I’m pretty sure I was still loyal to that club in DC in April of 1965. That’s when I got out of bed to see the Washington Post headline “Orioles give Senators the Bird.”
What does that mean to a little kid? So I found out.
It was a night game at DC Stadium. Less than 7,000 on came out on April 22 to see this battle of neighbors.
There were some familiar names out there. Paul Blair led off and played center field. Left Fielder John Powell (Boog) batted third and the third baseman and cleanup hitter was Brooks Robinson.
The Washington Monument, Frank Howard, batted fourth for the Senators.
Wally Bunker started for Baltimore while Phil Ortega pitched for Washington.
Put it this way, every Orioles player who entered the game that night had at least one hit. That included pitchers Bunker and reliever Jim Palmer and pinch-hitter Dave Johnson.
Powell had the first of his two triples of that season. Luis Aparicio had two singles, a double and homer. Blair had three singles. Also with at least two hits that night were catcher John Orsino, first baseman Norm Siebern, outfielder Curt Blefary and Robinson.
The Orioles scored four runs in the first and second innings and seven times in the eighth inning. Giving the Bird in this case meant to the tune of 18-4.
Of course I had no memory of this particular game. The eighth inning is interesting because Senators pitcher Nick Wilhite (former Dodger left-hander) entered the game with his team down 11-4. He didn’t survive the frame but got out of it allowing just one earned run.
Aparicio’s first homer of the season led off the frame. That must have been the earned run. Boog Powell reached on an infield error. But Wilhite got Brooks Robinson to fly out. And Blefary on a pop out. He was seemingly out of trouble.
And then the unearned runs began to multiply. There were two-out run-scoring hits from Jerry Adair, Palmer and Blair. Aparicio batted again , and this time his double drove in a pair of runs.
Bunker naturally got the win with all that run support. But his five innings of work wasn’t exactly impressive. Howard also had the first of his two triples that year in the fourth inning. A two-run double the next inning off the bat of another former Dodger, Ken McMullen, chased Bunker.
Enter reliever Palmer. In his first Major League season, the right-hander was brilliant in this romp. He would retire 12 Washington hitters without allowing a hit. He walked one and struck out five in his four innings. He was awarded a save for his trouble.
In 1965, the Orioles were making progress. Baltimore won 94 games, finishing strongly by going 20-9 in September. The Birds took care of those evil New Yorkers beating the Yankees 13 out of 18 games. If Baltimore had taken care of their neighbors to the South, it would have helped. Washington, despite this loss, beat the Birds 10 games to eight in 65.
Baltimore finished third to the Minnesota Twins (102 wins) that season. And in December of that year, Frank Robinson was traded for, and the rest they say is history.