TSN Archives: Champ Bucs batting 1.000 as seers

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This text was initially printed within the Oct. 30, 1971, problem of The Sporting Information.

BALTIMORE, Md. — To many critics, there was a hole ring in Roberto Clemente’s assurance to his teammates: “Don’t fear, I’ll choose you up after we get to Pittsburgh.”

And there have been rows of arched eyebrows when Danny Murtaugh insisted: “We’re an underrated ball membership. We’re higher than most individuals give us credit score for being and ourpitiching is a lot sturdy sufficient to win this factor.”

The “factor” occurred to be the 1971 World Sequence, and preliminary indications have been that the Orioles would sweep the Pirates into the Allegheny-Monongahela waterways simply they’d brushed them into Chesapeake Bay within the first two sport of the Sequence.

Convincing victories by 5-3 and 11-3 scores within the first two video games promised little for the Pirates besides an extended winter of licking their wounds and discovering essentially the most profitable spots to speculate their losers’ shares of roughly $14,000.

A change

Between Baltimore and Pittsburgh on Oct. 11-12 a dramatic transformation occurred. The forensics of star outfielder Clemente and Supervisor Murtaugh grew abruptly significant and, simply as shortly, the Pirates gained stature as a strong Sequence competitor.

As Clemente predicted, he spearheaded a batting revival. As Murtaugh forecast, the Pirate pitching gained recent respect.

From a record-tying whole of 14 runners left on base within the second sport, the Pirates turned economical. Hits have been transformed into runs and, behind the glittering efforts of Steve Blass, Bruce Kison and Nelson Briles, the entire complexion of the 68th fall traditional was turned from blue to rosy crimson in Buc land.

Blass scattered three hits, Kison, relieving the primary inning, allowed one hit, out a complete of 4, and Briles yielded solely two innocent singles. Insufficient pitching, certainly.

After 5 video games, there was discuss of the Pirates turning into the primary crew to win 4 consecutive video games after dropping the primary two.

Puerto Rican Pulverizer

Jim Palmer and the Robinsons, Frank and Brooks, quashed such chatter in Recreation No. 6. And, simply because it appeared that the Sequence would comply with a home-club-take-all sample, Blass got here again with a four-hit spectacular within the deciding contest to account for the Pirates’ fourth world championship.

Pirate golf equipment additionally received in 1909, ’25, and ’60, and misplaced in 1903 and ’27.

Clemente, true to his promise, maintained a withering assault on Oriole pitching that featured 4 20-game winners. The Puerto Rican Pulverizer batted .414 and barely did not equal the seven-game Sequence report of 13 hits, set by Bobby Richardson of the 1964 Yankees and tied by Lou Brock of the 1968 Cardinals.

Clemente did, nevertheless, equal one report. By hitting safely in every of the seven video games, matching his efficiency within the 1960 Sequence, Roberto equalled a mark set by Hank Bauer of the Yankees of the late Nineteen Fifties.

For his two appearances within the Sequence, Clemente boasts a .360 bat mark. He was 9-for-29 within the Bucs’ seven-game victory over the Yankees 11 years in the past.

On account of his incandescent efficiency, Roberto was acclaimed the excellent participant of the Sequence and was awarded the sports activities automotive offered yearly by {a magazine}.

‘A coal gap’

Clemente’s on-the-field actions vied together with his oratory proclivities for Sequence headlines.

At one level, whereas the groups have been taking part in on the velvety synthetic turf at Three Rivers Stadium, Robert proclaimed Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium as “the worst subject I’ve performed on within the main leagues. It’s powerful choosing up the ball coming off the bat,” he moaned. “And the holes and ditches make it unimaginable to cost hits within the outfield.”

Frank Robinson, resident proper fielder for the Orioles, agreed. “It’s powerful taking part in proper subject typically, sure, however I don’t go round crying about it. Why does he? He’s alleged to be so nice. He ought to be capable to modify.

“He performed in a coal gap (Forbes Area, former residence of the Bucs) all his profession till he received into Three Rivers and now  he’s going round placing down different parks. If worse involves worse, perhaps he can watch the place I play and take it from there.”

The barrage ceased as shortly because it commenced and Clemente spent the final two days assaulting Baltimore pitching fairly than actual property.

Whereas the Orioles have been sweeping the Athletics within the Championship Sequence, Earl Weaver labeled his three-time pennant winners “the best membership within the historical past of baseball.”

Those that recalled Yankee five-time winners of 1949-53 and (four-time winners of 1961)-64 took a dim view of Earl’s beneficiant analysis. When the ultimate out was registered at 4:10 p.m. (EDT), Weaver was requested how come his defending champions reigned so briefly.



“Clemente was nice, Kison turned the Sequence round, however Blass was Mr. World Sequence,” replied the apt phrase-maker.

It was a becoming tribute from the winner of 318 video games in three seasons to a 29-year-old righthander who allowed solely seven hits and one run in 18 innings.

Winner of 15 video games in regular-season play, however hammered cruelly within the playoffs, Blass stored Baltimore off stride consistently together with his change-ups.

Yet one more hit

Oracles who predicted that the previous professional Orioles would get to Blass the second time round discovered no must apologize. The Birds solved him for another hit, 4.

When the Sequence returned to this metropolis for the windup video games, Weaver took each step to shake the Hen bat lethargy.

On the afternoon of October 15, after supervising an Oriole exercise, Earl shrugged his worries and visited the Laurel race observe.

He strongly resisted a temptation to plunk a bob or two on an ideal hunch, Floperoo, within the second race. It could have him $8.40.

“I didn’t play any of the races,” he reported. “But when I had, I’d have received about $110 or $120.

As a result of Hen broadcaster Invoice O’Donnell had fetcher the Pirate lineup to Weaver in all three Pittsburgh gams — every a loss — Earl switched his technique for the Baltimore windup.

“The place’s Hatter?” he inquired within the dugout earlier than Recreation No. 6.

Baltimore Solar baseball author Lou Hatter appeared shortly, studying off the Bucco lineup.

“We we win the final two video games,” Weaver defined, “Hatter will get any swimsuit he need from my tailor.”

Because of Blass, Clemente and fellow conspirators, Mr. Hatter should make his previous tweeds do some time longer.

On the morning of October 18, nevertheless, Earl Weaver went buying. He purchased a chunk of baggage to begin packing for the the Orioles’ 28-day tour of Japan, starting October 20.

He hardly appreciated the reminder that the Orioles, in dropping, merely conformed to custom. No world champion has ever toured Japan.


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