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04-30-2012 01:02 PM #1GCL O's
- Join Date
- Apr 2012
Thoughts and Memories of Memorial Stadium
Spent a lot of time there in the 50s & 60s. Lots of memories. After transistor radios were invented it was common to go to the game and listen to Chuck Thompson's play by play.
As far back as I can remember there was a gentleman that came to every game and carried in a suitcase full of cow bells. Each one had a different tone and there were special ones just for Yogi Cihocki, Boog Powell, Gus Triandos, Jim Gentile and later for Brooks Robinson. There was also a funny sounding one that he rang every time George Zuverink was called from the bull pen. Went well with all the boos from the stands. (He was the 50s-60s equivelent of today's Kevin Gregg).
The men's rooms were a real treat. I think there were only two. Both had a long row of free standinmg porcelain urinals with no dividers and long lines always extended out the doorways. I still remenber one time I was in line behind an older gentleman. I waited and waited until he finally finished his business. He turned to me and said, "Son, never, ever, get in a pee line behind an old man." I now pass that on today myself.
Saw some really great plays there, and have some really great memories. I was there in, I believe '66, when Frank Robinson hit "the" home run out of the stadium. Only one to ever do that. I swear it was still climbing when it cleared the wall. Also was there when Jim Gentile hit two grand slams in one game. Talk about a wild crowd that day.
Folks back then credited George Kell with making Brooks Robinson into the third baseman he became. We needed a third baseman and picked up Kell from the Senators. He played that position for a year or two and alternated there with Brooks and finally retired after an excellent career.
I still remember one of the radio ads the O's used back then. "Hey, there's Brooks Robinson." "Yes, its great to be back in Bal-te-more this year and playing ball for the Oh-re-oles."
Some other bits.....Gus Triandos (catcher) was known as "The Golden Greek." A slugger that struck out almost every time he was up. Bob Boyd (first baseman) was "Robert the Rope" for his long stretches to catch the ball. Dee Phillips played short and never tucked in his shirt. First player to use a golf glove while batting was Luis Apparechio, one of the league's worst hitters but a real pleasure to watch playing short.
Clint "scrap iron"Courtney (catcher) was a holdover relic from the old days of baseball. A first class character and always ready for a fight. If he couldn't find one, he would start one. He was also known for (supposedly) intentionally spiking opposing players while sliding into second and trying to break up double plays. These were the days of spitballs, metal spikes and some really big fights.
Hoyt Wilhelm was a treat to watch pitch. Never was a better knuckle-baller. The ball would float side to side like a butterfly. Damnedest thing to watch. Triandos had to have a special large catcher's mitt just to catch him.
Jim Palmer. What can I say. A real pleasure to watch. He also did radio ads for IHOP and became know as "Pancakes Palmer."
Teams back then mostly traveled by train and some of the stories of the on board parties were classic.
Them were the days.
Last edited by Greybeard; 04-30-2012 at 01:09 PM.
04-30-2012 01:07 PM #2
In April of 1979, my cousins (Yankee fans that live in West Springfield, VA) took me to to my only game at Memorial Stadium.
We had a miraculous comeback against the Yankees that night. We were losing 5-2 going into the bottom of the 9th. We scored 3 runs to tie the game at 5-2. The next inning, we had 2 outs and the bases-loaded. Rick Dempsey hit a check-swing single that blooped into center-field between the Yankee infielders and outfielders. Micky Rivers was so pissed that he actually tried to throw the runner out at the plate. The 16, 000-plus fans at the stadium went crazy, and the celebration carried out into the parking lot. I still remember a guy with long hair with his arms triumphantly raised into the air, saying "Orioles of '79!"
04-30-2012 01:08 PM #3
The first time I went to Memorial I learned a hard lesson.
Regardless of how fat and slow the guy at the ticket window is, do NOT insult him.
I got a seat directly behind one of the columns, haha. Serves me right.
04-30-2012 01:49 PM #4
1) I heard someone recall that if you stood in place for too long in the concourse, your shoes would develop an adhesive bond with the 30 year old layer of Natty Bo. True.
2) The fans were a different breed than OPACY. They were LOUD! I loved those fans.
3) The bullpen car.....which was once awesome, and later became an ugly friggin Toyota minivan (am I remembering this correctly?)
4) Parking was hellish (I remembering during the '83 playoffs some scary looking local woman just throwing herself on our car and commanding us to a secret place....for a price of course...we were scared, but she was just looking for a finders fee)
6) "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" made sense there.
7) The upper deck seats were no better than the stands at a middle school soccer field
8) Earl Weaver and Eddie Murray.....just awesome.
04-30-2012 02:00 PM #5
04-30-2012 02:00 PM #6Keys
- Join Date
- Mar 2012
04-30-2012 02:02 PM #7
04-30-2012 02:12 PM #8
I don't remember much of my baseball experiences at Memorial Stadium, but what I do remember was how climbing the ramps to the upper deck felt like climbing a small mountain, and sitting in the upper deck scared the daylights out of me on account of the steepness of the seats.
04-30-2012 02:36 PM #9
04-30-2012 03:02 PM #10Plus Member Since 02/11 Major Leagues
- Join Date
- Jun 2005
Apparently what happened was a really drunk guy tripped trying to get around the ice cream vendor. He grabbed hold of me in an attempt to break his fall. We both fell down the steps, but while I was knocked unconscious the drunk guy got up and ran off.
The next few games my brothers took me to my mom paid for lower deck seats. I was 12 before she allowed me to sit in the upper deck again.
Last edited by SouthRider; 04-30-2012 at 03:07 PM.
04-30-2012 03:10 PM #11Plus Member Since 02/03 Hall of Fame
- Join Date
- Sep 2003
04-30-2012 03:27 PM #12Norfolk
- Join Date
- Dec 2007
- Damascus MD
May 18, 1957 was the first game that I can remember going top.... it ended in a 4-4 tie as it was called because of the curfew.
Another more notable game that I went to... May 2, 1964. I never got to see the game as I and my sister were 2 of the 46 kids hurt on the escalator accident.
And of course, Sept 13, 1971 was kind of important to me too.
Since I grew up just a couple miles for Memorial Stadium, we went to a lot of games and was sad when they moved downtown... but the Yard is the best park in baseball. Period.
04-30-2012 03:57 PM #13
My most vivid Memorial Stadium memories are of a couple of massive homers from Eddie. The first, a towering upper-deck RF shot off of Bert Blyleven in game 2 of the '79 series; the second, a blast to dead center off of Mike Brown — Eddie's second of the day — in a Sunday matinee game vs. the Red Sox in 1983. What an absolutely terrifying player he was in his prime.
04-30-2012 04:26 PM #14
I have several memories of memorial stadium:
1) first time I ever saw a dead body... On the street right near a lot we had parked in. Police were everywhere. My father told me to look straight ahead.
2) sometime in 1985 or 1986, Freddy Lynn hit a walk-off 3-run dinger and the stadium shook.
3) sometime in the 80's I was at an O's blue jays game and the jays hit back - to - back - to - back homers ( I want to say that two were hit by barfield and bell?)
4) but my ever lasting memory will be that giant speaker stack in center field. The sound from it would come into the stadium in waves... A little louder, the.a little quieter.... Then a little louder. For some reason that has stuck in my head...
Oh yeah, and the bullpen car!
04-30-2012 04:26 PM #15