Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Friday, July 15, 2011

Vintage Fridays: Al Bumbry, 1974 Topps #137

Today I thought we'd jump into the Wayback Machine and see what the O's were up to 35 years ago on this date. It was Thursday, July 15, and the Orioles were having an uncharacteristically subpar season by their standards. They were 40-42 despite having won 4 straight games, and were in a distant third place, trailing the rejuvenated Yankees by 11 games. The Angels were in town for a four-game series following the All-Star Break; prior to the break, the Birds had swept a three-game set from the Halos in Anaheim.

Earl Weaver's charges kept the good times rolling in front of a scant weeknight crowd of 9,182. After a scoreless frame by starter Jim Palmer, Al Bumbry got the O's started in the bottom of the first with a walk and a stolen base, and two batters later Lee May touched up Angels pitcher Gary Ross for a run-scoring single. Bumbry did his job again with a leadoff double in the third, and Reggie Jackson thrilled the Memorial Stadium spectators with a two-run homer, his tenth as an Oriole following a monthlong holdout in April. The Birds tacked on a seventh-inning insurance run, also scored by (who else?) Al Bumbry. He singled as the first batter of the inning, stole his second base of the night, and advanced to third on a wild throw by old friend Andy Etchebarren. Reggie was the straw that stirred the drink once more, picking up an RBI single (his third hit of the night) and stealing second (his second swipe of the night) before being stranded.

Four runs was plenty for Jim Palmer, who disposed of the Angels without much trouble despite striking out only two batters. He allowed only three hits - all singles. In the top of the sixth, he walked the first two batters; those were his only free passes of the night, and it was the only inning with more than one Halo batter reaching base. He then promptly retired the next three hitters. The O's also turned a pair of double plays behind him. "Cakes" went the distance to boost his record to 12-8 with a strong 2.85 ERA. It was his 39th career shutout, and kicked off a second half in which he went 11-5 with a 1.91 ERA to finish the year at 22-13 with a 2.51 mark. He captured his third and final career Cy Young Award.

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