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.
The 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.
Gene Brabender, who would be converted to a starter in 1967, had only one start among the 31 games in which he appeared during his rookie campaign. Meanwhile, rookie Tom Phoebus made three September starts, going nine shutout innings in the first two.
Phoebus finished 50-37 in five years with the Orioles and pitched the team’s third no-hitter. He wasn’t eligible to pitch in the 1966 World Series but picked up a win in relief in Game 2 of the 1970 series. His no-hitter for the Rochester Red Wings in August 1966 led to the formation of the Tom Phoebus Fan Club and foreshadowed his success to come.