[This post is part of a four-part series on the early Orioles from inception up to the '66 World Series victory. The first segment deals with the Orioles from the Browns' move in '54 up to the '64 season. The second deals with the '64 season up to the '66 season. The third deals with the happenings during the 1966 pennant season, and the fourth with the '66 World Series and aftermath. I've interspersed facts, pictures and details with my personal recollections growing up in this era of Orioles baseball. Hope you enjoy! -- Tony]
(Note: All newspaper images are copyright Baltimore Sun/Tribune Media. All baseball card photos are copyright Topps Company. All Sporting News images are copyright Sporting News Holdings.)
The Sunday Sun included a special World Series section on the weekend before the Series, with many pages of articles devoted to every aspect of the team, and biographies of all 25 players on the roster. The section was headed with some not terribly funny World Series-themed cartoons.
Figure 37 – World Series section in the Sunday Sun
I loved these special baseball sections, and I poured over every article, usually multiple times. In general, I saved these sections into my pile of sports-related memorabilia to revisit multiple times in the future.
One thing that the cartoons weren't kidding about: Sales of color TVs. The regular Orioles broadcasts in 1966 were in black and white. The World Series was going to show the Orioles in "living" color. The special World Series section of the Sun was chock-full of ads for color TVs. Some of the newest models were solid-state and did away with the tubes that powered the first generation of TVs. That $449 for a 21" color TV corresponds to over $4,000 in today's dollars. You really had to want to see the game in color to pay that much!
Figure 38 – Save lots of money - Get you color TV just in time for the game!
We had an older black-and-white tube TV. I don't think my parents had the money to fork out that much for a color TV until several years later. Our TV got the three local channels, 2, 11, and 13, as well as a grainy channel 5 from Washington. You had to click the dial to the desired channel, then tune the surrounding ring around the dial until the best picture appeared. If the picture flipped up or down, we'd have to tune the vertical hold adjustment until it stabilized. We became experts at TV tuning.
Things were much more economical if you wanted simply to listen to the game on a portable transistor radio. Local drugstore Reads ran a World Series special on an 8-transistor baseball-shaped Baltimore Champ radio for only $7.99, including a baseball bat tripod.
The 1966 National League race had come down to the final Sunday, as the Dodgers held a slim two-game lead over the Giants going into day. Both teams had played only 160 games, with the Dodgers having a double-header scheduled on their last day. The Giants were scheduled for only one game, and would have to play a 162nd make-up game, if required. One Giant loss or one Dodger win would clinch the pennant for Los Angeles.
The Dodgers lost their first game 4-3 on a Phillies comeback in the eighth, while the Giants won their game in eleven innings to cut the Dodgers lead to one game, with one game remaining. In their second game of the day, the Dodgers decided to pull out all the stops and started star pitcher Sandy Koufax on only two days rest to attempt secure the pennant once and for all.
And Koufax responded with a fine performance, taking a 6-0 lead into the ninth. Trusting no one else, Manager Walt Alston left Koufax in for the complete game. Koufax ended up letting three runs cross the plate before getting the final out and giving the pennant to the Dodgers.
Figure 40 – Dodgers win the NL pennant, Barber out of the World Series, Frank takes the Triple Crown, and Yankees in last place
So, it was set. The Orioles would face the Dodgers, who'd won two of the previous three World Series, including last year's against the Twins.
The good news, from the Orioles perspective, was that the Series started in just three days. This meant that the Dodgers, who would not be wanting to send Koufax out again on only two-days' rest, would start Drysdale for the first game.
The bad news was that Boog Powell, who was almost done with the healing of his left ring finger chip fracture, had suffered a slight sprain in his wrist when checking his swing in the first game of the season-ending doubleheader. The team doctor was optimistic that Powell would be able to play the World Series Opener.
Bauer was undecided who to start for game 3 of the series, and it was down to Wally Bunker, Eddie Watt, or lefty Frank Bertaina, who had been effective in nine starts for the Orioles during the season. Bauer's belief was that the Dodgers lineup usually had a hard time dealing with lefty pitching.
