Orioles Card "O" the Day

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

Friday, April 19, 2013

Vintage Fridays: Terry Crowley, 1979 Topps #91

I hope that you had the pleasure of watching Matt Wieters' first-pitch, walkoff grand slam in the bottom of the tenth inning last night. It was the capper on another tight, back-and-forth series with the Rays. It seems like every game between the O's and Tampa Bay is chock full of bizarre happenings, but that's a story for another day. For now, I thought I'd pay a visit to the trusty Baseball Reference Play Index to research the history of walkoff grand slams for the Orioles. There have been seven:
DateBatterOppPitcherScoreInnRoBOutPit(cnt)RBIWPARE24LIPlay Description
1970-07-07Brooks RobinsonNYYLindy McDanieltied 2-2b10123040.062.172.62*WALK-OFF*:*ENDED GAME*:Home Run; Motton Scores; Robinson Scores; Hendricks Scores/unER
1976-05-22Ken SingletonDETJim Crawfordtied 4-4b9123240.353.376.39*WALK-OFF*:*ENDED GAME*:Home Run; Blair Scores; May Scores; Harper Scores
1982-08-08Terry CrowleyKCRMike Armstrongtied 6-6b9123140.172.695.64*WALK-OFF*:*ENDED GAME*:Home Run; Murray Scores/unER; Lowenstein Scores; Ripken Scores
1982-08-24Joe NolanTORJoey McLaughlintied 3-3b10123240.343.336.39*WALK-OFF*:*ENDED GAME*:Home Run; Rayford Scores; Murray Scores; Ripken Scores
1996-05-17Chris HoilesSEANorm Charltondown 13-10b9123240.893.294.00*WALK-OFF*:*ENDED GAME*:Home Run; Alomar Scores; Bonilla Scores; Ripken Scores
1999-05-04Harold BainesCHWDavid Lundquisttied 5-5b1012315 (2-2)40.162.665.40*WALK-OFF*:*ENDED GAME*:Home Run (Fly Ball); Bones Scores; Bordick Scores; Anderson Scores
2013-04-18Matt WietersTBRBrandon Gomestied 6-6b1012301 (0-0)*WALK-OFF*:*ENDED GAME*:Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep CF-RF); Markakis Scores; Machado Scores; Jones Scores
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/19/2013.

The Birds were in their 17th season in Baltimore when (who else?) Brooks Robinson delivered their first walkoff granny. Like Wieters, the great third baseman hit his with nobody out in the tenth inning. For the cherry on top, it came against those dastardly Yankees, who were in the middle of a swoon that put them comfortably behind the O's. Brooksie's full-count blast to left field gave Mike Cuellar a well-deserved complete-game victory, as the screwballer permitted just seven hits and a walk in ten innings. He outlasted Yankee starter Mel Stottlemyre, who gave up seven hits and two walks (and hit a solo homer of his own!) in seven innings. Lindy McDaniel had stranded an inherited runner at second base in the ninth inning, but was undone in the tenth by a leadoff walk to Boog Powell, followed by a Frank Robinson single and a Gene Michael boot of an Elrod Hendricks grounder.

Six years later, Ken Singleton helped the Orioles avoid extra innings on a Saturday night at Memorial Stadium when his clout off of Jim Crawford struck the left field foul pole. Incredibly, it was the first homer Kenny had hit with runners on base during his O's tenure. He was new to the team in 1975, and swatted 15 solo shots that season. The game-winning grand slam was his second home run of the '76 season, and it undid six-plus innings of shutout relief from Crawford, who replaced Detroit's ineffective starter Joe Coleman in the third inning. The Birds also yanked their starter, Ross Grimsley, in the third, and received solid long relief from Wayne Garland, who allowed the tying run in the sixth inning on a walk, a double, and a fielder's choice but kept the Tigers off the board otherwise to earn the win. A big assist came from Baltimore catcher Dave Duncan, who gunned down the speedy Ron LeFlore on an attempted steal of third base in the top of the ninth to keep the game knotted up.

Strangely enough, the O's hit their next two walkoff slams within two and a half weeks of each other in August 1982. Terry Crowley provided the first of the pair, and did it during your humble narrator's fourth day on this earth. Naturally, Crow's four-run four-bagger was a pinch-hit job in the ninth inning. It was his fourth career slam and his 101st pinch hit, and was the record-tying third pinch-hit slam of the season for the plucky Birds. Royals reliever Mike Armstrong got to a 2-2 count by pitching Terry away, but the wily veteran wasn't fooled when the pitcher came inside, and the result was a game-winner into the right field bleachers. Crowley had pinch-hit for Rick Dempsey, as Earl Weaver out-manuevered KC manager Dick Howser. After Eddie Murray (who reached on an error by shortstop U.L. Washington) and John Lowenstein (reached on a walk) moved to third and second base on an Armstrong balk, Howser ordered Cal Ripken, Jr. to be intentionally walked. Oops. This was a wild game even before the late fireworks; six home runs were hit in all, with Washington and Jerry Martin going long for the Royals and Murray, Lowenstein, and Al Bumbry also doing the honors for Baltimore.

How about another 10-inning complete game victory by an Oriole pitcher to go along with a walkoff granny? That's what the Birds got on August 24, 1982 when Dennis Martinez went the distance on four hits and Joe Nolan went yard to best the Blue Jays. Eddie Murray's three-run homer gave El Presidente a first-inning lead, but the Jays chipped away in the fourth and fifth frames to even the score. It stayed that way until the bottom of the tenth, when Toronto manager Bobby Cox replaced starter Dave Stieb with Joey McLaughlin. Hindsight is 20/20, right? McLaughlin walked the bases loaded, which included another intentional pass to Cal Ripken, Jr. following a John Lowenstein bunt. Jim Dwyer struck out for the second out, but backup catcher Nolan made it all moot with his heroics.

Chris Hoiles' "Ultimate Grand Slam" is the most well-known of these seven slams, and is also the only one hit when the O's were trailing. I wrote about it three years ago, so I'll save myself a little work this time around.

Harold Baines had been the last Baltimore hitter to end a game with a grand slam prior to last night, performing the feat way back in 1999. The O's badly needed that win, as they "improved" to 8-17 in the process. There are plenty of unusual sights in the box score, including an Albert Belle stolen base, Paul Konerko starting at first base for the White Sox (he's still there in 2013!), and the eternal punchline that is Calvin Pickering pinch hitting for Willis Otanez. Oh, did I mention reliever Ricky Bones pinch running for catcher Lenny Webster ahead of Baines' slam? Wait, it gets better. Despite two home runs from Jeff Conine, the Orioles were down 5-3 heading into the home half of the ninth. Chicago skipper Jerry Manuel subbed in Craig Wilson for Greg Norton at third base, and moved Norton to first, removing Konerko from the game. Naturally, Brady Anderson hit the ball to Norton, who muffed it. Rich Amaral was due up as the DH, but manager Ray Miller wisely pinch-hit with the 40-year-old Baines, who blasted Bob Howry's 0-1 pitch to center field for a run-scoring triple! Knowing the decrepit condition of Harold's knees, I can only assume that center fielder McKay Christensen suffered a major heart attack while the ball was in the air. Anyway, the O's were down to their last out after a pair of strikeouts, but Conine tied it with a line single to left field. The decisive tenth inning went walk, walk, bunt, hit-by-pitch (Brady Anderson, naturally), grand slam. Rough loss for Pale Hose rookie reliever David Lundquist, but at least he can see from this list that he wasn't alone.

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