The 1970 American League Championship Series was a match-up between the East Division champion Baltimore Orioles and the West Division champion Minnesota Twins. Like the year before, the Orioles swept the Twins three games to none. The Orioles went on to win the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds.
(Note: Due to a one-day strike by major league umpires, the series was begun using AL supervisor Berry, veteran umpire Stevens—who had been used in a substitute capacity in 1970—and minor league umpires Deegan and Satchell, with the regularly assigned crew returning for Games 2 and 3.)
|1970 American League Championship Series|
|Umpires||Johnny Stevens, Bill Deegan, Darold Satchell, Charlie Berry (Game 1); Bill Haller, Jim Odom, Jerry Neudecker, Jim Honochick, Russ Goetz, Marty Springstead (Games 2–3)|
WJZ-TV (Orioles' broadcast)
WTCN-TV (Twins' broadcast)
|TV announcers||NBC: Jim Simpson, Sandy Koufax (Games 1–2); Curt Gowdy, Tony Kubek (Game 3)|
WJZ-TV: Chuck Thompson, Bill O'Donnell, and John Gordon
WTCN-TV: Herb Carneal, Halsey Hall, and Ray Christensen
Baltimore won the series, 3–0.
|1||October 3||Baltimore Orioles – 10, Minnesota Twins – 6||Metropolitan Stadium||2:36||26,847|
|2||October 4||Baltimore Orioles – 11, Minnesota Twins – 3||Metropolitan Stadium||2:59||27,490|
|3||October 5||Minnesota Twins – 1, Baltimore Orioles – 6||Memorial Stadium||2:20||27,608|
|WP: Dick Hall (1–0) LP: Jim Perry (0–1)|
BAL: Mike Cuellar (1), Don Buford (1), Boog Powell (1)
MIN: Harmon Killebrew (1)
The Twins enjoyed the lead only once, a 1–0 edge in Game 1 when Cesar Tovar hit a leadoff single in the first, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Harmon Killebrew's single. In the second, Mark Belanger's bases-loaded groundout aided by an error put the Orioles up 2–1. The Twins' tied the score in the bottom of the inning on Jim Perry's groundout with runners on first and third, but the Orioles put the game out of reach in the fourth inning, aided by Cuellar's bat and the lusty blasts of a strong wind blowing across Metropolitan Stadium. Two singles and Brooks Robinson's sacrifice fly produced one fourth-inning run off Jim Perry, the Twins' 24-game winner, and the Orioles loaded the bases with one out after two more singles.
The lefthanded-hitting Cuellar, with a .089 batting average and 7 RBIs to show for his season's efforts, then pulled a Perry pitch toward foul territory in right field. As the ball passed first base it was patently foul. Cuellar himself stood transfixed at the plate, watching the pellet transcribe a high parabola in the direction of the right-field seats. As the ball soared into the 29-mile-an-hour current, however, it started drifting toward fair territory. Cuellar started jogging from the plate. By the time he arrived at first base, the wind had worked its devilry against the home forces, depositing the ball over the fence in fair territory, and giving Cuellar a grand slam. Then Don Buford cuffed Perry for a knock-out home run and reliever Bill Zepp yielded a left-field round-tripper to southpaw-swinging Boog Powell to complete the seven-run outburst.
The Twins got a run in the bottom of the inning on Tovar's single with two on. Next inning, Killebrew's leadoff home run made it 9–4. After a double, walk, and groundout, George Mitterwald's two-run single cut the lead to 9–6 and knock Cueller out of the game. Hall, a 40-year-old relief specialist, allowed only one hit in the final 4 2⁄3 innings to pick up the victory. The Orioles got one more run in the sixth on Powell's RBI single off of Stan Williams with the run charged to Dick Woodson.
|WP: Dave McNally (1–0) LP: Tom Hall (0–1)|
BAL: Frank Robinson (1), Davey Johnson (1)
MIN: Harmon Killebrew (2), Tony Oliva (1)
Dave McNally received the second-game assignment and once again delivered another great pitching performance en route to another O's victory. The Orioles handed McNally a four-run cushion. Boog Powell doubled home Mark Belanger in the first inning after two leadoff walks, Frank Robinson homered with Belanger aboard in the third and McNally himself singled home Andy Etchebarren in the fourth. The Twins nearly erased the lead with two swings of the bat in the bottom half, Harmon Killebrew connecting for a home run after a walk to Leo Cárdenas followed by a Tony Oliva home run.
Stan Williams, following Tom Hall and Bill Zepp to the mound, blanked Baltimore the next three frames and Ron Perranoski zeroed the visitors in the eighth before the East Division champs erupted for their second seven-run rally in the series in the ninth. After a double, single and walk loaded the bases with one out, Boog Powell drove in two runs with a double to left, then Merv Rettenmund drove in another with a single. Luis Tiant relieved Perranoski as Brooks Robinson reached on an error that allowed Powell to score before Davey Johnson's three-run home run capped the scoring at 11–3 Orioles. McNally pitched a complete game to give the Orioles a 2–0 series lead.
|WP: Jim Palmer (1–0) LP: Jim Kaat (0–1)|
BAL: Davey Johnson (2)
When the series shifted to Baltimore, Earl Weaver called on his workhouse Jim Palmer to wrap it all up. The big righthander, just 10 days short of his 25th birthday and two years removed from an arm ailment that threatened his career, was razor sharp, scattering seven hits. In fairness, Palmer was entitled to a shutout. A brilliant sun blinded Frank Robinson while he was tracking down Cesar Tovar's fifth-inning fly that fell for a single. Cardenas' single produced a run after a triple, but that was all for the Twins.
