1966 World Series
The 1966 World Series matched the Baltimore Orioles against the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers, with the Orioles sweeping the Series in four games to capture the first championship in franchise history. Despite the general consensus that the Orioles were short of pitching when compared to the likes of Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, Orioles pitching allowed only two runs in the entire series and ended up with a 0.50 team ERA, the second lowest in World Series history (the lowest was the very difficult-to-beat 0.418 by the New York Giants in 1905.
The Orioles' Moe Drabowsky, often thought of as never quite living up to his potential, was exceptional in this Series. He set a record for relief pitchers in World Series play by recording 11 strikeouts in Game 1, six of them consecutively, tying Hod Eller's six in the scandal-tainted 1919 World Series.
The Orioles also became the last of the original eight American League teams to win a World Series. They had played in the Fall Classic as the St. Louis Browns in 1944, in which they were also the last of the original eight AL teams to participate in a Series.
Los Angeles' Sandy Koufax, though arguably at the peak of his career, announced his retirement after the Series due to a chronic sore elbow that required constant medical treatment to allow him to pitch effectively.
Series MVP: Frank Robinson (Baltimore)
SummaryAL Baltimore Orioles (4) vs. NL Los Angeles Dodgers (0)
|Game||Score||Date||Location||Attendance||Time of Game|
|1||Orioles – 5, Dodgers – 2||October 5||Dodger Stadium||55,941||2:56|
|2||Orioles – 6, Dodgers – 0||October 6||Dodger Stadium||55,947||2:26|
|3||Dodgers – 0, Orioles – 1||October 8||Memorial Stadium||54,445||1:55|
|4||Dodgers – 0, Orioles – 1||October 9||Memorial Stadium||54,458||1:45|
|Los Angeles (N)||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||3||0|
|W: Moe Drabowsky (1-0) L: Don Drysdale (0-1)|
|HR: BAL – Frank Robinson (1), Brooks Robinson (1) LAD – Jim Lefebvre (1)|
Starting pitchers: Don Drysdale (13-16, 3.42), Dave McNally (13-6, 3.17). Sandy Koufax was not available for the Dodgers because he had had to pitch a complete game in the second game of a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Phillies on October 2nd to clinch the pennant. Ironically, Drysdale had started the first game of that doubleheader, but he had been chased early and was thus better rested.
In the top of the 1st inning, after Luis Aparicio flied to right, Drysdale walked Russ Snyder, and then American League Triple Crown winner Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson hit back-to-back home runs to give the Orioles an early 3-0 lead. In the bottom half of the frame, McNally walked Dodger leadoff man Maury Wills, who subsequently stole second. However, the Dodgers failed to score. In the 2nd inning, with Andy Etchebarren on second base, Snyder slapped a base hit past Los Angeles shortstop Wills and Etchebarren scored to widen the lead to 4-0.
However, McNally soon began to struggle with his command. In the bottom of the 2nd inning, second baseman Jim Lefebvre tagged him for a 400-foot home run. First baseman Wes Parker hit a fair ball down the right-field foul line, but a fan reached over the wall and picked the ball out of the dirt, turning a possible triple into a ground-rule double. After McNally walked Jim Gilliam, John Roseboro hit a fly ball to right center, but Snyder saved at least a run with a lunging catch, and neither baserunner scored. Drysdale was pulled from the game in the 3rd and replaced with Joe Moeller, who allowed another run in the 4th when Davey Johnson scored from second on a fielder's choice by Aparicio.
With one out in the bottom of the 3rd inning, McNally was replaced by Moe Drabowsky after loading the bases on walks. Drabowsky struck out Parker and walked Gilliam, forcing in a run, before Roseboro fouled out. Drabowsky struck out six consecutive batters in the next two innings, tying a World Series record and setting single game World Series record will 11 overall - one in the 3rd inning, three each in the 4th and 5th innings, one in the 7th and 8th innings, and two in the 9th inning. The Orioles won, 5-2, and the Dodgers would not get another runner across the plate in the series.
|Los Angeles (N)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||6|
|W: Jim Palmer (1-0) L: Sandy Koufax (0-1)|
Game 2 pitted 20-year-old future Hall of Famer Jim Palmer against Dodgers ace Sandy Koufax, whose 1966 season was among his best with 27 wins, 317 strikeouts, 5 shutouts, and his career best 1.73 ERA. Palmer got into trouble in the 2nd with two on and two out, but walked Johnny Roseboro and induced Koufax to pop up to second base. Despite the apparent mismatch, Palmer and Koufax traded zeroes on the scoreboard until the top of the 5th inning, when Koufax's defense let him down.
Boog Powell singled, and then Paul Blair hit a routine fly ball to center, but Willie Davis lost the ball in the sun and both runners were safe on the error. Then, Etchebarren hit another fly to center, but Davis bobbled the ball and then dropped it. Powell scored on the error, and Davis rushed the throw to third base. The throw was high, and Blair scored on the error, Davis's third of the frame. Luis Aparicio then cracked a stand-up double, scoring Etchebarren from third.
