A History Of The Orioles In The ALCS

Featured, Sports and Bets — October 9, 2014 at 10:54 pm by

Beginning Friday night, the Orioles will play in their tenth ALCS in team history. In their previous nine ALCS’, the Birds are 5-4.  The last time the O’s took a trip this far into the playoffs was 1997, so it’s been a little while since the Birds have had the opportunity to win the American League Pennant.  Manager Buck Showalter has his guys primed and peaking at the right time and I, like every other Black and Orange fan, can’t wait to get this best of seven series going with the Royals.

Prior to the all too recent down years that preceded this current three year run to success, the Orioles were a consistently winning franchise.  In the eighteen seasons between 1966 and 1983, the Orioles reached the post season eight times.  In that time span the Birds won all three of their World Championships and six American League pennants.  The O’s won the first ALCS ever played in 1969.  (1969 was when the American League reorganized into two East and West divisions.  The National League did the same)  In fact, the Orioles won the first three ALCS’, as the creation of the then best-of-five game, pennant winning series coincided with an era of Baltimore American League dominance.  Going to the playoffs was the norm for those old Oriole clubs and those teams of the late sixties and early seventies created a winning tradition that lasted for almost thirty years.

Buck and his bunch have revived this winning tradition, reaching the playoffs in two of three seasons.  It’s a hell of a good time.  But today, before this new ALCS begins, we’ll look back on the victories and heartaches of the past.  You gotta love October Orioles baseball.

We start with the 1969 ALCS……

1969 ALCS- Orioles beat Twins (3-0)

In 1969 the Orioles won a mind-numbing 109 games. Their opponent in the ALCS, The Minnesota Twins, featured the man with the greatest last name in the history of sports, Harmon Killebrew.  Killebrew had hit .276 that year with 49 home runs and 140 RBIs.  No matter, Harmon and the Twins didn’t stand a chance as the Birds swept them out of the playoffs, three games to none.  The Orioles had one of the best starting pitching rotations in baseball with Mike Cuellar, Jim Palmer, and Dave McNally anchoring the team.  The O’s staff held Killebrew to 1-8 hitting while walking him 6 times in the three games.  The walk-a-brew strategy paid off.

Pitchers Were Better Back Then Stat:  In Game 2 Dave McNally pitched an eleven inning, three hit shutout for the 1-0 win. (Curt Motton won the game with a pinch-hit single in the 11th.)  In Game 3, Jim Palmer pitched a complete game to seal up the series.

Batter’s Box Stat:  Brooks Robinson went 7-14 in the series.   Paul Blair had 6 RBIs and batted .400 in the series.

What Happened Next?:  The O’s somehow lost to the Miracle Mets in the World Series.



1970 ALCS- Orioles beat Twins (3-0)

The poor Twins.  They coulda been a contender if it hadn’t been for these damn O’s!  The Orioles won 108 games in 1970 and swept the Twins again to advance to their second straight World Series.  This time the O’s pounded the Twins into submission, scoring 27 runs in the three game brooming.

Pitchers Were Better Back Then Stat:  Jim Palmer pitched a complete game, allowing one run, in the Game 3 clincher.  Mike Cuellar hit a grand slam in support of himself in his Game 1 win.  (This was before the designated hitter existed.  That position wasn’t created until 1973.)

Batter’s Box Stat:  Brooks went 7-12 in the series.  Boog Powell had six RBIs in the three game sweep.  Davey “I Still Can’t Believe Angelos Fired Him” Johnson hit two home runs in the series.

What Happened Next?:  The Birds beat the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series for their second championship in five seasons.

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1971 ALCS- Orioles Beat A’s (3-0)

The Birds began a rivalry with the Oakland A’s in this three game sweep.  The A’s featured stars Reggie Jackson, Vida Blue, and Rollie Fingers.  But the Orioles had four- 20 game winners (McNally, Cuellar, Palmer, Dobson)in their starting rotation, and they had the services of Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, and Boog Powell at the plate.  Both teams had won 101 games in the regular season and the series looked an even match on paper.  But paper is dumb.  The Orioles scored five runs in every game of the series and that was more than enough for this incredible rotation.  McNally, Cuellar, and Palmer would get the mound wins.

Pitchers Were Better Back Then Stat:  Cuellar and Palmer both pitched complete games in their wins.

Batter’s Box Stat: Brooks hit over .400 and logged 3 RBIs.  (How clutch was he?)  Boog Powell notched two homers and three RBIs in the series. Reggie Jackson hit two bombs for the A’s (He hit both off of Palmer in Game 3)

What Happened Next?:  The O’s lost to the Roberto Clemente and the Pirates in the World Series.



1973 ALCS-  A’s Beat Orioles (3-2)

The League MVP Reggie Jackson and A’s got their revenge on the Birds in 1973 and took the O’s down 3-2 in a hard fought series. The A’s dominated the American League for three years, 1972, 1973, and 1974; winning back-to-back-to-back World Series championships in the process.   The O’s just couldn’t solve Catfish Hunter in the Game 5 clincher in Oakland, a game that featured (gasp!) a Brooks Robinson post season error.

Pitchers Were Better back Then Stat:  Jim Palmer won Game 1, but he got knocked out of Game 4 in the second inning.  Game 5 was the next day.  Palmer would come on in relief of O’s starter Doyle Alexander in the fourth inning.  Palmer shut the A’s out for the remaining five innings of the game.  Unfortunately, the damage was already done and the Birds lineup just couldn’t score on a dominant Catfish Hunter, who ended up tossing a five hit, complete game shutout.