23-year-old Dave McNally was Bauer's choice to face off against the Dodgers Don Drysdale in game one. Bauer stated that if the series went to seven games, McNally would start three times.
All World Series games of this era were played during the afternoon. It would be several more years before the first World Series game would be played at night. The opening two games were scheduled for in Chavez Ravine, the Dodgers home stadium in Los Angeles, the most extreme pitcher's park in the majors.
Due to the three-hour time difference between coasts, I could watch the Wednesday and Thursday opening games when I got home from school. For once, the dreaded West Coast time difference worked to my advantage.
The Series was shown in Baltimore (in color!) on two stations, Ch. 11 (NBC) which had the national broadcast rights, and Ch. 13 (ABC, at that time), which also was showing the game live, probably due to their having local broadcast rights.
Figure 41 – Baltimore TV listings for the first World Series game
The Dodgers were 8-5 favorites to take the series, with pundits, and bettors, figuring that the Dodgers sterling pitching would stifle the O's "four good hitters." Even Sun sportswriter Bob Maisel of the Sun had to admit that, considering the Dodger's pitching and the way the Orioles had been playing the last two months of the season, that "there's no way anybody could pick the Orioles to beat the Dodgers unless they did it on sentiment." Maisel was very sentimental, however.
Figure 42 – Dodgers 1966 team picture
Figure 43 – Orioles 1966 team picture
The Dodgers were a relatively poor-hitting team, averaging only 3.74 runs per game, good for seventh in the league. By contrast, the Orioles averaged 4.72 runs per game, almost exactly a run better. But pitching-wise, the Dodgers 3.02 runs allowed per game topped the majors and bested the Orioles staff of 3.76 runs allowed per game by nearly three-quarters of a run. But the Dodgers home park was a pitcher's paradise, so both the Dodgers pitching prowess and their lack of hitting needed adjustments for any direct comparisons.
The Dodgers had three future hall-of-famers in their four-man pitching rotation, Koufax, Drysdale, and rookie Don Sutton. Sutton had a fine season in 1966, with a 2.99 ERA, almost half a run better than Drysdale, but Sutton was injured and unavailable for the Series. Their fourth pitcher, Claude Osteen, was a fine pitcher who had come over from the Senators in '65.
Koufax, the undisputed Dodgers' ace, Koufax, sparkled with a 1.73 ERA. Neither the Orioles, nor any other team in either league, for that matter, had a pitcher who could match up to Koufax in his peak. Looking at Koufax's value with today's tools shows Koufax in 1966 as 7.4 wins above an average pitcher, and 10.3 wins above a replacement. It certainly could be said, "as Koufax goes, so go the Dodgers."
Figure 44 – Drysdale and Koufax try to look intimidating. Someone has to remind them that only one pitcher is allowed at a time.
The Dodgers featured a balanced lineup, with no real superstars. Their best hitter, left-handed outfielder Ron Fairly, was an excellent hitter, but one who had an enormous platoon split. Dodger's manager Walt Alston determined that Fairly would not start in games where lefty McNally was pitching.
Speedster Maury Wills was no longer a potent offensive force, and his 38 base-steals for the year were achieved along with 24 times caught stealing, rendering his base-thievery a net-negative. Wills often tried to bunt for a base hit, but so highly regarded was Brooks' defense against the bunt that the Dodgers shut down that aspect of their offense.
Boog Powell had recovered enough from his wrist strain to start Game 1 against Dodgers' righty Don Drysdale. Lefty Dave McNally, the Orioles best remaining starter, was tabbed to face off against Drysdale.
Manager Hank Bauer planned the same lineup for every game save for alternating between Russ Snyder and Paul Blair in centerfield, with Snyder hitting second in the lineup when starting, and Blair batting seventh when he started. Snyder was slotted for Game 1. Bauer committed prior to the Series to having Curt Blefary start all World Series games, despite the fact that the lefty's platoon split was almost as bad as Fairly's.
