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Danny Murtaugh's Daring Prediction

Harold FriendChief Writer IMay 29, 2009

COOPERSTOWN, NY - JULY 31: Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson attends the Baseball Hall of Fame Induction ceremony on July 31, 2005 at the Clark Sports Complex in Cooperstown, New York.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Frank Robinson was traded to the Baltimore Orioles following the 1965 season. Robinson had batted .296 with 33 home runs, 113 RBIs, and a .540 slugging average, but the Reds needed pitching and owner Bill DeWitt thought that Milt Pappas was the answer.

Frank Robinson Won the Triple Crown

Milt Pappas won 12 games for the 1966 Reds.

Frank Robinson won the Triple Crown, and with major assists from Brooks Robinson, Boog Powell, and Curt Blefary, Frank helped the Orioles become the 1966 World Champions.

Koufax On Two Days' Rest

The Dodgers were 8-5 favorites to beat the Birds after clinching the pennant on the last day of the season by sweeping a doubleheader in Philadelphia.

Sandy Koufax started and won the second game on two days' rest, which meant that Don Drysdale, who had a sub-par season, would open the World Series.

Under other conditions, Koufax might have started Game One on two days rest, but he had felt something pop in his shoulder during the fifth inning against the Phillies, and Los Angeles' manager Walt Alston didn't like pitching Koufax on short rest anyway.

Danny Murtaugh's Daring Prediction

There were the usual interviews the day before the Series opener.

Danny Murtaugh, who knew a little about managing, had scouted the Orioles for the Pirates. He was impressed with the Orioles and didn't go along with the experts' predictions of an easy Dodgers' World Championship.

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Murtaugh made one of the great inferences in prognostication history.

"Don't take the Birds lightly. They compare favorable with the power of past Yankee teams. The home runs they hit all real ones—in any park, regardless of dimensions. And I've always said that any team that won a pennant had the ability to win four straight in the World Series."

The rest is history.

Walt Alston and Hank Bauer's Thoughts

Walt Alston winced at the thought of his team sweeping.

"They have power all right, but I don't know much about them, since we only played them two or three times in spring training, which doesn't prove anything."

The Orioles were not intimidated by the Dodgers. Manager Hank Bauer had been through it all as a player with the Yankees.

"Anything can happen in a World Series, and those odds makers don't play in the Series."

Hank succinctly analyzed his team as well as his opponent.

"Orioles: good-hitting club, great bullpen, best left side of the infield in baseball with Brooks Robinson and Luis Aparicio. Dodgers: real good pitching; they bunt, they run, they don't beat themselves."

Frank Robinson Expressed His Feelings

The Orioles beat Drysdale in Game One, thanks home runs by both Robinsons and Moe Drabowski's great relief pitching.

After the game, an outspoken Frank Robinson expressed his feelings.

"This is a mighty good ball club. Now I think the Dodgers and the Los Angeles papers know it. You might say I and a few others on this team have been a little peeved at the way we've been made fun of."

When Frank's friend Brooks was informed that the Dodgers called the game their dullest World Series game, Brooks responded.

"I have to say it's the best World Series I've ever seen or played in."

Willie Davis' Errors

Hank Bauer had said that the Dodgers didn't beat themselves, but when Willie Davis sabotaged Sandy Koufax in pivotal Game Two by making three errors in one inning, Los Angeles pretty much lost any chance of winning the Series.

It wasn't Willie's fault because he lost both fly balls in the sun.

Koufax, Alston, and even Hank Bauer and coach Gene Woodling understood, but the Orioles won, and unless Los Angeles could win one of the next two games, they wouldn't have to face Koufax again.

They didn't.

References

By JOSEPH DURSO Special to The New York Times. (1966, October 5). 55,000 to See Orioles Oppose Dodgers in Opener of 63d World Series Today :BALTIMORE BANKS ON HITTING POWER Pirates' Murtaugh Hints at 4 Straight by Orioles-- Koufax Tests His Arm. New York Times (1857-Current file),p. 51. Retrieved May 29, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 121731485).

By BILL BECKER Special to The New York Times. (1966, October 6). Robinsons Raise Doubts on Reports of Dodgers' Edge in Pitching :SLUGGERS SMASH HIGH FAST BALLS Drysdale Not as Sharp as He Was in Past Seasons, Frank Robinson Says . New York Times (1857-Current file),79. Retrieved May 29, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 82521530).

By LEONARD KOPPETT Special to The New York Times. (1966, October 7). GOATHOOD' LOOMS FOR WILLIE DAVIS :But Both Managers Voice Sympathy for Player . New York Times (1857-Current file),48. Retrieved May 29, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 83547336).

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