April 9, 1959 - the Orioles became the first team in major league history to turn a triple play on Opening Day?
It's true, as at least 85% of the things I write on this blog are. The Birds were kicking off their season a ways down south in Washington, D.C.'s Griffith Stadium. Unfortunately, starting pitcher Jack Harshman had already dug the Birds a 5-0 hole by the bottom of the fifth inning, when famed Venezuelan shortstop Chico Carrasquel made his O's debut as a defensive replacement for Whitey Lockman, who had pinch hit for Ron Hansen. (Still with me?) Hoyt Wilhelm also entered the game from the Baltimore bullpen, and immediately got himself into a jam by walking Roy Sievers and failing to get an out after Bob Allison bunted the ball back to him. With runners on first and second, the knuckleballer was bailed out by his defense. Ed Fitz Gerald smashed a line drive to the right side, but it found first baseman Bob Boyd's glove for the first out. Thinking on his feet, Boyd fired the ball to second base, where Carrasquel forced Sievers for the second out. Chico relayed the ball back to Boyd at first base, and Allison was dead meat. One play, three outs.
Sadly, the triple killing did little to arrest the Senators' momentum. They piled on some insurance in the late innings, and it took a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth from Gus Triandos to spoil Pedro Ramos' shutout bid. Ramos rebounded to retire Brooks Robinson on a grounder to short to complete the 9-2 rout. One of Washington's offensive standouts was a young Harmon Killebrew, who had a single, a stolen base (!), and a two-run homer in four trips to the plate. If it's any consolation, the Orioles clawed their way to a sixth-place, 74-80 record in 1959, while the Senators stumbled into the cellar at 63-91 in what turned out to be their penultimate season in the Nation's Capital.