This is a case where Bauer seemed to be going with his gut, rather than using any statistical data. Snyder was a far-better hitter than Blefary against lefties and was also a much superior fielder. Going with Blair and Snyder against the Dodger's two left-handed-starters would seem to have made a lot of sense.
The Dodgers' World Series program cover showed a giant, ogre-like Dodger player using his cap to capture a smaller, somewhat ornithologically-correct Baltimore Oriole in a O's uniform. The Dodgers had no mascot, so apparently, the ogre was the best they could come up with.
The Orioles program cover features the artsy photo of Brooks Robinson batting that Gordon Beard used for his book cover. At the time, this effect was accomplished by manually zooming a lens during a long exposure, resulting in a sharper center with radiating streaks. The technique was popular for a while, but the novelty of this effect was short-lived. For some reason, the Orioles program cost twice as much the Dodgers version.
Figure 45 – Dodgers’ World Series Program seems overconfident
Figure 46 – The Orioles’ World Series Program just looked cool
Game 1 started on Wednesday, October 5 in Los Angeles, as future Orioles' Hall-of-Famer Dave McNally faced off against future MLB Hall-of-Famer Don Drysdale. Righty Drysdale hadn't had his best season, but it was probably inevitable that Manager Alston would go with one of his two veteran aces to start the Series.
The Dodgers started slugging righty (and future Oriole) Tommy Davis in left field in place of Fairly, with the swift Willie Davis in centerfield and Lou Johnson in right. The infield sported Wes Parker at first, Jim Lefebvre at second, Maury Wills at short, and 37-year old veteran Junior Gilliam at third, with John Roseboro behind the plate.
The O's countered with an outfield of Frank Robinson, Russ Snyder and Curt Blefary, and their never-changing infield of Powell, Johnson, Aparicio, and Brooks, with Etchebarren performing the catching duties.
I wasn't familiar with any of the Dodgers' players other than Koufax, Drysdale, and Wills, and maybe Roseboro for his famous incident with Marichal. They didn't have any superstar position players, or recent batting average or home run leaders in their lineup, so, to me, they were relatively unknown. Tommie Davis had won two batting titles in '62 and 63', but I was too young for that to have made an impression.
The Orioles led off in the top of the first with leadoff man Aparicio, who flied out. Snyder then draw a walk. This brought up Orioles Triple-Crown winner Frank Robinson for his first Series at bat against Don Drysdale, a pitcher he'd faced many times before when with the Reds. Frank blasted a ball to left, clearing the 3-ft left field wall and left-fielder Tommy Davis by just enough, and landing three or four rows back into the seats. And just like that, the Orioles were up 2-0. Brooks Robinson, batting cleanup, must have been watching Frank, as he drove Drysdale's pitch to the almost identical location as Frank's, although his shot went several rows further back.
The Orioles had a 3-0 lead in the first inning with just one out. Unknown to anyone at the time, they had already scored more runs that the Dodgers would score during the entire series.
This is the part of the World Series that I recall most vividly. And I couldn't have scripted it much better. The Orioles two biggest stars, and my favorite player, homering in the first inning of the first World Series game. Things were looking pretty good. In general, I greatly preferred Orioles blowout victories to the nail-biting thrillers. There was just so much less anxiety.
Blefary singled with two outs but was left stranded. It would turn out to be Blefary's lone hit of the series. Suffice to say that he was not the offensive star of the series for the O's.
In the second inning, Etchebarren walked, went to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on a Russ Snyder single. Now it was 4-0 Orioles. Snyder was having a good day.
In the Dodgers' second, Jim Lefevre blasted a lead-off home run, followed by Wes Parker's ground rule double. Fan interference probably cost Parker a triple. McNally seemed to be having control problems and issued a walk to light-hitting Junior Gilliam.
Uh-oh. Suddenly things weren't looking quite as rosy. My anxiety levels were rising. Cut it out, McNally!
