It’s a fun day for Baltimore Orioles history. After all, Aug. 13 was the day Jim Palmer tossed a no-hitter in 1969 and Earl Weaver stalled his way into a rain-shortened victory against the rival New York Yankees in 1978. Be sure to read this colorful Tom Boswell article about the rain game that speaks to “One of the most bizarre weekends in Baltimore Orioles history” and includes a quote from Lou Pinella calling Weaver “that little shrimp.”
We’ll go a little bit less obvious for this day in Orioles history and focus instead on the second of two career multi-homer games by second baseman Billy Gardner during a 5-3 victory against the Washington Senators on Aug. 13, 1957.
Gardner, a “feisty leadoff hitter,” had a solo homer in the seventh inning and a two-run homer in the ninth inning to up his season total to six long balls. He would not homer again during the 1957 season. Gardner’s first two-homer game came a season earlier on May 16, 1956.
The run support helped starter Connie Johnson to his 10th victory. Johnson posted 10 strikeouts against only one walk during what would be a career-best 14-win season in 1957.
Gardner led the league in doubles, at-bats, and plate appearances in 1957. His .987 fielding percentage led all of baseball among second basemen. Gardner was named Most Valuable Oriole at season’s end and finished 12th in MVP voting. Mickey Mantle won MVP and Ted Williams finished second.
Gardner managed the Minnesota Twins in the early ’80s before being replaced by Orioles pitching coach Ray Miller.