. Center fielder John Shelby reached on an infield single, then took third when Ford singled to right. Ripken drove in Shelby for the fourth run, setting the score at what would be the 4-1 final.
Boddicker closed down the Phillies in order in the ninth, retiring Morgan, Rose, and Schmidt in order. They have nearly eight thousand career hits between the three of them. Boddicker is in his first season as a big league starter. On baseball's biggest stage, he was unfazed by the legendary players he was tasked with facing. Now the Orioles are three wins away from winning a championship in the first season without skipper Earl Weaver at the helm.
Fans of the O's can hope that this series follows the same pattern as the last. After the team fell in Game 1 of the ALCS to probable AL Cy Young winner LaMarr Hoyt, Boddicker took the mound in Game 2 and threw a shutout. The O's did not lose another game in the series. They have now rallied behind Boddicker to win Game 2 after losing Game 1 to probable NL Cy Young winner John Denny.
The Phillies are seeking their second World Series championship in four seasons.
The best-of-seven matchup now heads to Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, where it will resume on Friday after a day off. The series will not return to Baltimore until Game 6, if necessary. Game 3 will feature a duel of former Cy Young winners as the starting pitchers, with 1979 AL winner Mike Flanagan opposing four-time NL winner Steve Carlton.