1983 World Series
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The Baltimore Orioles
In his first year at the helm of the Baltimore Orioles, Joe Altobelli, who had last managed the San Francisco Giants from 1977 to 1979, had taken over for Earl Weaver who retired to the broadcast booth after a 16-year managerial run from 1968-1982 during which he had guided the Birds to four World Series appearances and two additional division titles; Earl would later come back briefly in 1985 and 1986 before retiring for good in favor of long-time coach Cal Ripken Sr. in 1987. But during his brief stint at the helm, Altobelli was blessed with two future Hall of Famers in first baseman Eddie Murray and shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. Ripken (27, 102, .318) and Murray (33, 111, .306) would finish first and second in the MVP voting in 1983, with Cal Jr out-pointing Steady Eddie, 322-290. A year from retirement, Ken Singleton settled into the DH role while the rest of the team were a corps of platoon players. These Orioles would finish first in team home runs (168), first in OBP (.340) and second in runs, doubles, and walks.
Age also caught up with Jim Palmer, probably the best pitcher in the history of the team, but now 37. After winning 15 games in 1982, Palmer started only 11 times in 1983, winning 5 against 4 losses. He would win one game in this World Series, however, in a relief appearance, and then be released by the O's at the beginning of 1984 after struggling early. A younger staff headed by 18-game winner, Scott McGregor (18-7, 3.18) and 25-year-old, Mike Boddicker (16-8, 2.77) were flanked by 21-year-old Storm Davis (13-7, 3.59) and veteran Mike Flanagan (12-4, 3.30). Dependable Tippy Martinez posted a career high with 21 saves, while Sammy Stewart added 9 wins out of the bullpen as the O's pitching led the A.L. in shutouts (15) and was second in wins (98) and ERA (3.63).
The Philadelphia Phillies
Facing the Baltimore Orioles were the Philadelphia Phillies who were appearing in the World Series for only the fourth time in team history.
The average team age of these 1983 "Wheeze Kid" Phils was 32 years, a contrast to the cast of the "Whiz Kid" 1950 team, who averaged 26 years. Wags in Philadelphia joked at the time that this older team even played in Veterans Stadium.
Joining 42-year-old first baseman Pete Rose were two of his teammates from the "Big Red Machine" Cincinnati Reds of the 1970s, 41-year-old first baseman Tony Perez and 39-year-old second baseman Joe Morgan. Rose was the center of media attention, but was pretty much washed up by then - he had been benched in favor of journeyman Len Matuszek during most of September; the real batting star on this team was 33-year-old Mike Schmidt who had another MVP-type year with 40 home runs and 109 RBIs (although the Atlanta Braves' Dale Murphy was the actual National League MVP). No other teammate hit over 16 home runs (Joe Morgan) or drive in over 64 runs (catcher Bo Diaz). The team's most prominent young player, OF Von Hayes, had actually lost his starting job by the end of the year after a disappointing first season in Philly. Other veterans who completed the line-up were SS Ivan DeJesus, LF Gary Matthews and CF Garry Maddox.
Veteran pitcher Steve Carlton had a mediocre year at 15-16 – his first losing season since 1973 when his record was 13-20, although his other statistics were still good. In his first full season with Philadelphia, John Denny, was the staff ace and won the Cy Young Award with a league-leading 19-6 record, and a 2.37 ERA; he had won 13 of his last 14 decisions. The rest of the starting rotation was shaky, however, with rookies Charles Hudson and kevin Gross and the oft-injured Marty Bystrom rounding out the starting crew. In compensation, the team's bullpen was outstanding, led by closer Al Holland, who finished second in the league with 25 saves and won the Rolaids Relief Award. There were also some senior citizens in the bullpen: hanging around for their swan songs were 40-year-old Ron Reed and 38-year-old Tug McGraw, of "You Gotta Believe" fame, who probably should-a, but wouldn’t see any World Series action.
