This game took place on April 13, 1966. It is being recapped today as part of Camden Chat’s retro recap series while MLB is on hold due to the lockout.
The second game of the 1966 season was a coming out party of sorts for legendary Orioles starter Jim Palmer. The young right-hander burst onto the major league scene one season prior at the age of 19, when he appeared in 27 games — including six starts — and threw a total of 92 innings with a 3.72 ERA for the O’s. But this day game against the Red Sox marked the first time that Palmer threw a complete game.
Not only did Palmer go the distance on the mound — allowing one run on five hits, eight walks, and six strikeouts — but he delivered at the plate as well. And in true Palmer fashion, he was not afraid to pitch around guys, working in and out of trouble throughout the game as far as permitting and then eliminating Red Sox baserunners. Palmer’s complete game was the first of many, as he threw five more of them in 1966 alone. Nearly 20 years later, he would finish his career with 211.
The 1966 season started with a brief two-game series on the road in Fenway Park. Opening day on April 12, which Paul Folkemer recently recapped, saw the Orioles win a 5-4 nail-biter over the Red Sox in 13 innings. The final score wasn’t nearly as close the next day.
In game two, 20-year-old Jim Palmer led the O’s to an 8-1 victory that capped a series sweep. It was the start of a dominant Baltimore run that year against the Red Sox that saw the Birds go 12-6 with a 95-62 head-to-head run differential.
As the Baltimore Sun’s Jim Elliot wrote, the Orioles added insult to injury for the fewer than 2,000 fans that showed up to Fenway Park by blowing out the Red Sox in mid-40 degree weather.
Baltimore pulled out to an early lead in the first and never looked back. Red Sox starter Dave Morehead only lasted three innings, giving up of four runs before he was replaced by Ken Sanders in the top of the fourth.
The Robinsons — Frank and Brooks — hit back-to-back solo home runs in the top of the first to give Baltimore a quick 2-0 lead. An inning later, the Birds used the long ball again to increase their advantage. This time it was Palmer who helped his own cause.
In the second inning, Davey Johnson led off with a single before Paul Blair and Andy Etchebarren hit consecutive ground ball outs. That’s when Palmer came to the plate and cracked a two-run homer to left, extending the O’s lead to four. It was Palmer’s second career home run.
It wasn’t until the bottom of the fourth that Boston got its first hit of the game, a ground ball single to right field by Tony Horton. But it wasn’t the Red Sox first baserunner. By that time, Palmer had already issued three walks in addition to collecting three strikeouts. He worked out of trouble in that frame by striking out Joe Foy and inducing a Rico Petrocelli fly out to strand two runners on base.
After a five-inning scoring hiatus, the Orioles doubled the length of their lead with the help of some fielding miscues. Pete Magrini was on the mound for the Red Sox when O’s left fielder Curt Blefary grounded out to start the eighth. Then the 1-2 punch of Frank and Brooks went to work, with the former reaching base on a hit-by-pitch before sneaking in his second stolen base of the season, and the latter working a walk.
Boog Powell reached on an infield single and then an error by second baseman Dalton Jones — who pinch-hit for George Smith an inning earlier and replaced him in the field to start the eighth — allowed Frank Robinson to score and put runners on second and third. Davey Johnson grounded to third but was safe on an error by Joe Foy, loading the bases for Paul Blair. The O’s center fielder came through with a bases-clearing three-run double that broke the game wide open. 8-1, O’s.
Jim Palmer set the Red Sox down in order in the eighth and came back out to face the bottom of the lineup in the ninth. It was no longer a shutout by the end of the inning, but Palmer was able to finish off the Sox and earn his first career complete game. The righty had allowed two walks and a single in between a couple of fly ball outs before Carl Yastrzemski hit an RBI single to score Boston’s lone run of the game.
The afternoon ended on a strikeout of Tony Conigliaro. It was Palmer’s sixth strikeout of the night, and the start of an incredible season that would see the young right-hander establish himself as one of the best starting pitchers in baseball.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for April 13, 1966?
This poll is closed
Frank Robinson (1-for-4, solo HR, 2 R, SB)
Brooks Robinson (1-for-4, solo HR, 2 R, BB)
Paul Blair (1-for-4, 2B, 3 RBI)
Jim Palmer (WP, CG, 2-R HR)