Before Trey Mancini, Larry Haney Did the Debut Homer Honors for the Orioles

larry-haneyRookie call-up Trey Mancini proved to be a rare bright spot this week as the Orioles’ postseason ambitions became clouded.

On Wednesday, Mancini distinguished himself as the third Oriole to homer in his major league debut. What did he do for an encore? On Thursday, he became the first Oriole to homer for his first two hits as well as the first Oriole to homer in his first two starts.

Mancini’s mother was proud. Perhaps Larry Haney was, too.

In 1966, Haney became the first Oriole to homer in his major league debut. The 23-year-old catcher appeared in 20 games during the 1966 season starting with a July 27 contest against the Cleveland Indians. After grounding out in his first at-bat, Haney deposited a John O’Donoghue offering into the stands with Paul Blair aboard in the fifth inning to give the O’s a lead they wouldn’t relinquish in a 7-1 victory. Continue reading

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The 1966 Orioles Had Attendance Issues and a “Grave Pitching Problem”

1966-orioles-serving-tray-natty-bohIt would be simplistic to suggest that in this, the 50th anniversary season of the Orioles’ first World Series team, the current model of Baltimore’s beloved baseball machine resembles the model from five decades ago that became a classic.

Sure, our beer still winks at us, though now it peeks around corners to do so rather than swaggering down the sidewalk. There will be no repeat of the 1966 National Beer serving tray featuring the O’s team photo.

On the field, our strike zone is different – shoulders to knees kept batters on their toes until baseball changed its umpiring ways in 1969 – our mound is lower, and the complete game is an accomplishment rather than an expectation. The early O’s had only a league title to chase, meaning that any talk of a wild card would have centered on eccentric reliever Moe Drabowksy.

Regardless, it’s fun, in hindsight, to read about the perceived shortcomings of the city and the team in October of 1966, which ring familiar today. In the stands, Orioles fans took their knocks. On the field, the Orioles were defined by their knocks.

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Unlikely, Uneven, Unpredictable, and Perhaps Unbelievable. These Are Your 2016 Orioles.

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Photo Credit: Norm Schimmel

What word would you use to describe the 2016 Orioles season to this point?

Unlikely comes to mind for me. Uneven applies as well. Let’s throw unpredictable in the mix.

Should the O’s actually finish things out and win the division, well, then we can push all the other possibilities aside and settle on unbelievable as our adjective of choice.

It’s not like the Orioles haven’t been here before.

On Sept. 15, 2012, the O’s were 81-64, one game back of the Yankees in the division, and 2.5 games up for a wild card spot.

On Sept. 15, 1996, the O’s were 82-67 , 2.5 games back of the Yankees, and 2.5 games up in the wild card.

This year’s team is 80-65, one game back of the Red Sox, and two games in the clear for a wild card.

Nevertheless, things feel different this season, almost as if they haven’t been here before.

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The 1966 Orioles Used A Lot of Starters

Throughout the 2016 season Roar from 34 will use Flashback Fridays to remember the 1966 Baltimore Orioles and to honor the 50th anniversary of the franchise’s first World Series title. See the previous installments here

Tom PhoebusThe 1966 Baltimore Orioles used 11 different starters during the course of their championship season. That number is surprisingly high for an organization that was experiencing so much success (97 wins!) and on the brink of having some of the most dominant starting pitching in baseball history. Only the 2012 Orioles ran out more starters in the course of a season – a dozen altogether – and still made the playoffs. (You can read more about that in my weekly Orioles guest post over at MASNSports.com.)

The names at the top of the games started list are ones any O’s fan would know. Dave McNally led the team with 33 starts, and Jim Palmer had a team-high 15 wins in 30 starts. Reliever Moe Drabowksy started three of the 44 games in which he appeared and sported a spotless 6-0 record with a team-best 9.2 strikeouts-per-nine-innings.

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Te Amo, El Toro

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Twenty homers, a plaque on Eutaw Street, 30 walks (fourth-most on the team!?!), and one amazing nickname. You’ve won me over, El Toro.

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Manny Machado, Orioles Feeling Grand

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Manny Machado has been feeling grand in 2016

Manny Machado had his third grand slam of the 2016 campaign on Tuesday to help power the Orioles to an 11-2 victory versus the Tampa Bay Rays. The win, combined with Toronto’s loss in New York, chipped the division lead down to one game. Meanwhile, the O’s are one up on Detroit for the second wild card after the Tigers lost in Chicago. Manny and the O’s are suddenly feeling grand.

Machado’s grand slam was the O’s sixth as a team, with Jonathan Schoop, Mark Trumbo, and Chris Davis complementing his bases-loaded efforts this season.

The trio of Manny Grannies is the most by an Orioles player since Chris Hoiles had three of his own in 1998.Two of Hoiles’ grand slams came in the same game on Aug. 14, 1998.

Manny  has some work to do to capture the O’s team record for grand slams in a season, and the Orioles are well off the pace for the team record.

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An Orioles Fan’s Lament: Four Games Back Felt Much Better in 1996

Flashback Friday: What really happened between Juan Samuel & the Bird?With their loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night, the Orioles are now four games back in the American League East. That’s the most they’ve trailed all season, which explains the emptiness you’re feeling today in the spot where your soul once resided. Or maybe that’s just me.

Four games back in August doesn’t have to feel awful. In fact, it probably shouldn’t. It simply depends where you started from and whether you’ve surged or scuffled your way to your current location. The Orioles have scuffled.

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