The 1983 Postseason
The Orioles won the American League East rather comfortably, but the Chicago White Sox, who won the AL West going away with a fantastic second half, had been favored to reach the Fall Classic. The Orioles' greater, experience and better fundamentals, combined with some outstanding starting pitching, led them to prevail, 3 games to 1, in the American League Championship Series. In contrast, the Phillies needed a 22-7 record in September to break open a close NL East divisional race over the Pittsburgh Pirates, with the St. Louis Cardinals and Montréal Expos also mounting a serious run at the title before running out of steam in the final push. They were also underdogs in the National League Championship Series, as the Los Angeles Dodgers had had their number all year. But they surprised the west coasters thanks largely to an outstanding individual performance by Gary Matthews, also previaling by three games to one.
Powered by Eddie Murray's two home runs, the Orioles quickly dispatched the Phillies in 5 games, after losing the opener, with manager Joe Altobelli winning the championship in his inaugural season with the O's matching Earl Weaver who had only one World Series win in spite of all his postseason appearances in his 16 years piloting the team. Relatively unheralded catcher Rick Dempsey won the Series MVP award on the strength of doubles that scored the go-ahead run of Game 2 and began the winning rally of Game 3, and then with a home run and double in the decisive game. He also played outstanding defense, showing a tremendous throwing arm that completely neutralized whatever speed the aging Phillies had. When President Ronald Reagan phoned the Orioles' dugout to offer congratulations after the win, he told Dempsey jokingly that his arm should be a controled weapon.
- Marty Springstead (AL), Ed Vargo (NL), Al Clark (AL), Frank Pulli (NL), Steve Palermo (AL), Dutch Rennert (NL)
|Game||Score||Date||Location||Attendance||Time of Game|
|1||Phillies – 2, Orioles – 1||October 11||Memorial Stadium (Baltimore)||52,204||2:22|
|2||Phillies – 1, Orioles – 4||October 12||Memorial Stadium (Baltimore)||52,132||2:27|
|3||Orioles – 3, Phillies – 2||October 14||Veterans Stadium (Philadelphia)||65,792||2:35|
|4||Orioles – 5, Phillies – 4||October 15||Veterans Stadium (Philadelphia)||66,947||2:50|
|5||Orioles – 5, Phillies – 0||October 16||Veterans Stadium (Philadelphia)||67,064||2:21|
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Philadelphia Phillies 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 2 5 0 Baltimore Orioles 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 5 1 PITCHERS: PHI - Denny, Holland (8) BAL - McGregor, Stewart (9), T. Martinez (9) WP - Denny LP - McGregor SAVE - Holland HOME RUNS: PHI - Morgan, Maddox BAL - Dwyer ATTENDANCE: 52,204
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Philadelphia Phillies 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 0 Baltimore Orioles 0 0 0 0 3 0 1 0 X 4 9 1 PITCHERS: PHI - Hudson, Hernandez (5), Andersen (6), Reed (8) BAL - Boddicker WP - Boddicker LP - Hudson SAVE - none HOME RUNS: PHI - none BAL - Lowenstein ATTENDANCE: 52,132
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Baltimore Orioles 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 3 6 1 Philadelphia Phillies 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 8 2 PITCHERS: BAL - Flanagan, Palmer (5), Stewart (7), T. Martinez (9) PHI - Carlton, Holland (7) WP - Palmer LP - Carlton SAVE - T. Martinez HOME RUNS: BAL - Ford PHI - Matthews, Morgan ATTENDANCE: 65,792
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Baltimore Orioles 0 0 0 2 0 2 1 0 0 5 10 1 Philadelphia Phillies 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 1 4 10 0 PITCHERS: BAL - Davis, Stewart (6), T. Martinez (8) PHI - Denny, Hernandez (6), Reed (6), Andersen (8) WP - Davis LP - Denny SAVE - T. Martinez HOME RUNS: BAL - none PHI - none ATTENDANCE: 66,947
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E - - - - - - - - - - - - Baltimore Orioles 0 1 1 2 1 0 0 0 0 5 5 0 Philadelphia Phillies 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 1 PITCHERS: BAL - McGregor PHI - Hudson, Bystrom (5), Hernandez (6), Reed (9) WP - McGregor LP - Hudson SAVE - none HOME RUNS: BAL - Murray (2), Dempsey PHI - none ATTENDANCE: 67,064
- See also MLB.com's coverage of the fifth game
|Total Attendance: 304,139 Average Attendance: 60,690|
|Winning Player’s Share: – $65,488, Losing Player’s Share – $43,280 *Includes Playoffs and World Series|
- "The I-95 Series" took its nickname from the Interstate that linked the two nearby cities of Baltimore, MD and Philadelphia, PA; a similar nickname would be given to the 1985 World Series two years later.
