Boddicker gets the nod
By Childs Walker
It's hard to pinpoint one pivotal moment in the Orioles' 1983 postseason run, because so many players contributed. But in conversations with members of the team, one name came up over and over. Mike Boddicker, they said, put them over the top.
Boddicker had already filled in brilliantly for Jim Palmer and Mike Flanagan by the time the Orioles reached their American League Championship Series showdown with the Chicago White Sox. But he had never faced a situation as pressurized as the one that greeted him in Game2.
In the opener of that best-of-five series, LaMarr Hoyt shut down the Orioles for a 2-1 victory over Scott McGregor. A loss the next day would probably have been fatal to the Orioles' championship hopes. What a spot for a rookie. And Boddicker's opponent, Floyd Bannister, was no pushover.
Boddicker had absolute confidence, however, in his changeup and curveball. He could, in Jim Palmer's words, seemingly walk the curve to the plate and place it where he wanted. That made him a rare threat to power hitters such as Harold Baines, Ron Kittle and Greg Luzinski.
Boddicker pitched a masterpiece that October evening, allowing only five hits and striking out an ALCS-record 14 batters. His shutout, backed by a two-run homer from Gary Roenicke, put the Orioles right back in the thick of the series. They would win the next two to avoid facing Hoyt again.
The Orioles regarded the White Sox as a bigger test than either potential World Series opponent, so in that sense, the pivotal game in the ALCS was the pivotal game of the postseason.
Amazingly, Boddicker pitched nearly as well in the second game of the World Series after the Orioles lost the opener to the Philadelphia Phillies.
"He was the guy that put us over the hump," Rick Dempsey said.
Given that Dempsey won the World Series Most Valuable Player award, his endorsement of Boddicker is enough for me.
Lay it on Landrum
By Dan Connolly
The Orioles' 1983 postseason run was marked by great performances, from the gems pitched by Mike Boddicker and Scott McGregor to Rick Dempsey's clutch hitting to Eddie Murray silencing his critics with two homers in the World Series finale.
But the defining moment of the postseason, the instant in which the Orioles went from playoff team to guaranteed champions, came in Game4 of the American League Championship Series and was delivered by a guy named Tito.
Terry Lee "Tito" Landrum was a 28-year-old outfielder who had been with the Orioles for little more than a month and had only three major league homers before stepping in against Chicago White Sox left-hander Britt Burns in the 10th inning of a scoreless tie.
His no-doubt-about-it solo homer ignited the Orioles' three-run rally, clinched a World Series berth and gave the Orioles the feeling they couldn't be beat. Perhaps more important, it allowed them to avoid an ALCS Game 5 against La Marr Hoyt, the nastiest pitcher in the league, who had already shut them down in Game1.
"We always had it in the back of our minds that we didn't want to face Hoyt again because we couldn't beat him," Dempsey said.
And they couldn't have won without Landrum, who would finish his nine-season career with 13 regular-season homers and two in the postseason. Boddicker, Dempsey and the boys came up big 25 years ago, but it was Tito's shot that's most unforgettable for Orioles fans.