Catcher Roseboro hit a sinking liner to the gap in right center, which was speared by Snyder in a superb catch, saving two runs, and marking the first out of the inning. In a surprise move, Dodgers manager Alston pinch hit for Drysdale, taking him out of the game after only two innings. In his place was veteran pinch-hitter Dick (Dr. Strangeglove) Stuart, a fine hitter who was capable of hitting the ball out of the park at any time. Stuart hit a deep fly ball to right which fortunately stayed in the park for the second out, with Parker advancing to third. Little Maury Wills then struck out, ending the Dodgers inning.
Only one run had scored, and things were still looking okay. My heart rate was starting to go back down
Reliever Joe Moeller replaced Drysdale and set down the O's in order in the third. McNally started the Dodgers' third by getting a pop fly out, then proceeded to load the bases by walking the next three batters.
Here we go again! McNally seemed to be ignoring my advice through the TV screen to "just throw strikes!" Can't we just have an easy win for once?
That was enough for Bauer, who replaced McNally with long reliever Moe Drabowsky. Moe struck out Parker for out number two, then walked Junior Gilliam on a full count, Gilliam's second of the day, to force in Dodgers run number two, making the score now 4-2, and the bases were still loaded. Catcher Roseboro fouled out to the catcher, ending the Dodgers threat.
Davey Johnson's led off with a double in the fourth, eventually coming around to score restore the Orioles three-run cushion at 5-2.
In an unexpected turn of events, Drabowsky then morphed into the Orioles' version of Koufax, striking out the side in his next two innings, all on swinging strikes, and tying the World Series record of six K's in a row.
Yes! Drabowsky was my new hero. We begin rooting for strikeouts on every Dodger batter. It seems to be working, at least for a couple of innings.
Bauer left Drabowsky in to finish the game, and he ended up with five more strikeouts (four swinging and one foul bunt by the pitcher), for a total of 11 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings. It was Drabowsky's longest relief out of the year, and certainly one of the all-time best World Series pitching performances.
All the O's hitters had gotten at least one hit except for leadoff man Aparicio. Frank's and Brooks' homers had staked the team to an early lead, and Snyder's fielding had maintained the lead, until Drabowsky appeared, shutting down the Dodgers for good.
The O's had won Game 1, and for the first time ever, the Dodgers had lost a World Series game in Chavez Ravine. The Orioles were hoping it wouldn't be the last.
I was ecstatic! This was about as good an outcome as I could have ever hoped for.
Game two featured a match between 20-year-old Orioles right-hander Jim Palmer, the team's leader in wins with 15, against the Dodgers' legend, Sandy Koufax, who led the Dodgers, and the majors, with 27 wins. On paper, the Dodgers appeared to have the upper hand. Ron Fairly returned to the Dodgers lineup, batting cleanup. Paul Blair started for the O's in center in place of Snyder.
Game 2 started out, as promised, with a pitcher's duel. No runs were scored in the first four innings. The Dodger's threatened in the second, getting runners on second and third with one out. But Roseboro popped out, and first-baseman Wes Parker, batting eighth, was intentionally walked to face Koufax with the bases loaded. Manager Alston was not about to take Koufax out of the game for a pinch-hitter, so Koufax batted and popped out to Johnson at second base, ending the threat.
In the Orioles fourth, things began to happen, mostly in the Dodger's outfield. Powell led off with a single, then with one out, Blair lofted a routine fly ball to centerfielder Willie Davis. Davis lost the ball in the sun, sending Powell to third and Blair to second. Etchebarren followed with a short fly to center, which Davis again lost in the sun. Davis attempt to recover resulted in an errant throw to third. Both runners scored, and Etchebarren ended up at third base. Aparicio doubled with two outs to bring Etchebarren home, and the Orioles had a 3-0 lead. Davis was charged with three errors in the inning. Ouch.
I was even more ecstatic! Koufax had been touted as unbeatable. With a little help from Willie Davis and the afternoon sun, the Orioles now had a commanding lead.