The O's then earned one from Koufax in the 6th as Frank Robinson tripled and Powell drove him in with a single to right-center. Johnson followed with a single to right, and the runners advanced on an error by Ron Fairly. Koufax escaped the inning after walking Blair intentionally and getting Etchebarren to ground into a double play.
Etchebarren would be the final batter that Koufax ever faced in his career. He was replaced in the 7th by Ron Perranoski, who set the Orioles down 1-2-3. They would get two from him in the 8th, however, on a walk to Frank Robinson, a single by Brooks Robinson, a sacrifice bunt from Powell and a Johnson single off Perranoski's shin. Perranoski threw the ball away in a desperate play for an out at the first, and Brooks scored on the error. Palmer completed the shutout when Roseboro popped to Aparicio, the Orioles' shortstop. Baltimore won by a decisive 6-0 score, and took a 2-0 lead in the Series.
|Los Angeles (N)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||6||0|
|W: Wally Bunker (1-0) L: Claude Osteen (0-1)|
|HR: BAL – Paul Blair (1)|
The series moved to Baltimore with the Orioles enjoying a 2-0 series lead.
Wally Bunker, plagued with injuries in the regular season, retired the first three batters he faced, and pitched a six-hit, complete game gem, while Osteen allowed only three hits in seven innings. Unfortunately, one of those hits was a solo home run from Paul Blair in the 5th, which turned out to be the deciding run. The Dodgers' defense woke up after Game 2's six-error embarrassment, and turned several excellent plays, most notably first baseman Wes Parker robbing Curt Blefary of a base hit with a spectacular jump to snare his 6th-inning line drive. Bunker, without a complete game shutout in the regular season, completed the Orioles' second consecutive shutout, and they won 1-0.
|Los Angeles (N)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||4||0|
|W: Dave McNally (1-0) L: Don Drysdale (0-2)|
|HR: BAL – Frank Robinson (2)|
On the brink of a sweep, Game 4 was a rematch of the first game, pitting young Dave McNally against veteran Don Drysdale, both of whom had struggled in their previous match. However, in this outing, both pitchers excelled as Drysdale and McNally each allowed only four hits. Again, the only run scored was on a solo home run, this one by Series MVP Frank Robinson. Willie Davis redeemed himself from his miserable Game 2 defense by robbing Boog Powell of a home run in the 4th, but to no avail as Paul Blair did the same to Jim Lefebvre in the 8th. The Dodgers were shut out for the third consecutive time and for 33 consecutive innings, a World Series record. No other team would suffer even back-to-back shutouts in the World Series until 2012, when the San Francisco Giants pulled the feat on the Detroit Tigers. The Orioles won Game 4, 1-0, and swept the 1966 World Series.
|Los Angeles Dodgers||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||17||6|
|Total Attendance: 220,791 Average Attendance: 55,198|
|Winning Player’s Share: – $11,683 Losing Player’s Share – $8,189|
The Baltimore Orioles shut out the Los Angeles Dodgers for a World Series record 33 consecutive innings - from the 4th inning of Game 1 to the end of Game 4. The Orioles' pitching staff only allowed two earned runs and finished with a team ERA of 0.50.
The Orioles scored more runs (3) in the 1st inning of Game 1 than they allowed in the entire Series (2, the only time this has ever happened in a World Series.
Jim Lefebvre's home run in Game 1 was shown in an episode of the television series The Brady Bunch entitled The Winner.
American League World Series pitching staffs through 1966: Rank A.L. Teams ERA World Series 1st Baltimore Orioles 0.50 1966 World Series 2nd Cleveland Indians 0.89 1920 World Series 3rd New York Yankees 1.22 1939 World Series 4th Philadelphia Athletics 1.29 1911 World Series 5th Philadelphia Athletics 1.47 1905 World Series Boston Red Sox 1.47 1916 World Series 7th Chicago White Sox 1.50 1906 World Series 8th Boston Red Sox 1.70 1918 World Series 9th Philadelphia Athletics 1.73 1930 World Series 10th New York Yankees 1.80 1941 World Series
- 1966 World Series at Baseball-Reference.com
- 1966 World Series at WorldSeries.com (MLB.com)
- 1966 World Series at Baseball-Almanac.com
- 1966 World Series box scores and play-by-play at Retrosheet.org
- Tom Adelman: Black and Blue: The Golden Arm, the Robinson Boys, and the 1966 World Series that Stunned America, Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY, 2006.
- David Krell: Do You Believe in Magic? Baseball and America in the Groundbreaking Year of 1966, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD, 2023. ISBN 978-1-5381-5943-9
- Mark Millikin: The Glory of the 1966 Orioles and Baltimore, St. Johann Press, Haworth, NJ, 2008.
- David S. Neft and Richard M. Cohen: The World Series, 1st ed., St Martins Press, New York, NY, 1990.
- John Steadman: "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, May 1970, pp. 33-36 
|Modern Major League Baseball World Series
Pre-1903 Postseason Series