I can recall this clear as day. It’s October 3, 1970 and my friend Dennis’ dad is hovering around his television set in Sarasota, Florida.
It was one of the oddest moments of my five year run in sales with the Orioles. I had come out late from a game through the employee entrance. And there was waiting a large group of fans eagerly looking for the players.
My friend Marty brought it up again a few weeks back. He watched it on MLB Network. And he was clear that in every single position, the Orioles had a better player.
That was another good Orioles trade. It came on Dec. 4, 1973. Again with those Cincinnati Reds who we stole Frank Robinson from seven years before.
You should have seen the look on the face of the community relations manager. She was staring at me and giving me a hard look. That stare said don’t talk with him.
Those words about his fastball were uttered by former Cleveland Indians manager Al Dark. And Mike Cuellar’s response to that taunt about the left-hander’s speed ball? “Get his a** up there.”
I always tell folks out here in Chicago that there is nothing that matches the arrogance that comes from Washington D.C. In all my years sportswriting in the Midwest, I never found the egos that grew in DC. Of course some of the most exciting people in the world come from the Nation’s Capitol as well.
By the early 70s, I was back in Maryland listening to my favorite Orioles on the radio. There was the late Chuck Thompson and Bill O’Donnell doing play by play. I knew their voices and and based on their tone of voice whether we were doing well or not.
Mike Young drove a fancy car. Don’t ask me as cars aren’t my thing. But the former Orioles outfielder came down to our DC store and looked cool. He might have been a movie star.
In Don Buford’s four good years in Baltimore, he hit 52 homers out of the top spot in the lineup. That included a career-high 19 homers in the 1971 season.