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Moe Drabowsky: 1935-2006

Moe Drabowsky died Saturday at age 70 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Drabowsky pitched for the Orioles from 1966-1968 and in 1970. He was a legendary prankster and also had been working for the O's the last 13 seasons as an instructor in Florida.

Drabowsky's greatest accomplishment came in game one of the 1966 World Series, when he struck out 11 batters in 6 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. He was also the first Royals pitcher to ever win a game, gave up Stan Musial's 3000th hit, and was the loser in Early Wynn's 300th win. From the AP article:

Slipping sneezing powder into the air conditioning system of the opponent's locker room was a pet trick. So was putting goldfish in the other team's water cooler. He was a master at hotfoots and claimed [Bowie] Kuhn as one of his victims, lighting the commissioner's shoe on fire during the Orioles' 1970 Series win over Cincinnati.

Oh, and the snakes: Because of Drabowsky, they'd show up in shaving kits, lockers and many other places. During a reunion dinner in Baltimore, in fact, one of them slithered out of Brooks Robinson's bread basket and frightened him.

Drabowsky made his share of crank calls from bullpen phones, too. He used the one at Anaheim Stadium to order takeout food from a Chinese restaurant in Hong Kong. His favorite gag ever, he said, came at old Municipal Stadium in Kansas City.

"I had pitched there for a few years so I was familiar with the phone system. I knew the extension of the Kansas City bullpen and you could dial it direct from the visitor's bullpen," Drabowsky once recalled.

"One game, Jim Nash of the Athletics is cruising against us in about the fifth inning. So I call their bullpen and shout 'Get Krausse up' and hang up.

"You should've seen them scramble, trying to get Lew Krausse warmed up in a hurry," Drabowsky said. "It really was funny."