In the Orioles sixth, Frank Robinson led off with a fly ball to right center that Willie Davis and Fairly let drop between them, resulting in with a gift triple. Powell singled him home, giving Boog two hits against the most dominant lefty in the game, and scoring the first Orioles earned run. Davey Johnson, followed with a single, and Blair was intentionally walked to bring up Etchebarren with the bases loaded. Etchebarren hit a sharp grounder to third, which resulted in a third-to-catcher-to-first double play, ending the threat.
In the meantime, Palmer was cruising through the Dodger's lineup, giving up only two more singles through the seventh.
Koufax was replaced with Dodgers' ace reliever Ron Perranoski in the seventh. In the Orioles eighth, a walk to Frank and a single by Brooks put the first two runners on. Powell bunted (!) to sacrifice the runners up one base.
Even as a nine-year old, I was not onboard with having the team's second-best slugger making a sacrifice bunt with two runners on and nobody out. C'mon Bauer, that's not a good move.
Johnson followed with a grounder that deflected of the pitcher, and Perranoski's desperation throw went past the first baseman, allowing both Frank and Brooks to score. It was scored as a hit and an error on the throw.
Palmer completed the game, and in the process, became the youngest pitcher to pitch a World Series shutout. Koufax had pitched well, yielding only one earned run, and even that run was due to a mix-up between outfielders that let the ball fall between them for a triple. The Dodgers committed an embarrassing six errors, and the Orioles were more than happy to take advantage of the home team's generosity.
Unknown at the time was the fact that this would be Koufax's very last game. His left arm woes were simply too painful, and he was concerned about doing lifelong damage to the arm should he continue pitching.
Johnson's single in the sixth would be the last hit off Sandy Koufax and Boog's two hits were impressive achievement.
The Orioles were now up two games to none, and the Series was moving to Baltimore, where the Orioles hoped to put the Series to bed.
The third game was held in Baltimore on Saturday, with the stadium fitted with temporary outfield seating that boosted the seating capacity to over 54,000. And for once, the Orioles had managed to sell out all seats.
The first two Orioles' World Series home games came on Saturday and Sunday, perfectly planned so I could watch the 1 pm games on TV. In general, I wouldn't have been able to see any home World Series day games had they been on weekdays, so this was the best of all possible outcomes. I was very happy.
Dick Brown, still recovering from a second brain surgery, threw out the first ball at the packed stadium, the first ever World Series game at Memorial Stadium.
Bauer decided to go with Bunker to start the third game, and the Dodgers counter with Claude Osteen. It was never really explained how Bauer had chosen Bunker for the start over Bertaina, the lefty who'd been more effective down the stretch, but his decision proved to be fortuitous.
The third game turned into an actual pitchers' duel, as the teams went through the first three innings with no real threats. In the Dodgers' fourth, Wes Parker's one-out drive to right center bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double, again robbing Parker of a possible triple, and of the possibility of scoring on next batter Willie Davis's fly ball to center. Bunker struck out Lefebvre to strand Parker at second base.
In the Orioles fifth, Paul Blair slammed an Osteen fastball into the left field bleachers to give the O's the lead. It was only the Orioles third hit of the game, and it would be the last hit they would get off Dodgers' pitching in this game.
Neither the O's nor the Dodgers mounted any real threats during the remaining innings. In the eighth, Tommie Davis, pinch-hitting for Osteen, led off with a single, and was moved to second on a sac bunt from Wills, but Bunker retired the next two batters end the Dodgers' opportunity.
And just like that, the Orioles had won the third game, 1-0, on Bunker's first shutout of the year. The Orioles had amassed only three hits to the Dodgers' six, but they had gotten the one hit that counted.
I don't recall much about this game in particular, but in general, one-run game were very stressful to my youthful fandom. Every opposing batter could be the potential tying run. When the Dodgers got a runner on, I feared a home run could give them the lead. Many times, it was hard for me to even watch.
As they are prone to do, press "experts" began speculating if Koufax would start on two-days rest in game four. Alston put an end to rumors, stating Koufax would start the fifth game if it needed to be played. The Orioles were hoping it wouldn't.
