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Orioles spotlight: Boog Powell and the 1966 World Series champions

Boog Powell on how the 1966 Orioles set the tone for the future of the franchise.

Of the players who together formed the foundation of the Orioles franchise, few were more instrumental than Boog Powell. After debuting late in 1961 at age 20, Powell played the first 14 of his 17 major league seasons with the Orioles, making four All-Star teams and winning the American League MVP award in 1970. In 1966, when the Orioles won their first World Series, he hit .287 with 34 home runs and 109 RBIs.

Powell and his former teammates returned to Camden Yards on Friday for a 50th-anniversary celebration of the 1966 World Series club.

A lot of the guys talked about how they've been on different teams since the 1966 Orioles, but none quite like that. What made that team unique?

Well, you know, when I got traded to Cleveland, Frank [Robinson] was over there and Frank was the manager at Cleveland. And we tried to portray the feeling that we had about playing baseball, about how we looked at our job and how we looked at our lives as baseball players. And we did a kangaroo court, and we did all this, and you know, "Let's keep it light. Let's go out, and when it's time to cross the line, we'll cross the line and we're gonna kick butt." I don't know. It just seemed like there wasn't any interest in anything else other than "me, me, I, I" [in Cleveland]. There was too much individualism. Whereas here on this [1966] team, "I" never even … it didn't matter who won the game. It wasn't important. Just so we won. So we could get to have kangaroo court, you know? We had a lot of fun doing that.

There was '66, and then 1968 through 1985 were all winning seasons, and then the past four have been .500 seasons, too. How did 1966 set the tone for the rest of the success of the franchise?

In '66, it was like, "We got it done, now we know how to do it, we know how to approach it, and we're just going to have to get a few breaks, and we're going to win." That's all there is to it. There was no excuse for losing.

So many unique guys on that team, too. What did you see that year that following baseball since then, you really don't see anymore?

Well, every now and then I see guys that are doing close things together and having the way they look at fans, the way they carry themselves on the field. A perfect example of that is when I saw something when Don Mattingly was still playing, and Don Mattingly went after a ball down the first base line at Yankee Stadium. And he didn't get the ball, but there was a kid with a thing of popcorn. And he stuck his hand in the kid's popcorn and put some popcorn in his mouth and had a big smile. You think that kid ever forgot that? You think the people around him ever forgot that? It was just like when I'd come out of the on-deck circle in Camden Yards, I knew everybody in the first 10 seats by their first name, and I said hello to them every night on the way to the on-deck circle. I don't know, I don't think you see anybody doing that anymore. Maybe we need to see a little bit of that.



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