The post-game celebration of the Orioles' 1983 World Series victory over the Philadelphia Phillies remains etched in traveling secretary Phil Itzoe's mind. The team ran out of champagne, and he had to find more.
When the first five cases had been consumed, Itzoe rushed to the Stadium
Club in Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium and bought two more, sent one to the
Orioles' wives, who were in a waiting room, and the other to the locker room.
After everybody piled into four buses for the ride to Memorial Stadium, where rejoicing Orioles fans waited, the caravan had a police escort
the entire way -- first Philadelphia's finest, then New Jersey's, Delaware's,
Maryland's and finally Baltimore's.
In the middle of the caravan, driving the Pontiac Trans-Am he won as the
Series MVP, was catcher Rick Dempsey, his wife, Joanni, and Itzoe's son, Josh.
At every Route 95 overpass in Maryland, fans waved and held signs.
"Dempsey had to be the first MVP who ever drove his own car in a victory
caravan," Itzoe said.
Under Joe Altobelli, their first new manager since 1968, the Orioles drew
2 million fans for the first time and registered their eighth first-place
finish, sixth American League pennant and third world championship.
After losing the Series opener, they won four straight, the last three in
Philadelphia, where the Phillies had recorded the best home record in the
major leagues that year.
In the second game in Baltimore, Mike Boddicker, just as he had in the
playoffs, pitched the Orioles out of an 0-1 hole, becoming the first rookie to
win a three-hitter in a Series.
"He had such control," Jim Palmer said, "it looked like he ran to the
plate and put the ball where he wanted." Boddicker didn't walk anyone.
In the first game in Philadelphia, the Orioles beat 300-game winner Steve
Carlton. Three Cy Young Award winners pitched that night (Mike Flanagan, Jim
Palmer and Carlton), two of them future Hall of Famers.
Palmer, who had appeared only as a pinch runner in the playoffs, was the
winner in that game with two innings of scoreless relief, the day before his
38th birthday. He became the first pitcher to win a Series game in each of
"It was my biggest thrill since winning two at Hagerstown on the rehab
assignment last summer," Palmer said dryly.
Yes, he says in retrospect, "It was a miserable year. I hurt my back in
spring training and went to the minors for a while. I was just happy to be at
the Series, watching other people play."
In Game 4, Rich Dauer ended a 1-for-25 post season slump with three hits
and three RBIs in a 5-4 win that gave the Orioles a 3-1 Series lead.
Before the finale, starter Scott McGregor had a sleepless night, thinking
about how the Orioles had squandered an identical Series lead in 1979 and lost
to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"We never expected to go to Philadelphia and win three straight," said
McGregor, who would become the third Orioles left-hander to clinch a Series,
joining Dave McNally (1966) and Mike Cuellar (1970). "I tossed and turned all
night. I was like a schizo."
McGregor felt much better when Eddie Murray awoke from a 2-for-16, no-RBI
slump with majestic home runs in the second and fourth innings, sandwiched
around Dempsey's bases-empty shot.
"I thought, 'Oh, boy, Eddie's here,' " McGregor said.
So were McGregor, who pitched a five-hit shutout, and MVP Dempsey, who had
four doubles and a home run in the Series and threw out Joe Morgan twice in
three steal attempts.