Thursday, July 15, 2010
Brooks Robinson, 1988 Pacific Legends #3
July 15 is a pretty eventful day in Orioles history. In 1993, Cal Ripken, Jr. homered off of Scott Erickson to break Ernie Banks' record for home runs by a shortstop. (Harold Reynolds also hit the first of his four homers as an Oriole, but who's counting?) Three years later, manager Davey Johnson moved Cal to third base after 2,216 straight games at short; it was a six-game trial balloon, and Junior wouldn't move to third for good until the following season. Five years ago today, Rafael Palmeiro doubled in Seattle for his 3,000th career hit. I don't really want to get into that.
Most notable of all, it's the fiftieth anniversary of Brooks Robinson hitting for the cycle. Facing White Sox star Billy Pierce, the young third baseman singled in the first, homered in the third to give the O's a 2-1 lead, singled again in the fifth, and doubled in the seventh. A solo homer by Chicago's Roy Sievers brought the Pale Hose within 3-2 in the eighth, but Brooks came to the plate in the ninth with Milt Pappas and Gene Woodling on base and two outs. Turk Lown had replaced Pierce, but it made no difference. Brooks served the ball into center field and motored all the way to third base with a triple, giving Pappas a three-run cushion and capping off his own 5-for-5 day with the first cycle by an Oriole. Pappas sealed the complete-game victory with a perfect bottom of the ninth. As for Brooksie, he had just one other five-hit game in his 23-year career, and it came ten years after this one. To date, only three other O's have hit for the cycle: the unlikely trio of Cal, Aubrey Huff, and Felix Pie.