Bunker admitted to reporters that his arm "hurt like the devil" in pregame warmups. Hot packs and hot oil applications between every inning help to placate his aching arm. Bauer says he never even considered taking Bunker out. Times have changed.
Blair was jubilant after his homerun, a big smile crossing his face as his foot touched the plate. He was guessing a fast ball would be coming after seeing how Koufax had pitched him the day before and how Osteen had done the same in his first at bat. He guessed right.
Game four was a rematch between Drysdale and McNally. McNally blamed some of his control woes in game one on the slope of the Dodgers' pitching mound. This time, he was out to redeem himself back on his home turf.
Despite Blair's game 3 heroics, Russ Snyder got the start in centerfield for the O's.
In Los Angeles, before the Series had started, some Dodgers' fans had been so confident that a billboard had been erected stating "Would you believe four straight?" Now, ahead by 3 games to none, the Orioles erected a temporary billboard near the stadium with the same message, this one featuring a confident Orioles' bird, and the previous question mark had been replaced with an exclamation mark fashioned from a bat. It was not a question!
Just as in Game 3, the fourth world series game turned into a pitching duel. In the second, the Orioles got runners on first and second with one out after Brooks' single and a Blefary walk, but a double play ended the inning, with Blefary bowling over shortstop Maury Wills some five feet from the bag to try to break up the play. Times have changed.
In the Orioles fourth, Frank Robinson connected on a Don Drysdale fastball, powering the ball into the left field bleachers. Drysdale lowered his head and never looked up as the ball flew into the stands. He knew it was out.
Two batters later, Powell followed with a towering drive to center. Centerfielder Willie Davis backed up to the wall in right center, watched for several seconds, then moved laterally along the wall some 15 feet into dead center before leaping up and snaring the ball as it crossed the 410 mark in center. Truly the longest hang time of any fly ball I can recall seeing, and one of the strangest catches.
The Dodgers got the leadoff batters on in the fifth and sixth innings, but both times double plays erased the runner, the latter a strike-em-out throw-em-out double play on an attempted steal, with Drysdale at the plate. Over the course of his career, Drysdale had been an excellent hitter, for a pitcher, but in '66, he had regressed back to average, and it wasn't clear if the Dodgers should have put in a pinch hitter at this crucial point.
For the eighth inning, Bauer upgraded the outfield defense by sending Paul Blair into center and moving Snyder to left, replacing Blefary. And Lefebvre, leading off, immediately tested the replacement centerfielder, blasted a ball to left-center. Blair ranged back and leaped, making a spectacular grab to rob Lefebvre of his second home run of the series, and preserving the Orioles 1-0 lead.
The Series came down to the Dodgers' ninth, and a single by pinch-hitter Al Ferrara and a walk to Maury Wills put runners on first and second with only one-out
The tie run on second? The winning run on first? Suffice to say, I was not pleased at that moment. Why can't this be easy? Just get two more outs, please. I could barely watch.
Willie Davis hit a fly ball to Frank in right for the second out. Lou Johnson came up as the Dodgers' last hope. Johnson lofted a fly ball to center field, and Paul Blair settled under it and squeezed it for the final out, before leaping and bounding for joy.
I finally breathed again. All my fandom had been worth it for this moment. I soaked up the on-field celebrations and waited until the scene shifted into the locker room.
Brooks celebrated by leaping in the air while approaching McNally and Etchebarren at the mound, a moment captured by the Sun's photographer and put on the front page of the paper the next morning, with the slogan for the games repeated, now in the past tense: "Would You Believe It? Four Straight!"
Figure 57 - The Sun Headline after the sweep. As a matter of fact, we did believe it!
But the same scene captured from the other side of the field shows Robinson at peak leap and remains one of the most iconic of all Orioles pictures.
The raucous locker room was filled with jubilant players and reporters, all doused in champagne and shaving cream. I watched until they stopped the broadcast. It was all wonderful.
