They saved the best for last. The Baltimore Orioles—that's oh, are, eye, oh, you know—beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 Sunday to win the 80th World Series in an efficient five games. In the process, they made a good team look bad, and they hushed the largest baseball crowd (67,064) in the 13-year history of Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium. The Orioles looked a little lonely celebrating on enemy artificial turf, but late that night they went home to all the pomp and spelling bees they could ever want.
First Baseman Eddie Murray hit two tremendous home runs, Catcher Rick Dempsey, the Series MVP, had a double and a homer, and Scott McGregor pitched a five-hitter, yet their individual accomplishments seemed absorbed by the entire team. There have been world champions with more talent, but there has probably never been a team as selfless as these Orioles.
"Just knowing that you're part of the best team in baseball," said Murray, "well, it's a nice little feeling."
It was the beginning of a nice little autumn evening for the Orioles when, in the second inning Sunday, Charles Hudson of the Phillies threw Murray a nice little 2-2 fastball. Murray sent a nice big blast into the seats in rightfield. "All I thought was one to nothing," said Murray. "I also thought I took the crowd out of the game."
The Philadelphia crowd had been getting on Murray in the previous two games, derisively chanting, "Eddie, Eddie," every time he made an out, which was often. Murray was also hounded by people wanting to know why he wasn't hitting, and to escape the crush he decided to skip batting practice Saturday and Sunday. Even the Orioles were worried about Murray, though they were up three games to one. Rightfielder Dan Ford noticed he wasn't throwing sunflower seeds at teammates, as is his usual custom, and Ken Singleton, the team's unemployed DH, said Saturday, "Maybe he'll be Eddie Murray tomorrow."
So when Murray homered in the second inning, the game, and thus the Series, was all but over. "As the sleeping giant awoke," said Leftfielder John Lowenstein, "we began to realize that it was going to be very difficult to beat us."
After Murray's home run, Hudson started pitching defensively, and in the third Dempsey hit a 1-0 pitch just over the 371-foot mark in left.
The 10th homer of the Series, but the first with a man on, came in the fourth. With Shortstop Cal Ripken aboard via a walk, Hudson threw a nice little off-speed pitch to Murray, and Murray banged it off the scoreboard in deep right center, almost at the spot where it had MURRAY 111 listed under the American League RBI leaders. "Now I'm thinking it's four to nothing, and with Scotty on the mound we've got this game won," said Murray. "It's funny how you can become a hero in a day."
Murray's hard-hitting counterpart on the Phillies, Third Baseman Mike Schmidt, never got started. He was 1 for 20 with six strikeouts in the Series as the Oriole pitchers kept teasing him with high fastballs, and, with every out, the boos got louder and longer.
McGregor's shutout dropped Baltimore's Series ERA to 1.60, as low as any in a five-game classic since Yankee pitchers had a 1.40 ERA in 1943. McGregor was in such command he threw only one curve, to Second Baseman Joe Morgan in the third. The other pitches were fastballs and changeups.