Batter’s Box Stat:  Catcher Andy Etchebarren, who’s eyebrows make Joe Flacco’s look like penciled lines, hit .357 in the series with a home run and three RBIs.

What Happened Next?:  The A’s beat the Mets to win their second of three straight championships.

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1974 ALCS- A’s Beat Orioles (3-1)

As we now already know, in 1974 the A’s will win their third championship of their three-peat.  Mike Cuellar threw the only O’s win of the ALCS, he beat Catfish Hunter in Game 1, 6-3.  For the rest of the series the Orioles would struggle to score runs.  The Birds would be shut out in Game 2 by Ken Holtzman.  The Birds would then lose two heartbreaking pitcher’s duels in a row to lose the series.  Gross.

Pitchers Were Better Back Then Stat: In Game 3, Vida Blue beat Jim Palmer 1-0.  Both threw complete games.   In Game 4, Hunter and Rollie Fingers beat Cuellar and Ross Grimsley, 2-1.  That’s a lot of big names throwing baseballs.

Batter’s Box Stat: Paul Blair was the best Oriole offensive weapon, batting .286 with one homer and two batted in.  This was a pitcher’s series.

What Happened Next?: The A’s beat the Dodgers on the World Series.

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1979 ALCS-  Orioles Beat Angels (3-1)

Rod Carew and the Angels reached the postseason for the first time in 1979 and the Orioles unceremoniously dumped them out of it in four games.  The Birds had won 102 games in the regular season, which was 14 more than the upstart Angels.  Besides Carew, the Angels featured former Oriole Bobby Grich, and future Orioles Dan Ford and Don Aase.

Pitchers Were Better Back Then Stat:  Scott McGregor pitched the Game 4 clincher, throwing a complete game, six hitter.  The Birds won the game 8-0.

Batter’s Box Stat:  Eddie Clarence Murray, one of the most clutch baseball players to ever walk the earth, batted .417 and knocked in five during the series.

What Happened Next?:  The Orioles lost to the Pirates in seven in the World Series.  Orioles fans everywhere burned or smashed their We Are Family 45’s.

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1983 ALCS-  Orioles Beat White Sox (3-1)

Cy Young Award winner Lamarr Hoyt, Rookie of The Year Ron Kittle, future Oriole Harold Baines,  catcher Carlton Fisk, and the rest of the White Sox met the Orioles in this version of the ALCS.  Tony LaRussa managed this White Sox team, which just seems insane.  That guy managed a long damn time.  Anyway,the White Sox won the first game, but were then shut down by the Orioles pitching staff.  Over the next three games, the White Sox scored just one run.  That’s a lock down, son.

Pitchers Were Better Back Then Stat: Tippy Martinez pitched the Game 4 clincher.  He went 10 shutout innings for the win.  He allowed ten hits, which means O’s manager Joe Altobelli just flat out believed in him.

Batter’s Box Stat:  Tito Landrum broke the 0-0 tie in the tenth inning of Game 4 with a home run in the top of the frame.  (The O’s would score two more in the inning to win 3-0.)  Cal Ripken hit .400 with 2 doubles in the series.  Eddie Murray had 3 RBI.  Gary Roenicke had 4 RBI.

What Happened Next:  The O’s beat the Phillies in the World Series.

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1996 ALCS- The Jeffrey Maier Series

Only one thing to say here.  The Orioles were robbed of the series by a punk ass kid who reached his glove over the fence and caught a fly ball that Tony Tarasco would have caught.  Instead, umpire Rich Garcia gave Derek Jeter a home run.  He was out.  If the O’s had won that game, they were leading 4-3 in the eighth, they would have gone home up 2-0 on the Yankees.  The Maier catch changed the whole complexion of the series.  Instead of being lambasted for being the cheat and idiot that he was, Maier was celebrated in New York and all over the country by all the jerk-off, band wagon Yankee fans.  The play was one of the biggest travesties in MLB history.

Batter’s Box Stat:  Todd Zeile hit three home runs in the series.

What Happened Next:  Who gives a shit?

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1997 ALCS-  Indians Beat Orioles (4-2)

The Indians got heir revenge on the Orioles for booting them out of the playoffs the year before.  The Birds had gone wire-to-wire in the A.L. East and looked primed to cruise to a Championship.  Unfortunately the 86-win Indians would ruin the O’s in six games.  The Baltimore bullpen, which had been outstanding all season, had the dubious honor of featuring the losing pitcher of record in all four Orioles losses.  The biggest punching bag of the series was Armando Benitez.  The stud set up man got blasted for two losses.  The first in Game 2 when he gave up a three run blast to Marquis Grissom in the top of the eighth and the second loss came in the deciding Game 6, when Tony Fernandez took Benitez deep in the top of the eleventh.  It was the only run of the game.

Hard Luck Pitcher Stat:  Mike Mussina pitched fifteen innings in two starts and struck out a total of 25 batters.  He got a no decision in both games.

Batter’s Box Stat:  Brady Anderson batted .360. He hit two home runs, roped two doubles and batted in three.  Geronimo Berroa had 3 RBIs

What Happened Next:  The Marlins beat the Indians, who had no business being there, in the World Series.  The Orioles would fire their manager and their G.M. and suck for the next decade and a half.

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But we’re back now baby! 

2014 ALCS- Being Written, Starting Friday Night

Let’s Go O’s!








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