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1966: Orioles clinch the AL pennant in KC

Thursday, September 22, 2016 17:11
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On this day in 1966, the Baltimore Orioles clinched their first AL pennant with a 6-1 victory over the A’s in Kansas City.   It was an amazing year for a very good team, as remembered by The Sun:   
After they had waited so long for American League pre-eminence, the Orioles seized it with a relative lack of drama.
Propelled by Frank Robinson’s awesome slugging (he hit .463 with five homers in his first dozen games), they jumped to a 12-1 start. Then, after a mediocre May, they went 44-18 in June and July. The Orioles held a 13-game lead at the end of that stretch, and the gap never fell below 8 1/2 the rest of the way, even as the club played middling baseball in August and September.
In those days of no divisional or league playoffs, the Orioles essentially spent two months waiting for the World Series to arrive.
Yet when they formally clinched the pennant in Kansas City on Sept. 22 — Palmer beat the Athletics, aided by a sensational diving catch by outfielder Russ Snyder — they did not take the moment for granted.    
The victory touched off a celebratory food fight that lasted more than an hour. Egg salad, chocolate milk and shaving cream filled the air. Players tossed fully clothed teammates, and owner Jerry Hoffberger, into streaming showers and swirling whirlpool tubs. A champagne-addled Johnson, who’d go on to manage the Orioles 30 years later, nearly drowned in 8 inches of water.
Powell cut off announcer Bill O’Donnell’s pants at the knee. An upended buffet table landed on reserve Charley Lau’s head.
“Most outlandish thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Watt says.
Baltimore swept the LA Dodgers in October.   They returned to the World Series in 1969, 1970 & 1971.   The same team won the 1973 & 1974 AL East but lost to the A’s in the ALCS.    The O’s returned to the World Series in 1979 & 1983.   They also played in the ALCS in 1996 & 1997 plus more recently in 2014.
The 1966 Orioles were a wonderful team and put together a great record over 10 years.


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