The Orioles had become the first AL team to sweep a World Series since 1950, and their pitchers had set a record by hurling 33 1/3 scoreless innings. Allowing only two runs for the entire Series broke the existing record of four, set by the Dodgers only three years earlier.
The O's had played flawless defense, equally the Series record for fewest errors (0). Amazingly, Bauer had used only 13 players for the entire series, tying another Series record.
Frank Robinson easily won the Series MVP as his two home runs and a triple paced all batters. The Orioles' pitching staff should have been given an honorable MVP, thought it would be hard to pick out one pitcher out of the four O's Series pitching stars. Drabosky and Bunker were drafted by the new KC Royals in the expansion draft. Drabowsky returned to the team in '70 and contributed to another Orioles championship. McNally would go on to play in three more Orioles World Series teams, and Palmer, incredibly, on five more, earning a World Series win on each of the three Orioles championship teams over three decades.
The Orioles Series victory combined timely hitting, excellent pitching, and sterling defense, and a few breaks at key moments that kept the Dodgers' from putting more than two runs on the board.
Koufax famously retires after the Series, taking with him the Dodgers chances of any near-term success. It would take them eight more years to get back to the World Series.
The Orioles stumbled a bit the next two years, but some key acquisitions helped them to become one of the AL's greatest dynasties over the next decade or more.
As of this writing, many of the members of the great '66 team have passed away. But the entire starting infield of Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell, Davey Johnson, and Luis Aparicio are still around, as is outfielder Russ Snyder, backup catcher Larry Haney, and pitchers Jim Palmer, Wally Bunker, Eddie Watt, Eddie Fisher, and Dick Hall.
The Orioles held a 50th year celebration of the '66 championship team, attended my many of the players on that year's roster.
Now, that promised funny story about Gordon Beard's book, "Birds on the Wing. The Story of the Baltimore Orioles." I purchased my copy as soon as it came out in 1967. On the back cover it says the book can be purchased from National Beer Dealers for $1.00, but I think it could be bought just about anywhere at the time.
Our family went on a trip to California that summer and during the trip, we visited the San Diego Zoo. At the Zoo gift shop, I was astonished to see an entire rack of books containing dozens of copies of Beard's "Birds on the Wing." They were on super sale at a practically giveaway price.
Apparently, the book buyer at the Zoo had just looked at the title and thought this was a book about the actual avian bird and had made a wholesale order from the publisher. Too bad I already had my copy!
Frank Robinson won the '66 AL MVP in a unanimous vote. Frank, Brooks, and Boog finished 1,2, and 3 in the MVP vote, which should have dispelled any myths about players on the same team "splitting" the vote. Aparicio finished 9 in the voting, reliever Stu Miller finished at 11, and rookie Andy Etchebarren finished 1h. Etchebarren's popularity was most likely due to the general surprise at a rookie catcher taking over so quickly on a pennant winning club, since his actual numbers were not terribly impressive.
Frank also won the World Series MVP, the Sporting news Player of the Year, The Sliver Bat Award, the AP Male Athlete of the Year Award, the Hickok Belt for top athlete of the year in any sport, and Sport Magazine's Man of the Year.
Frank had nothing left to prove after his masterful '66 season, but he continued to excel for three more Orioles pennant-winners over the next five years with the team.
The Orioles had four players on the '66 AL all-star team. Brooks and Frank started, Steve Barber was on the staff, and Etchebarren was named one of the backup catchers. Brooks had 3 hits, including a triple off of NL starter Koufax, and ended up as the games MVP, despite the AL's loss.
Brooks Robinson and Luis Aparicio took home gold gloves at their positions. It would be another year before Paul Blair began compiling his gold glove total.
Writer Seth Stephens-Davidowitz of the NY Times researched an article on the topic "How do events from childhood shape our adult preferences?" He tested how a baseball team's performance at every age of childhood affects which team we root for as adults.
He found out that if your team wins a World Series when you are somewhere around 8 years old, the chance that you will support the team as an adult is vastly increased.
I was 9 years old when the Orioles won the World Series. I never stood a chance.