Flashback Friday: A Rainy Game Day – July 20, 1987

Revisiting another 4-1 rain-shortened victory, this one from 1987

“We found some funny ways to lose. There’s a rain delay for a strikeout and then a rain delay for a double play.”

-White Sox Manager Jim Fregosi, following a 4-1 O’s victory in 1987

The Orioles defeated the Twins 4-1 on Wednesday night in a rain-shortened game that was called in the top of the sixth inning. This week’s Flashback Friday revisits another rain-shortened 4-1 victory that was called in the sixth inning. It happened in Chicago on July 20, 1987, against the White Sox.

In 1987, Mike Griffin played the role of the 2009 Mark Hendrickson, a struggling starting pitcher who briefly braved the elements to register an encouraging performance. Griffin pitched four innings, giving up six hits and one earned run with one strikeout and two walks, to earn the win (box score). It was Griffin’s second victory since 1982; both came against the White Sox.

Griffin, who pitched one season in Baltimore, finished the year with a 3-5 record and a 4.36 ERA. Two years later he made three relief appearances for the Cincinnati Reds in his final major league stint. Griffin currently serves as the Norfolk Tides’ pitching coach.

On the offensive side, the O’s scored all of their runs in the top of the fifth inning off of starter Neil Allen and reliever Bobby Thigpen. Thigpen relieved Allen after the right hander loaded the bases on a single to third baseman Ron Washington and walks to right fielder Larry Sheets and second baseman Billy Ripken. (Washington, like Griffin, played just one year with the team.) Cal followed with a tapper to the mound that forced Sheets at the plate, but an Eddie Murray walk, a Ken Gerhart two-run single, and a Mike Young RBI single accounted for all of the Birds’ runs.

O’s reliever Doug Corbett, yet another one-year player for the patchwork O’s, picked up the save when he induced Harold Baines into what amounted to a game-ending double play. Billy Ripken, who had been called up to the O’s on July 11, turned the 4-3 double play. With Cal Sr. managing and Cal Jr. at shortstop, it was the first time in major league history that a manager had two of his sons on the same team.

Billy’s contributions were needed after Alan Wiggins, who was acquired by the team in a trade prior to the 1986 season, struggled on the field and in the clubhouse, where he was said to have sparred with Sheets.

The bottom of the fifth inning included two rain delays – lasting 29 minutes and 48 minutes, respectively. Thigpen pitched to two batters in the top of the sixth before a third rain delay, lasting 1 hour and 17 minutes, led to the game being called.

After the game, White Sox Manager Jim Fregosi may not have been as irritated as Ron Gardenhire was this past week, but he was frustrated nonetheless.

Said Fregosi: “We found some funny ways to lose. There’s a rain delay for a strikeout and then a rain delay for a double play.”

[Image source: nerdbaseball.com. Click image for original.]

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About mptaylor11

Roar from 34, a Baltimore Orioles Blog. Humor. History. Homerism. Since 2006.
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