Throughout the 2016 season Roar from 34 will use Flashback Fridays to remember the 1966 Baltimore Orioles and honor the 50th anniversary of the franchise’s first World Series title.
Before the days when the media reported prematurely on player agreements; before free-agents experienced last-minute changes of heart and took less money than they could’ve received in the first place from the same team; and before agents issued disingenuous press releases after the fact to save face and pass the blame; Spring Training life was simple and languid.
That easygoing pace of baseball’s preseason allowed for a focus on more wholesome considerations like … gambling?!?
The 1966 Orioles were of interest to gamblers of all stripes, including members of the Rat Pack. Crooners Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra bet on (orange and) black.
Jim Palmer explained the situation in a 2014 New York Times interview.
“I listen to Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra. They bet on the Orioles in 1966, 40 to 1, to win four straight. A thousand dollars. And the next year I got invited to see Frank at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach in spring training. But, unfortunately, they play a lot of Sinatra at Yankee Stadium when they beat the Orioles.”
As Retro Baltimore reports, gambling considerations were in play well before the World Series. Frank Robinson’s arrival in Orioles camp improved the team’s chances of capturing the A.L. flag in the eyes of the oddsmakers: “Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder made the Orioles 3-1 favorites to win the American League pennant.”
The 1966 Baltimore Orioles were a safe bet.