A 20-game winner with a 2.71 ERA in regular season, Palmer set a personal career high of 12 strikeouts and issued only three walks. He also laced a double and figured prominently in the second-inning Oriole run when his blooper to short center field was misplayed for a two-base error. Palmer subsequently scored on Buford's single. The Twins starting assignment went to Jim Kaat, a 14-game winner who had been handicapped by late-season arm miseries. The Orioles struck first when Don Buford singled to lead off the first, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, then to third on a fly out before scoring on Boog Powell's single. The left-hander departed with two on and none out in the third after yielding six hits. Andy Etchebarren's fielder's choice off of Bert Blyleven aided by an error allowed one to score. After a force out, Palmer's RBI double and Buford's sacrifice fly made it 5–0 Orioles. The Orioles got one more run in the seventh on Davey Johnson's home run off of Jim Perry. By that time the trend of the game had been established and three successors, while more effective, were helpless to change the outcome, the Birds cruising to an easy victory and the AL pennant.
|Total attendance: 81,945 Average attendance: 27,315|
This was Bill Rigney's only division title and playoff appearance as a manager, although having managed for many years.
William Joseph Rigney (January 29, 1918 – February 20, 2001) was an American infielder and manager in Major League Baseball. A 26-year big-league veteran, Rigney played for the New York Giants from 1946 to 1953, then fashioned an 18-year career as a manager (1956–72; 1976) with the Giants, Los Angeles/California Angels and Minnesota Twins. The Bay Area native was the last manager of the Giants in New York City (1957), and their first in San Francisco (1958). Three years later, Rigney became the first manager in Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim franchise history.Bill Zepp
William Clinton Zepp (born July 22, 1946), is an American former professional baseball player. A right-handed pitcher, he attended the University of Michigan and later played professional baseball for four years from 1968 to 1971, including stints in Major League Baseball with the Minnesota Twins (1969–1970) and Detroit Tigers (1971). He compiled a 10-5 win–loss record (.667 winning percentage) and a 3.64 earned run average (ERA) in 63 major league games. He was listed as 6 feet 2 inches (1.88 m) tall and 185 pounds (84 kg).Brooks Robinson
Brooks Calbert Robinson Jr. (born May 18, 1937) is an American former professional baseball player. He played his entire 23-year major league career for the Baltimore Orioles (1955–1977), which still stands as the record for the longest career spent with a single team in major league history. He batted and threw right-handed, though he was a natural left-hander. Nicknamed "The Human Vacuum Cleaner" or "Mr. Hoover", he is considered one of the greatest defensive third basemen in major league history. He won 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards during his career, tied with pitcher Jim Kaat for the second-most all-time for any player at any position. Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.Charlie Berry
Charles Francis Berry (October 18, 1902 – September 6, 1972) was an American athlete and sports official who enjoyed careers as a catcher and umpire in Major League Baseball and as an end and official in the National Football League. His father, Charlie Sr., was a second baseman who played in the Union Association in 1884.César Tovar
César Leonardo Tovar (July 3, 1940 – July 14, 1994), nicknamed "Pepito" and "Mr. Versatility," was a Venezuelan professional baseball player, who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Minnesota Twins (1965–1972), Philadelphia Phillies (1973), Texas Rangers (1974–1975), Oakland Athletics (1975–1976), and New York Yankees (1976). Tovar was an extremely versatile player capable of playing various defensive positions on the field. In 1968, he became only the second player in MLB history to play all nine field positions during a single game, a feat first accomplished by Bert Campaneris, in 1965. Tovar also had a prolific career in the Venezuelan Professional Baseball League (VPBL), where he played 26 seasons — second only to the 30 seasons played by Vic Davalillo.Harmon Killebrew
Harmon Clayton Killebrew, Jr.(; June 29, 1936 – May 17, 2011), nicknamed "The Killer" and "Hammerin' Harmon", was an American professional baseball first baseman, third baseman, and left fielder. During his 22-year career in Major League Baseball (MLB), primarily with the Minnesota Twins, Killebrew was a prolific power hitter who, at the time of his retirement, had the fourth most home runs in major league history. He was second only to Babe Ruth in American League (AL) home runs, and was the AL career leader in home runs by a right-handed batter . Killebrew was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.
Killebrew was a stocky 5-foot-11-inch (180 cm) tall, 213-pound (97 kg) hitter with a compact swing that generated tremendous power. He became one of the AL's most feared power hitters of the 1960s, hitting 40 home runs in a season eight times. In 1965, he played in the World Series with the Twins, who lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers. His finest season was 1969, when he hit 49 home runs, recorded 140 runs batted in (RBIs), and won the AL Most Valuable Player Award. Killebrew led the league six times in home runs and three times in RBIs, and was named to thirteen All-Star teams.
