Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Friday, April 22, 2016

Vintage Fridays: Milt Pappas, 1962 Topps #75

Earlier this week the Orioles family lost one of its first prominent young pitchers. Milt Pappas died on Tuesday at age 76. If you're anything less than a diehard baseball fan, you probably know Pappas as the chief outgoing player that the O's sent to Cincinnati in the Frank Robinson trade. But if you dig a little deeper, you'll see that Milt was plenty successful in his own right: in a career that spanned 17 big league seasons, he won 209 games and lost 164 with a 3.40 ERA (110 ERA+). He completed 129 of his 465 starts, including 43 shutouts, and twice made the All-Star Game as an Oriole. Most famously, he no-hit the Padres while pitching for the Cubs on September 2, 1972...but lost his perfect game bid on a full-count offering to pinch hitter Larry Stahl with two outs in the ninth. Home plate umpire Bruce Froemming ruled that Stahl had checked his swing and called it ball four, to Pappas' vociferous objection. The pitcher rallied to retire Garry Jestadt on a popup to seal the no-hitter, but it was of little consolation.

In researching tonight's blog entry, I found a great anecdote relayed by MLB.com writer (and former Orioles beat reporter) Richard Justice. On April 18, 1962, longtime Baltimore sportswriter John Steadman approached Milt prior to the righty's first start of the regular season against Mantle, Maris, and the vaunted Yankees. He asked Pappas, still just 23 years old and already in his sixth season in the majors, "How do you beat the Yankees?". In his own blunt and self-assured manner, the O's young starter replied: "If I pitch a shutout and hit a home run, we'll probably win."

Of course, Pappas couldn't quite finish the job. All he did was hold New York scoreless on two hits over six innings before turning things over to Hoyt Wilhelm. But before he left the game, Milt did hit a solo homer off of Yankee starter Bill Stafford. The O's won, 1-0.


vto said...

That is a great story, love how you find this stuff!

Kevin said...