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.
The 1960 Mount St. Joe grad said that during Spring Training in 1966, “I wanted to make (the Orioles) more than anything in the world.” Instead, he was relegated to the minors where, in August 1966, he pitched a no-hitter for Earl Weaver’s Rochester Red Wings. Thus was born the Tom Phoebus Fan Club.
Here are the details on the fan club from Phoebus’ SABR bio.
In late August, after the no-hitter, the Tom Phoebus Fan Club conducted a friendly protest in his old Baltimore neighborhood, urging the Orioles to call him up immediately. Primarily composed of his friends and neighbors and their young children, the small crowd carried signs such as “Give Tom Phoebus A Chance to Pitch.” In early September, Weaver summed up Phoebus’s status to The Sporting News. “He has major-league pitches. Everybody in the organization knows this. It’s just that he must prove that he can throw strikes consistently. …. Tom has a major-league fastball and slider right now. It’s his curve that he has trouble controlling. … I think he has an excellent chance to pitch for Baltimore next year.”
Phoebus’ friends and neighbors were on to something. The 24-year-old debuted for the Birds on Sept. 15, 1966 and tossed a complete-game shutout. Five days later he was at it again, tossing a second complete-game shutout on Sept. 20, 1966. He became only the seventh MLB pitcher since 1900 to have consecutive shutouts in his first two games.
For context, Miguel Gonzalez was the most recent Orioles pitcher with a complete-game shutout; it happened on Sept. 3, 2014. Meanwhile, the most recent O’s pitcher to have two complete-game shutouts in the same season was Daniel Cabrera, who did so in 2006. The latter game was Cabrera’s near no-hitter in the Bronx.
More reading on Tom Phoebus: