Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Vintage Fridays: Jim Hardin, 1969 Topps #610

According to the Baseball Reference Blog, only ten pitchers in major league history have ever hit a walkoff home run. One of them was Jim Hardin, who performed the feat in a wild game against the Royals on May 10, 1969.

The O's were hosting the first-year club from Kansas City on a Saturday night, and despite the fact that the home team was in first place place with a 20-11 record, they welcomed a paltry 6,843 fans through the Memorial Stadium turnstiles. Dave McNally, a 22-game winner the year prior, got the start for the Birds. He gave up a run under odd circumstances in the first inning. With Lou Piniella on first base and Jackie Hernandez on second, Joe Foy struck out for the second out. The runners were going on the pitch, and Elrod Hendricks' throw to second caught Piniella, but he stopped and initiated a rundown. Boog Powell missed the tag and threw home as Hernandez tried to score. Hendricks dropped the ball, and it was 1-0. However, Boog set things right in the bottom of the inning with a two-run homer off of Mike Hedlund to give the Orioles the lead. An error by Royals right fielder Bob Oliver gave them a third run an inning later.

Back-to-back singles by Paul Blair and Frank Robinson chased Hedlund with no outs in the third, and reliever Dave Morehead allowed both runners to score with a wild pitch and a single by Powell. It was 5-1, and it looked like the Birds would coast even after K.C. got a single run back in the fourth. But the visitors' bullpen clamped down on the Oriole bats, and their hitters finally chased McNally in the seventh, scoring a pair of runs on four singles to draw within a run. After retiring the first batter in the top of the eighth, Baltimore reliever Eddie Watt gave up three straight hits to tie the game and deny McNally a win. Jim Hardin was called upon to put out the fire, and did just that with a little help from his defense. Pinch hitter Juan Rios lined out to Blair, who doubled Chuck Harrison off of second base to keep the game tied. The O's went down in order in the eighth, and Hardin kept the Royals off of the scoreboard in the ninth to set up the endgame.

A familiar face took the mound in the bottom of the ninth: Moe Drabowsky, who had been claimed by K.C. in the expansion draft after three years in Baltimore. He would return to the Orioles in 1970, but on this night Charm City was probably the last place he wanted to be. After retiring leadoff hitter Mark Belanger on a grounder to first, he faced Jim Hardin, who had hit .101 (12-for-119) over the first two years of his major league career. Jim clubbed his first career home run, earning himself a very memorable win!

3 comments:

Ryan aka Orioles Magic said...

What're the chances that we both blogged about Jim on the same day? Good stuff Kevin.

Kevin said...

Ryan - It's a small world!

Anonymous said...

If I recall right, was it this game that started out some kind unusal O's domination over the Royals for next couple of years. Although the Orioles were so good the dominated everybody at that time.