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Retro Orioles recap: Robinson’s sparkling catch helps O’s salvage split

Baltimore takes one of two in House That Ruth Built thanks to right fielder’s tumbling grab of potential game-winner.

Frank Robinson

This doubleheader took place on June 21, 1966. It is being recapped today as part of Camden Chat’s retro recap series while MLB is on hold due to the lockout.

Frank Robinson has become known for his bat this season. But it was his glove that made the difference at Yankee Stadium Tuesday afternoon.

Robinson robbed New York’s Roy White of a game-winning home run for the last out of the first game of a doubleheader, helping the Orioles to a 7-5 victory. The Yankees bounced back for an 8-3 victory in the nightcap.

White, who had already homered, was threatening to walk it off for the Yankees with another blast. Eddie Watt got the first two outs of the ninth but then allowed a single to Tom Tresh and walked Bobby Richardson. Manager Hank Bauer brought in Stu Miller, whose offering to White was tagged to right field.

Robinson, the Orioles’ leading slugger, retreated to the wall and, right in front of the 344 foot sign, leapt while tumbling backwards over the wall. Robinson made the catch and held on, giving the Orioles the victory despite Yankees skipper Ralph Houk’s protests.

It looked like it would be a day not needing such drama early when the Orioles jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second inning against Mel Stottlemyre. Boog Powell and Curt Blefary smacked consecutive one-out singles, and Davey Johnson had another to score Powell. Vic Roznovsky had a single to score both Blefary and Johnson, and after Luis Aparicio walked, Russ Snyder hit a single to left to score Rosnovsky and Aparicio and push the O’s lead to five.

After New York’s Joe Pepitone got a run back with a home run in the bottom of the second, Powell bumped the lead back to five at 6-1 when he drove a homer deep to right field, his 13th long ball of the season. Baltimore upped the lead to six when Frank Robinson brought in Aparicio with a sacrifice fly in the sixth.

Staked out to a comfortable lead, the Orioles nevertheless had to sweat when the Yankees, who are trying to rebound from their first losing season in 40 years, began their rally. In the bottom half of the sixth, White homered after Richardson walked, making it 7-3. Orioles starter Wally Bunker continued to struggle, giving up singles to Roger Maris and Pepitone, and Bauer brought in Moe Drabowsky to limit the damage.

The move backfired, as Elston Howard singled to score Maris, and after Ray Barker walked, Clete Boyer hit a sacrifice fly off of Watt to make it 7-5. Watt rolled through the seventh and the eighth, setting the stage for New York’s final comeback attempt, and Robinson’s heroics, in the ninth.

Robinson has been getting acclaim for his offensive heroics, and for good reason. Even with an 0-for-2 day at the plate, he’s batting .332 with 18 home runs and 41 RBI. He’s provided a spark for the Orioles’ lineup since coming over in the trade with Cincinnati, and his grab showed the all-around game he’s brought to the team with his acquisition.

Robinson couldn’t carry the O’s in the nightcap, however. He tried; his RBI single in the first scored Aparicio, who led off the game with a triple, and Powell followed in the third with his second home run of the day, this time of the two-run variety to make it 3-0.

This time, however, the Yankees had the ability to escape the hole. After Boyer doubled off Frank Bertaina to lead off the bottom of the third and White walked, Fritz Peterson reached on a Bertaina error and Tresh followed with a two-run single to make it 3-2.

Tresh homered in the fifth to tie the game at 3, and the Orioles fell behind for good in the seventh. Hal Reniff walked, chasing Bertaina, and Tresh greeted Gene Brabender with a single. Mickey Mantle’s sacrifice fly scored Reniff to put the Yankees ahead, and RBI singles by Pepitone, Howard and Boyer, the latter a two-run hit, ran the lead to 8-3.

Powell finished the day 3-for-8 with two home runs and three RBI, while Aparicio had a double and a triple. Bunker got the win in the first game with five innings of five-run ball, allowing seven hits and striking out three, and saw his record improve to 7-4. Bertaina fell to 1-3, going six innings while allowing four runs, all earned, on six hits and striking out two.

While the nightcap loss put a damper on the day, the Orioles moved to 43-23 with the results, and are two games in front of Detroit, which defeated Washington 5-2. The Yankees fell to 27-34.


Who was the Most Birdland Player for June 21, 1966?

This poll is closed

  • 53%
    Frank Robinson (game-winning catch, two RBI)
    (22 votes)
  • 43%
    Boog Powell (3-for-8, two HRs, three RBI)
    (18 votes)
  • 2%
    Luis Aparicio (2B, 3B)
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    Eddie Watt (3.2 IP, hold, 1 H, 3 Ks)
    (0 votes)
41 votes total Vote Now