Remembering 1966: Oct. 9

On Oct. 9, 1966, the Orioles won their first World Series.

It's gut-check time for left-hander Dave McNally: There are two outs and two men on base in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the World Series, as the Orioles nurse a 1-0 lead. McNally delivers a curveball and the Los Angeles Dodgers' Lou Johnson lofts a lazy fly to center field, where Paul Blair squeezes the ball for the final out. As one, the announced Memorial Stadium crowd of 54,458 stands and roars. On Oct. 9, at 3:47 p.m., the Orioles are world champions.

Remember the photo? Third baseman Brooks Robinson jumps at least 3 feet into the air as catcher Andy Etchebarren rushes the mound to embrace a wide-eyed, incredulous McNally. The underdog Orioles have swept Los Angeles, holding the defending champs scoreless for the last 33 innings, including a Series-record three straight shutouts. Frank Robinson ends the classic as he began, with a solo home run, and is named Most Valuable Player. Moreover, the Orioles play error-free ball.

"They didn't make any mistakes, not one," Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale says. "Their whole team played like hell."

Partied like it, too. In the clubhouse, someone drops a cake on slugger Boog Powell's head, and outfielder Curt Blefary smothers Joe Garagiola in shaving cream as the NBC broadcaster begins his postgame report.

Outside, Baltimoreans take to the streets. Confetti flies, horns blare and firecrackers explode as fans run amok shouting, "Birds! Birds! Birds!" A Dodgers pennant is burned in the street, ignored by police who patrol in cars bedecked with orange Orioles flags and stickers

City Hall rings its bell 66 times. Through it all, The Sun reports, "Blacks and whites demonstrated together, shook hands and smiled."

mike.klingaman@baltsun.com

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