what team is this?: the 1970 world champion baltimore orioles
why this team?: they won the world series for the second time in their history, winning 108 games in the regular season and going 7-1 in the postseason. they also boasted the league's mvp and three of the top five cy young award vote getters.
which players are featured?: all the same guys from 1969, as would be expected. boog powell, brooks robinson, davey johnson, merv rettenmund, eddie watt, frank robinson, jim palmer, mike culler, paul blair, pete richert, and ellie hendricks.
why these players?: these were the guys that made the o's tick in the late 60's and early 70's.
boog powell started at first base but went 0 for 3 in the all-star game in 1970. that's ok, because after finishing 2nd in the league mvp voting in 1969, boog took home the hardware in 1970 with 35 homers and 114 rbi. he hit 2 more homers and drove in 5 runs in the world series.
brooks robinson was the mvp of the world series in 1970 with 2 homers, 6 rbi and made some nice plays on defense, as his memorable moments card will attest. otherwise, it was a typical year for the hall of famer, as he won another gold glove and was named to the all-star team. speaking of which, robinson went 2 for 3 with 2 rbi in the all-star game as a reserve behind harmon killebrew at third base.
davey johnson won his second straight gold glove and started the all-star game at second base, going 1 for 5 in the game. he hit .313 in the world series after hitting .364 with two homers in the alcs against the twins.
merv rettenmund hit .322 with a career high 18 homers as the orioles 4th outfielder in 1970. he appeared in 106 games and played each outfield position in at least 30 games. rettenmund made two starts in the postseason (plus one appearance as a pinch-hitter) and he made them count. he was 1 for 3 with 2 walks and an rbi in game 2 of the alcs and then went 2 for 4 with a walk, 2 runs scored, and a homer and 2 rbi in game 5 of the world series.
eddie watt was 7-7 with 12 saves for the orioles during the 1970 world series. he made only one postseason appearance in 1970, and was saddled with the o's only loss for his troubles.
frank robinson went 0 for 3 as the starting right fielder in the all-star game, and posted a line of 25/78/.306 as the orioles' right fielder during the regular season. it's worth noting that frobby hit two grand slams in a single game during the regular season. he hit three more home runs in the postseason, including two in the world series.
jim palmer won 20 games for the first time in his hall of fame career in 1970. he led the league in shutouts and innings pitched, and was named to the all-star team for the first time. in fact, he was named the starter for the american league, and he pitched three scoreless innings in the game. he also recorded three strikeouts - willie mays to start the bottom of the first, and then tony perez and johnny bench in the second inning. palmer finished 5th in the cy young voting and went 2-0 in three postseason starts, including a win in game 1 of the fall classic against the reds.
mike cuellar led the league with 24 wins, 40 games started, and 21 complete games in 1970. he made the all-star team and finished 4th in his attempt to defend his reign as the cy young award winner. cuellar was knocked around in his lone alcs start, but he came back to pitch well in two world series starts, including a complete game victory in the game 5 clincher.
paul blair won a gold glove for the second straight year as the orioles' center fielder. blair was held to just one hit during the alcs, but he came out strong in the world series and posted a .474 average with 3 rbi and 5 runs scored.
pete richert was 7-2 with 13 saves and a 1.98 era out of the bullpen for the 1970 orioles. he pitched to just one batter in the postseason, but that batter was bobby tolan, and richert got him to line out to end game 1 of the world series with the tying run on base giving richert his lone career postseason save.
ellie hendricks matched his career high with 12 homers in 1970. he appeared in 106 games as the orioles' primary backstop and helped guide the pitching staff to 60 complete games and three 20-game winners. he hit .364 with a home run and 4 rbi in the world series.
the stadium on the back is...?: still memorial stadium, as it should be.
did upper deck get it right?: we know that the bird logo is not right, and that the players are appropriate to represent the team. it would have been nice, perhaps, to have earl weaver included, and i would have understood if bobby grich were here as he shows up with the angels later in the set. still, i am glad he is not, as he was not a big part of the orioles' 1970 team.
so, that brings us to the photos. after using a later-era photo for boog on the 1969 card, upper deck reverted to an older photo for him here, similar to the one they used on the 1966 installment. the uniforms look legitimate for powell, brooks, rettenmund, watt, frobby, blair, and richert. davey johnson, however, is wearing a uniform that was introduced in 1971, as is mike cuellar. jim palmer, on the other hand, is sporting the white front panel cap which wasn't introduced until 1975. his photo looks like it is from the latter part of palmer's career - possibly from the early 80's. and then there is ellie hendricks. he is shown sporting the sleeveless jersey that was last worn by the orioles in 1969. close, but no cigar.
is this team timeless?: yes. the orioles in 1970 finished 15 games ahead of the yankees in the al east and dispatched the reds in the world series 4 games to 1. they were the world champions at the time i was born, and that's good enough for me.