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The Most Devastating Home Runs in Orioles History (my lifetime anyway)

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The Most Devastating Home Runs in Orioles History (my lifetime anyway)

Posted on 13 May 2013 by Dwayne Showalter

In no particular order, here are the home runs hit against the Orioles that left the worst taste in my mouth.  Feel free to add the ones that stick in your crawl.  Or if you don’t have the stomach…add some of your favorite O’s homers.  Think Tito Landrum!


Wednesday October 10, 2012.  Game 3 ALDS, Yankee Stadium

The Orioles had split the first two games at home and were now looking to put the Yankees on the ropes in a 5-game series.  Leading 2-1 headed into the bottom of the ninth, Buck Showalter went with the proven closer Jim Johnson (who had been lit up for 5 runs in the series opener) over the scorching hot Darren O’Day who had pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning.  Yankees manager went the other way, pulling a struggling star (Alex Rodriquez) in favor of Raul Ibanez with one out.  The second delivery was sent over the right field wall and the Orioles would have to scrap through another extra-inning game if they were to take the lead in the series.

Wednesday October 10, 2012.  Game 3 ALDS, Yankee Stadium

Fast-forward three innings to the bottom of the twelfth.  Ibanez leads off against Brian Matusz who had been throwing well.  First pitch.  Gone.  Upper deck.  Ibanez had done it again.  Two nights later, the Orioles magical 2012 season would end with an uneventful 3-1 loss.  The two homers were crushing but the Orioles bats only mustered 14 hits in the final 30 innings of the series.

Sunday October 3, 1982.  Regular Season finale, Memorial Stadium (attended by me)

Baltimore and Milwaukee entered the final regular season game tied with 94-67 records after the Orioles had swept the first three games of the series.  Momentum had been in the Orioles corner for weeks.  One more win and the Orioles would be advancing to the ALCS.  There was no division series in those days.  Momentum lasted one batter.  Second in the Brewers lineup was Robin Yount who blasted a Jim Palmer offering for a solo homer.  The mood in the stadium changed.  Yount homered again in the third putting Milwaukee on top 3-0.  The Orioles never led in Earl Weaver’s final game, falling 10-2.

Tuesday October 9, 1973. Game 3 ALCS, Oakland Coliseum

With the series tied at one, and switching to the Oakland, the Orioles rode an Earl Williams solo homer into the bottom of the eighth.  Joe Rudi tied it with a two-out hit off of starter Mike Cuellar.  Both Cuellar and A’s starter Ken Holtzman pitched into the 12th inning, unheard of in today’s baseball.  Unfortunately for the Orioles, Cuellar surrendered a lead-off homer to Bert Campaneris in the twelfth.  Two nights later, the Orioles 1973 season would end with an uneventful 3-0 loss.  Where have I heard that before?

Wednesday October 17, 1979. Game 7 World Series, Memorial Stadium (attended by me)

Leading the game 1-0 in the top of the 6th on the strength of a Rich Dauer solo homer, the Orioles were looking to avenge the series loss in 1971 to the Pirates.  Willie Stargell had other ideas.  His majestic 2-run shot into the bullpen in right field off Scott McGregor cast a pall over the stadium.  As the outs dwindled, the Pirates scratched out two more runs in the ninth and went on to win the championship.  Stargell was the MVP.

Thursday October 9, 1997. Game 2 ALCS, Oriole Park at Camden Yards (attended by me)

The 98-game winning Orioles seemed poised to take the first two games of the series with Cleveland leading 4-2 in the eighth.  Fire-balling setup man Armando Benitez was tasked with getting the game to the closer Randy Myers.  No one put a ball in play but the go ahead run came to the plate after two strikeouts and two walks.  Marquis Grissom sent a Benitez pitch far into the left field seats giving the Indians a 5-4 lead.  The O’s put a runner on via walk in both the eighth and ninth inning but never moved them along losing the game and eventually the series.

Wednesday October 15, 1997. Game 6 ALCS, Oriole Park at Camden Yards

In a win-or-go-home Game 6 matchup with Cleveland, the Orioles sent ace Mike Mussina to the hill.  He was perfect through four and allowed two hits, three walks and no runs over 10 innings pitched.  Charles Nagy got away with allowing nine hits in 8.2 IP.  Benitez came on again and retired Grissom and Omar Vizquel to start the 11th inning.  But Tony Fernandez took the first offering over the scoreboard in right to give Cleveland the lead.  After a two-out single in the bottom of the 11th, Jose Mesa sent the Indians to the World Series by striking out Robbie Alomar.

Wednesday October 9, 1996.  Game 1 ALCS, Yankee Stadium

Leading 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Armando Benitez (really?  The man gave up some bombs) faced a rookie shortstop who batted last in the order.  His name was Derek Jeter.  He lofted the first pitch with one out toward the short porch in right.  Orioles outfielder Tony Tarasco backed up against the wall preparing to snare the ball just below the top of the fence.  He reached up but the ball never came down.  It was corralled from the field of play and into the stands by a young unmentioned Yankee fan.  The umpire missed the interference and allowed the play to stand against the Orioles protest.

And as Forrest Gump would say, “that’s all I got to say about that.”



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