Tuesday, March 20, 2012

1983 World Series: Ripken's first - and only - title

The Teams
American League: Baltimore Orioles (98-64) - Sixth World Series (Won in 1966, 1970)
National League: Philadelphia Phillies (90-72) - Fourth World Series (Won in 1980)

What Happened
It wasn't quite a subway series, as Baltimore and Philadelphia are in separate states, but with their stadiums sitting only about 100 miles apart, there was definitely a regional feel to the 1983 series.

While the teams were neighbors, they seemed to be going in opposite directions. After winning the World Series in 1980, the Phillies took the unusual step of getting older. After adding former Reds Joe Morgan and Tony Perez - to go along with another former Red, Pete Rose, who was there for the '80 title - the Phillies earned the nickname The Wheeze Kids. Meanwhile, youth led the way for the Orioles. Cal Ripken, Jr., who was named AL MVP, was only 23 years old, while Eddie Murray, MVP in the runner-up vote, was only 27. Win or lose, the future looked brighter for the Orioles, while the Phillies seemed to be in now-or-never mode.

While the Orioles had young offensive stars, it was their veteran pitchers who led the way in the Series. Two solo home runs was enough for the Phillies to win Game 1, but Baltimore got a complete-game three-hitter from Mike Boddicker to win Game 2. Philadelphia got two more solo home runs in Game 3, but Baltimore's bullpen threw five shutout innings, giving the offense enough time to rally for a win. Clutch hitting was at a premium in Game 4, as the teams combined for 14 runners left on base. Baltimore held on to win that one, then got two home runs from Eddie Murray and another from Rick Dempsey to cruise to a series-ending win in Game 5.

The final out was a line drive right to Ripken, which seemed as a symbol for the Orioles' future. He was destined to lead the Orioles to greatness for the next decade. Well, he led them, but not to glory. Ripken played for 18 more seasons for Baltimore, but never again appeared in the World Series.

Defining Game
Game 4 was the only true back-and-forth game in the series, which makes sense considering all the baserunners they had. A Rich Dauer single scored Ripken and Murray to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth, but the Phillies responded to take a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth. The Orioles reclaimed the lead with a bases-loaded walk and a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the sixth, then added an insurance run on Dauer's seven-inning single. The insurance came in handy when the Phillies got one run back in the bottom of the ninth, but Morgan ended the game by lining out to second base.

Rick Dempsey. Though several of Baltimore's hitters had a good series, the normally light-hitting Dempsey stood out. All five of his hits were extra-base hits, including the game-winning double in Game 2 and a home run in Game 5.

(Home team shaded; winners in Bold)

Philadelphia 2 1 2 4 0
Baltimore 1 4 3 5 5

The List
I'm ranking all the World Series, from worst to best. Here are the ones I've done so far:

80. 1983 - Baltimore (A) def. Philadelphia (N) 4-1
81. 1913 - Philadelphia (A) def. New York (N) 4-1
82. 1930 - Philadelphia (A) def. St. Louis (N) 4-2
83. 1914 - Boston (N) def. Philadelphia (A) 4-0
84. 1951 - New York (A) def. New York (N) 4-2
85. 1939 - New York (A) def. Cincinnati (N) 4-0
86. 1910 - Philadelphia (A) def. Chicago (N) 4-1
87. 1905 - New York (N) def. Philadelphia (A) 4-1
88. 1965 - Los Angeles (N) def. Minnesota (A) 4-3
89. 1961 - New York (A) def. Cincinnati (N) 4-1
Numbers 90-99
Numbers 100-107

No comments:

Post a Comment