This game took place on June 14, 1970. It is being recapped today as part of Camden Chat’s retro recap series while MLB is on hold due to coronavirus.
As we hop back into our Orioles’ time machine and recap another game from the golden age of Baltimore baseball, let’s remember what else happened on June 14, 1970. Former NFL cornerback Willie Beamon of the New York Giants was born in Glade, Florida. Not to be confused with ‘Steamin’ Willie Beamen, portrayed by Jamie Foxx in the 1999 Oliver Stone film Any Given Sunday. Notice the slight deviation in spelling.
Also on June 14, but all the way back in 1922, a local Baltimore radio station named WEAR became the first to put a president — who happened to be Warren G. Harding at the time — on the airwaves. Who knew?
One thing we can all be sure of, though, is that they don’t make starting pitchers the way they used to. This retro recap is just one piece of evidence.
They also don’t name pitchers like they used to, as evidenced by the 1970 Oakland Athletics. Their starter in this particular pitching duel was Blue Moon Odom, who lasted six innings while allowing five hits, two runs (one earned), four walks and four strikeouts. He was relieved by Mudcat Grant, who threw two scoreless innings with a strikeout, and Fred Talbot took the loss for the A’s after allowing two runs over 1.2 innings.
Jim Palmer went the distance for the Birds in the series finale against the Athletics, which came right in the middle of a 12-game homestand in Charm City. Oakland took the first two games of the series, bringing the Orioles into this matchup with a 4-6 record in the 10 games prior.
The cure for those ills was none other than ace right-hander Jim Palmer. Not to mention some timely hitting in the bottom of the 10th.
The O’s right-hander threw his ninth complete game of the year and it was only June 14. He would add eight more to that total by the time the 1970 regular season ended. On this particular day at Memorial Stadium, Palmer was the only pitcher the Orioles required, lasting 10 innings while allowing eight hits, two earned runs, three walks and nine strikeouts. He was even able to help out his own cause at the plate.
In the bottom of the second the Orioles had two men on base with one out when Palmer knocked a single to right field, driving home Davey Johnson and allowing Elrod Hendricks to score on Felipe Alou’s error.
That 2-0 lead would hold until the eighth inning, when Palmer allowed a sacrifice fly off the bat of Sal Bando and an RBI single from Alou to tie the game at two.
The Orioles had a chance to scratch a run across in the bottom of the ninth but stranded a runner in scoring position. With one out, Brooks Robinson worked a walk and was replaced at first base by Chico Salmon, who stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error. But that’s the furthest he would get, as Davey Johnson and Elrod Hendricks followed with back-to-back fly outs to end the inning and send the game into extras.
The player responsible for the walk-off win in the bottom of the 10th — Dave May — didn’t even start this particular game. He came off the bench in the top of the sixth to replace Terry Crowley in right field and took his spot hitting third in the lineup.
In May’s first at-bat, in the bottom of the eighth, he grounded out to second base off of Mudcat Grant. He came up to the plate for his second and final at-bat of the game in the O’s half of the 10th.
With Talbot on the hill for the A’s at that point, Frank Robinson led off the 10th with a single to left field. The next hitter, Don Buford, took Robinson’s place at first base after a fielder’s choice groundout. Then Mark Belanger hit a fly ball to left field for out number two, which brought May up to the plate. He launched a home run to deep right field, scoring two runs and giving Baltimore a walk-off win in extra innings.
It was the fourth walk-off win of the season for the Birds.
Who was the Most Birdland player for June 14, 1970?
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Jim Palmer (WP, 10 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 9 SO and 1-for-3 with an RBI)
Dave May (game-winning 2-R HR)
Davey Johnson (1-for-3, R, BB)
Elrod Hendricks (1-for-4, R)