Lay it on Landrum

The Baltimore Sun

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 Game 4 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 Game 1.

"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.

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