Hot Foots? Who hot foots folks anymore? Moe Drabowsky’s best prank was the time the Orioles reliever called up the Kansas City bullpen and told them to warm up pitcher Lew Krausse. Drabowsky was so well traveled, he knew the phone number of the KC pen. Drabowsky was a little nuts.
No matter, the date that Drabowsky made Orioles history, was October 5, 1966. My friend Brian, who would later break into our elementary school, and I were watching the Orioles on our black and white television in Virginia. And both of us screamed when Frank and Brooks Robinson cracked back to back homers off of Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale. What a great start to the first Orioles World Series. However, it was not only a poor start by Drysdale but also Orioles starter Dave McNally. The O’s lefty couldn’t stop walking people so manager Hank Bauer pulled him. Enter Drabowsky in the third inning.
It’s been so long I couldn’t remember what happened after the Robinson homers. But clearly this was Drabowsky’s finest moment in a baseball uniform. He struck out the side in both the fourth and fifth innings. He even struck out two Davis’. That was Willie Davis and future Oriole designated hitter Tommy Davis (no relation).
What the heck was he throwing out there?
Wes Parker’s lineout to Curt Blefary in left ended the K streak. Don’t worry, Drabowsky paid Parker back with a strikeout in the ninth inning. So that was 6 2/3 innings of relief and one Willie Davis single, two walks and 11 strikeouts. I looked it up and that seems to be still a World Series record for strikeouts by a relief pitcher. Drawbowsky was the winning pitcher in the 5-2 decision.
In this four-game sweep by the Birds, he simply watched the rest of the series. Nearly seven innings of relief work had evidently been enough for him.
Four years later, he was back in the World Series. He struck out Tony Perez of the Reds and surrendered a Johnny Bench solo homer. The Orioles again were on their way to a World Series title and won game two, 6-5.
Drabowsky would pitch 17 years in the Major Leagues. Among the oddities in his career was the 1957 season with the Chicago Cubs. As a starter on a club that lost 92 games, he would led the National League in hits batsman with 10. I was more amazed that he came to the plate that year a whopping 82 times.
His best game that year came in September where he stuffed the Phillies with a complete game. Drabowsky also had a good day at the plate against 17-game winner Jack Sanford. In the fifth inning, he homered in Wrigley Field. In the sixth inning, he doubled in a run.
During his National League career, he saw Hank Aaron come to plate 50 times against the right-hander. Drabowsky allowed just one homer to the king of the home run. It’s a good thing that Drabowsky and Blefary played together in Baltimore. In four career at-bats against Drabowsky, Blefary hit three homers.
The good natured Drabowsky died in June of 2006.