- The top of the 7th inning of Game 1 was delayed due to ABC's Howard Cosell's interview with President Ronald Reagan. Some observers believe that the delay ultimately disrupted Orioles pitcher Scott McGregor's rhythm, as he gave up a decisive home run to Garry Maddox moments later. McGregor eventually redeemed himself as he was the winning pitcher (in a complete game) in the clinching Game 5. Reagan's visit by the way marked the 12th time that a Chief Executive had attended a World Series game.
- This was the last World Series that Bowie Kuhn presided over as commissioner.
- Former Orioles manager Earl Weaver served as a color commentator for ABC's World Series coverage (teaming with Al Michaels and Cosell).
- The 1983 Phillies had the lowest overall batting average (.195) for a World Series team since the Oakland Athletics in the 1974 World Series; unlike the Phillies, the A's had come out on top in spite of their low batting average.
- The 1983 Philies were nicknamed the "Wheeze Kids" because they had four players who were at least 40 years old. Prior to the 1983 World Series, no team had ever had more than two.
- Joe Morgan, at the age of 40, hit a home run off Scott McGregor in Game 1, becoming the second-oldest man to hit a home run in the World Series. Enos Slaughter was just a few months older than Morgan when he hit one for the New York Yankees in 1956.
- The Orioles' loss in Game 1 marked the first time in six World Series appearances that they had lost the first game.
- Steve Carlton became the first 300-game winner to pitch in a World Series in 55 years (Grover Cleveland Alexander was the last).
- Future Hall of Famers Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken, Jr. batted .161 with exactly one RBI between them through the first four games. Murray would go on to become the Game 5 hero with two titanic home runs, including the only two-run homer in the series. On the other hand, one of the Phillies' future Hall of Famers, Mike Schmidt, had a dreadful series, going 1 for 20 (.050) with his only hit a single.
- The Game 4 crowd of 66,947 in Veterans Stadium was the biggest for a World Series game since Game 3 in New York in 1964; it was then topped by the crowd of 67,064 in Game 5.
- When the Phillies benched Pete Rose in favor of Tony Pérez in Game 3, it ended a streak in which Rose played every inning of his 59 previous postseason games.
- Pitcher Larry Andersen was the only person to play for the Phillies in the 1983 World Series and be with them in the 1993 World Series, when they faced the Toronto Blue Jays in their next appearance in the Fall Calssic; he had played for number of other teams in the interval.
- Jim Palmer's win in Game 3 made him the first and only pitcher to win a World Series game in three different decades. He is the only man to have played with the Orioles in each of their World Series appearances (1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1979, and 1983).
- Game 4, which took place on a Saturday afternoon, was the last World Series game to be played entirely in sunshine.
Quote(s) of the Series
- David S. Neft and Richard M. Cohen: The World Series, 1st ed., St Martins Press, New York, NY, 1990, pp. 398-401.
- 1983 World Series at WorldSeries.com (MLB.com)
- 1983 World Series by Baseball Almanac
- The Orioles All Pitched In at SI.com
- History of the World Series - 1983 at SportingNews.com
- 1983 World Series box scores and play-by-play at Retrosheet.org
- Looking Back: 1983 World Series, Part 1 at phillies.theinsiders.com
- Looking Back: 1983 World Series, Part 2 at phillies.theinsiders.com
- Looking Back: Phillies Beat LA in 1983 NLCS at phillies.theinsiders.com
- 1983 Baltimore Orioles at baseballlibrary.com
- 1983 Philadelphia Phillies at baseballlibrary.com
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