Manager: Hank Bauer
By Greg Leadbetter
The Baltimore Orioles prior to 1966 were struggling to find a way to get on top of the American League. Prior to 1966, the Orioles were an average team, finishing third and fourth place in the AL standings since 1963. However, a trade and a young crop of starting pitchers would give the O's their first American League and World Series titles under manager Hank Bauer.
The O's big trade came before the season when the Cincinnati Reds shipped future Hall of Fame outfielder Frank Robinson to their franchise for pitcher Milt Pappas. Robinson would pay dividends for the Orioles, as he won the Triple Crown that year, leading the AL in batting average (.316), home runs (49), and RBIs (122). He would also own a AL MVP and a World Series MVP trophy to his collection, as he gathered four hits, a triple, two home runs, and three RBIs against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Baltimore Orioles already featured a superstar in third baseman Brooks Robinson, who added 23 home runs and 100 RBIs on the offensive side in 1966, but on the defensive side, he was at his usual best, receiving his seventh Gold Glove Award. Also receiving a Gold Glove was veteran shortstop Luis Aparicio, who brought home his seventh Gold Glove , along with a great bat, with 182 hits, 25 stolen bases, and a .276 average.
Youth was a factor on the 1966 Baltimore Orioles team, offensively and defensively, as the O's went on their pursuit on their World Series title. First baseman Boog Powell gave Baltimore fans something to cheer for years to come, as he whacked 34 homers and drove in 109, and second baseman Dave Johnson showed some promise by delivering in 56 runs.
The pitching staff was where most of the youth came from, and it would be dominant force on Dodger batters during the World Series. Twenty year-old Jim Palmer showed his future Hall of Fame potential by winning fifteen games, striking out 147, with a 3.46 ERA during the 1966 season. Dave McNally was 13-6 with a 3.17 ERA, as he showed a glimpse of the twenty-game winner he was to become, and twenty-one year old Wally Bunker, despite a bad arm, still managed to put together a 10-8 record, despite having a 4.28 ERA.
Palmer, McNally, Bunker, and veteran Moe Drabowsky (6-0, 2.81 ERA), kept Dodger bats quiet in the World Series, as they struck out 28 Dodgers, only giving up 17 hits, with a 0.50 ERA as a team. Drabowsky struck out eleven Dodger batters in Game 1 after starting pitcher Dave McNally had struggled after two and a third innings. Their pitching proved to be the difference, as the O's brought home the title in a four game sweep of the Dodgers.
Greg Ledbetter's a graduate of West Holmes High School and The University of Akron Wayne College in Ohio who contributes to historicbaseball.com. He can be contacted by e-mail at email@example.com.