Saturday, January 11, 2014

#8–Baltimore Orioles (102-57) – AL Champs (14 Cards)

Anchored by the number 1 pitching staff in the AL the O's were no shock to win the AL East Crown.  Like the Pirates and Reds, the O's ended the decade like they started it, on top of the AL.  During the 70's Baltimore won 1 World Championship (1970), 3 Pennants (70, 71 and 79) and 5 division titles (70, 71, 73, 74, 79).  While accomplishing all this the never finished below .500.  Their worst season during this 10 year span was 1972 (80-74) and that can squarely be blamed on them trading Frank Robinson, who was their heart and soul.  In 1979 the O's won 102 games to win the division by 8.  This was your prototypical Earl Weaver team that had great pitching, strong defense up the middle and the penchant for getting the timely 3 run homer.  The O's moved into first place on May 1st and stayed there the rest of the way.  Mike Flanagan won 23 games.  The rest of the starters were rock solid strong even though they weren't statistically amazing.  Don "Full Pack" Stanhouse (21 saves) anchored a bullpen that had no week links.  The O's finished third in homers, but only 11th in average.  Their OBP was much better, but no one was looking at OBP back in 1979.  Veteran RF'er Kenny Singleton blasted 35 homers and knocked in 111 runs.  Fellow switch hitter Eddie Murray blasted 25 with 99 RBI's.  The rest of the starters were platooned based on righty/lefty matchups and Earl's hunches.  Mid season acquisition of John, "let it be" Lowenstein helped spark a well balanced attack.  In the post season the O's dispatched the Angels in 4 games to win the pennant, then blew a 3-1 lead in the World Series to lose to the Bucs in 7 just like they did in 1971.


Editor’s Note:  Once again Tony supplied 75% of the photos.  I did some air brushing on the Molinaro photo which came from a Rochester Red Wings (O’s AAA Team) card.  Similar colors made it pretty easy.  The John Flinn photo was marginal at best and the airbrush took a lot of work just to get it to look this mediocre.  I plan on searching for a better shot and hope to update it before I finalize the complete set.  I used a colorized action shot for him last year and didn’t want to use that one again.  The Ellie Hendricks photo came from a fan’s website.  Apparently this fan took pictures of the O’s during a spring training meet and greet.  Most of the good photos of Ellie in an O’s uni were from his first tenure with the organization and featured the solid black cap, not the white panel cap that they started wearing in the mid 70’s.  I liked that photo a lot, because it seemed like something Topps would have used during an era where they were famous for using photos with random people in the background.  On a side note, notice the Stone and Stoddard photos?  It looks like Topps lined those two guys up and took them one right after the other against the same fence in spring training the following year.

For those keeping score at home, we have 8 teams down and 18 left to go.

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