Grich and Baylor off to California: Taking 2 of 3

BobbyGrich.jpgI’m pretty sure I didn’t dream it. There on the cover of Sports Illustrated were two minor leaguers. More specifically it was two Orioles minor leaguers. From Rochester, New York came Baltimore prospects Bobby Grich and Don Baylor. The headline was something like, “Birds on a Wing.” Yes, back in the early 70s, the Orioles had so many good players.

It was November 1, 1976 for both players. That’s when Grich, the Orioles second baseman, and Baylor, the Oakland A’s outfielder, both filed for free agency. And evidently right in tune, both went to the Angels. That’s the same Baylor who hit 25 homers for the 1975 Orioles. And then was shipped (not wisely) to Oakland for one Reggie Jackson. Sure, Reggie gave us a good season but he was not really an Orioles player. And the same Grich who gave us back to back 29 doubles seasons.

Grich was our starting second baseman in back to back playoff performances (1973 and 1974) and frankly he didn’t hit well in either of them. Oh wait he did deliver the game-winning homer in game four. In the 1979 playoffs against his former employer in Baltimore, Grich hit .154 against the AL champs from Baltimore.

Baylor hit better than Grich in the two Orioles series. Against the Orioles in 79, he hit .188 but did manage a solo homer in an Angels win. Would Orioles history been a little better if we had held on to these guys. Yes it would.

Hey, it’s tough to play those teams from the West. Oakland is stacked. The Mariners are tough and the Angels have been hot. So the Angels at least came to Baltimore this week. The opener on Friday night was fun. Adam Jones got us started with one of his expected first-inning homers. A three-run homer by Nick Markakis gave us some breathing room. The Angels tied it and sent it to extra innings. And then Manny Machado ended the game with a homer in the 7-6 12-inning victory.

Game two showed off the talents of Kevin Gausman. He flirted with a perfect game and then a no-hitter and then he almost gave us the lead. The Birds won 4-3. Another first-inning homer, from Jones got us a quick 2-0 lead. Another two runs came in from unexpected folks like David Lough (double) and Ryan Flaherty (single).

Last night’s game was hard to watch. Hit the ball, fellows. This time, we were the ones being no-hit. It took catcher Caleb Joseph to break that up. Bud Norris has some mastery over the Angels and he kept that going. No one could score. It was back to 1968 ball when offense shut down. Yes, we lost 1-0 in 13 innings and lost a game to the Jays but the Birds remain a big threat in the pennant chase as we enter August.


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Brian Hradsky

The owner of MSB, I created this website while in college and it has never died.

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