what team is this?: the world champion 1983 baltimore orioles
why this team?: they were world champions! the o's won 98 games during the regular season and then beat the white sox in the alcs and the phillies in the world series, 4 games to 1. they also had the first and second place finishers in the al mvp voting that year.
which players are featured?: we get cal ripken jr, dan ford, jim palmer, and john shelby
why these players?: ripken was the mvp in his second full season, so he's a no-brainer. the other three might be checklist fodder - let's break it down.
cal ripken jr played in 162 games for the first time in 1983. he won the mvp award based on having led the league in runs scored, hits, and doubles, plus a .318 batting average, 27 home runs and 102 rbi. his teammate, eddie murray, finished second in the voting (for the second straight year). ripken also hit .400 in the alcs in 1983, but just .167 in the fall classic with no extra base hits. the 'memorable moment' card that ripken receives in the set is pretty generic. i suppose the 'moment' is supposed to be the final out of the series, which was a garry maddox line out to short, caught by ripken.
dan ford was the team's primary right fielder in 1983. he hit .280 in 103 games during the regular season, but was just 1 for 5 in the alcs. he hit .167 in the world series, but did have a home run off of steve carlton in pivotal game 3.
jim palmer made just 14 appearances (11 starts) in 1983. he was 5-4 with a 4.23 era during the regular season, and did not appear in the alcs. he had one world series appearance which came in game 3. in that game, palmer pitched two scoreless innings in relief to earn the win in what would be his final postseason appearance.
john shelby, like ripken, spent his first full season in the majors with baltimore in 1983. shelby was the team's center fielder, playing in 126 games. he hit .258 with 5 homers and 15 stolen bases. in the outfield, shelby was second among al center fielders with 10 assists. he hit .222 (2 for 9) in the 1983 alcs and .444 (4 for 9) in the world series.
the stadium on the back is...?: memorial stadium
did upper deck get it right?: as with the other orioles posts, we have to look at the logo. for some reason, upper deck put a different logo on the front of the memorable moments card. that logo seems to be the primary logo used by the team from 1999-2008 which makes sense since this is a 2004 issued set. the bird logo on the other card fronts (and all the backs), however, is correct for the 1983 season. in 2004, the o's were using a more ornithologically correct version of an oriole.
what about the player selection? ripken is an obvious choice, but so too would have been eddie murray, scott mcgregor (18-7 on the season), and mike boddicker (16-8, alcs mvp). rick dempsey would have made a ton of sense, too, since he was the world series mvp, and was also on the 1988 dodgers team that shows up later in the checklist. sure, he would have been a checklist convenience as a part of the dodger team subset, but jim palmer is only featured here because he was already part of the set. shelby and ford, who are also featured elsewhere in the set, were at least regulars in joe altobelli's lineup.
as for the photos, ripken's is from much later in his career (thanks to the bird on his helmet), and it is a shame that there isn't a photo used of him making the catch to end the 1983 world series. that would have really tied the card and photo together. the other photos look to be pretty good for 1983.
is this team timeless?: it's the last orioles team to win the world series, and the only title for two hall of famers. i would say yes.