Monday, July 15, 2013

FACE TIME: 1967 TOPPS THE WINNERS CELEBRATE





These mega-watt smiles could've powered Memorial Stadium during a twi-night doubleheader.

The Winners Celebrate. Indeed.

How I adore this piece of cardboard. Manager Hank Bauer, with remnants of celebratory shaving cream still on his face, hugs Game 4 starter and winner Dave McNally in the clubhouse after the Orioles shut out the Dodgers to win the 1966 World Series.

Because I was only 4 on Oct. 5, 1966, when this World Series began, I obviously didn't watch it. But with this card and the four others from the subset designed look like images beamed from the TV, it almost feels like I did.

Lt. Bauer, an ex-Marine, had a few reasons to let down his guard for the TV cameras. After a distinguished career mostly known for his time with the Yankees, he was hired to manage the Athletics but was fired after only 1 1/2 years. He got another chance, taking the reins in Baltimore in '64. He inherited a young up-and-comer that responded to his stern and regimented ways.

McNally overcame more recent adversity. Before glowing during the clubhouse party, TV cameras caught McNally glowering on the mound in the bottom of the third in Game 1. He struggled with his command and was lifted after only 2 1/3 innings. He turned that frown upside down four days later. He pitched a complete-game four-hitter to win 1-0 and outduel tough-luck loser Don Drysdale

This was a noteworthy Series for a few other reasons. It marked the dawning of new power (the Orioles) and the regression of a former (the Dodgers). It was the arrival of a future ace (Jim Palmer) and the departure of a legendary ace (Sandy Koufax). 

In its sweep, Baltimore served notice that it had arms. Lots of arms. While L.A. had legs -- speed to burn -- the Dodgers couldn't get the running game on track because they couldn't reach base. The Dodgers were held to two runs and shut out in the final three games. The Orioles pitched to an 0.50 ERA, second lowest in history.

When the Birds returned to the Series against the Mets in '69, I was old enough to watch it on TV. With Earl Weaver managing, there were no shaving cream celebrations in the Orioles clubhouse this time. My lasting memories were left fielder Cleon Jones catching the final out and the celebration on the mound in Game 5. Certainly nothing to smile about but plenty to cry about. 

1 comment:

  1. Even hearing the name Cleon Jones makes me sad.

    But this card is very cool. I loved watching that '66 team.

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