With quick hands and exceptional upper body strength, Killebrew was known not just for the frequency of his home runs but also for their distance. He hit the longest measured home runs at Minnesota's Metropolitan Stadium, 520 ft (158 m), and Baltimore's Memorial Stadium, 471 ft (144 m), and was the first of just four batters to hit a baseball over the left field roof at Detroit's Tiger Stadium. Despite his nicknames and his powerful style of play, Killebrew was considered by his colleagues to be a quiet, kind man. Asked once what hobbies he had, Killebrew replied, "Just washing the dishes, I guess."After retiring from baseball, Killebrew became a television broadcaster for several baseball teams from 1976 to 1988, and also served as a hitting instructor for the Oakland Athletics.Johnny Stevens
John William Stevens (May 14, 1912 – September 9, 1981) was an American umpire in Major League Baseball who worked in the American League from 1948 to 1971. He umpired in four World Series and five All-Star Games. Stevens also refereed college basketball.List of Major League Baseball pitchers who have hit home runs in the postseason
Relatively few Major League Baseball pitchers have hit home runs in the postseason. Through the 2018 World Series, only 24 home runs have been hit, by 22 different pitchers.Mike Cuellar
Miguel Ángel Cuellar Santana (May 8, 1937 – April 2, 2010) [KWAY-ar] was a Cuban left-handed starting pitcher who spent fifteen seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles and California Angels. His best years were spent with the Orioles, helping them capture five American League East Division titles, three consecutive American League (AL) pennants and the 1970 World Series Championship. He shared the AL Cy Young Award in 1969 and won 20-or-more games in a season four times from 1969 to 1974. He was a part of the last starting rotation to feature four pitchers with at least twenty victories each in one season. Cuellar, nicknamed Crazy Horse while with the Orioles, ranks among Baltimore's top five career leaders in wins (143), strikeouts (1,011), shutouts (30) and innings pitched (2,028), and trails only Dave McNally among left-handers in wins and shutouts.Paul Ratliff
Paul Hawthorne Ratliff (born January 23, 1944 in San Diego, California) is a retired Major League Baseball player, who played catcher for the Minnesota Twins during the 1963, 1970, and 1971 seasons and for the Milwaukee Brewers 1971-1972.
Ratliff played high school baseball in Pasadena, Texas before being signed as an amateur free agent by the Minnesota Twins in 1962. The next season Ratliff, at the age of nineteen, was on the Twins opening day roster. He appeared in ten games that season before being demoted to the minor leagues. Ratliff would not make it back to the majors till 1970.
In 1970 Ratliff split the Twins catching duties with George Mitterwald and played in the 1970 American League Championship Series. The next year Ratliff was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Phil Roof. Ratliff played for the Brewers in 1971 and 1972 till he was traded to the California Angels on July 28. He never appeared again in a major league game.
On April 25, 1970, Ratliff was involved in a bizarre play. The description from Baseball Library reads as follows:
"Detroit Tigers Pitcher Earl Wilson fans for the 3rd out in the 7th inning against the Twins. On the 3rd strike by Jim Kaat‚ Ratliff traps the ball in the dirt‚ and must either throw to first base or tag the batter. Instead he rolls the ball back to the mound‚ ignoring the fact that ump John Rice has not signaled a strikeout. As the Twins head for their dugout‚ Wilson begins running the bases and is around third base when outfielder Brant Alyea retrieves the ball and throws to shortstop Leo Cárdenas‚ who is standing by home. Wilson turns back to third base but Cardenas and Alyea run him down for a 7-6-7 out on a 3rd strike."
Ratliff was charged with an error on the play.Rich Reese
Richard Benjamin Reese (born September 29, 1941) is a former professional baseball player who played first base and outfield in the major leagues from 1964-1973.
Reese tied for the American League lead in pinch hits with 13 in 1967. He is also the co-holder of the major league record for pinch-hit grand slam home runs in a career with three. One of those pinch-hit grand slams, on August 3, 1969, snapped the Baltimore Orioles' Dave McNally's consecutive win streak at 17, one short of the American League record.
Reese is also in the record books for two strikeouts: as the final out in Catfish Hunter's perfect game on May 8, 1968, and as Nolan Ryan's 383rd strikeout victim of the 1973 season (September 27), the still-standing single-season record breaking Sandy Koufax's record of 382 in 1965.
In 866 games over 10 seasons, Reese compiled a .253 batting average (512-for-2020) with 248 runs, 73 doubles, 17 triples, 52 home runs, 245 RBI, 158 base on balls, 270 strikeouts, .312 on-base percentage and .384 slugging percentage. Defensively, he recorded a .992 fielding percentage at first base and left field. In the postseason, in the 1969 and 1970 American League Championship Series covering 5 games, he hit .158 (3-for-19) with 2 RBI.
Reese went on to a career in the distilled spirits industry, retiring in 2003 as CEO of Jim Beam Brands headquartered in the Chicago suburb of Deerfield, Illinois.
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