Missed the Crow's big hit/Two game sweep of Pittsburgh
Of course we have played the Pittsburgh Pirates before. Had a 2-0 lead in the 1971 World Series and lost it in seven. It was a similar tale in 1979 when the Orioles blew a 3 games to 1 lead. Oh that hurt. So here’s a short story in my upcoming book, “Tales from Orioles Nation.”
Kind of funny that I got a full apology nearly 30 years later. It’s the 1979 World Series and I’m alone in my Georgetown DC house. The roommates are gone and of course the wonderful Orioles are on television facing the evil Pirates and we are trailing 6-3 heading to the eighth inning of game four in Pittsburgh. But the O’s are threatening and Pittsburgh is forced to bring in ace reliever Kent Tekulve.
And then the phone rings in the house. Who calls during a World Series game? Like an idiot, I answered the phone as one of H-Man’s friends, Randy, had a long message. Where the phone was stationed, I couldn’t see the television. That’s when Brother Lo (John Lowenstein) cracked a bases loaded double off of Tekulve. Next up was another pinch-hitter, Terry Crowley.
Randy was still talking. Why do this to me? The Crow is up with the game on the line. And Crowley rips one to right (so I’ve been told) but I couldn’t see it.
I expressed my extreme displeasure with this ill-timed call even many years later. And so H-Man called Randy up recently and asked him to apologize me for calling during the World Series. I took his very belated apology but still wasn’t happy.
Now on with the Terry Crowley story. Let’s look at his best game in an Orioles uniform. It’s 1980 and Crowley was 33-years-old. He would set career highs in runs, hits, homers (12) and RBIs (50).
On Sept. 24th, the O’s were in a furious pennant chase with the hated Yankees. The Birds had 93 wins in their pockets but still trailed New York by five games. And Baltimore was pitching its latest hero in Steve Stone.
Stone didn’t have it. Boston routed him and he was gone in the second inning following a three-run homer by Tony Perez. The Orioles trailed 7-1 in the third.
Terry Crowley to the rescue. Put it this way, Stone didn’t get the loss. In the third inning, Crowley cracked a three-run homer chasing home Eddie Murray and Pat Kelly. One inning later, Kelly rode home again following a Crowley homer. His 5 RBIs in the two innings pulled the Orioles into a 9-9 tie. Baltimore came all the way back to post a 12-9 win.
Crowley played a few years in Cincinnati and finished his career in Montreal. But his 12-year career in American League, and all 1,272 at-bats came in an Orioles uniform. He had a sweet swing from the left-handed batter’s box. In real trivia he managed 46 career at-bats against the Perry brothers. That was a career-high 9 hits off of Gaylord Perry and that included 2 doubles and 2 homers. Against Gaylord’s younger brother, Jim Perry, Crowley was 0-for-11.
Crowley played in three World Series. That key bases-loaded double in game four against Pittsburgh was his lone World Series hit. He batted once in the 1970 series with the Reds and played for the Reds in the 1975 Series.
Now on to the doubleheader sweep Thursday. Yes, I even stayed up late to watch the win on my phone.
The second game of the twin bill stands out here. That’s because we trailed 4-0 heading to the Orioles sixth inning. And finally the offense ignited. A four-run sixth did the trick. Adam Jones and Steve Pearce had big doubles. JJ Hardy delivered a two-run single. The game was tied up.
And the Pirates took back the lead in the seventh. Ryan Webb gave us two big strikeouts with two runners in scoring position. Still trailing by a run, sudden power hitter, Nick Markakis, delivered a game-tying homer. And Matt Wieters won the game with a homer to right in the 10th, 6-5. Oh, Manny Machado started this game at third. Welcome back, Manny.
Pearce was the game one hero with 3 hits in the 5-1 win. Again we were held scoreless for five innings. Bud Norris battled to keep this a 1-0 deficit. Markakis cracked his first homer of the season in this win. Tommy Hunter got the save in this game and picked up the win in game two.