The Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles have only met six times during the regular season in the history of the two clubs. This year’s three-game series won’t have much impact as the Orioles are running away with the AL East and the Reds are virtually out of contention in the NL Central.
But the mere mention of Reds-Orioles is bound to evoke the nostalgia of the memorable 1970 World Series that the Orioles won in five games.
Throughout the series third baseman Brooks Robinson personally pilfered the Reds’ title hopes with a highlight reel of plays that have become the Gold Glove standard at the position.
And the Orioles’ potent offense behind Robinson, Frank Robinson and Boog Powell overshadowed the emerging Big Red Machine of Pete Rose, Johnny Bench and Tony Perez.
But the series was also known for one play that became one of the most compelling justifications for the use of instant replay decades later. Reds outfielder Bernie Carbo was thrown out at the plate in Game 1 on a play in which the home plate umpire was clearly caught out of position and Orioles’ catcher Elrod Hendricks fooled the blocked-from-view umpire by tagging Carbo out with his glove while he held the ball in his hand.
The Reds lost Game 1 by one run and may not have fared much better in the series had Game 1 turned out differently, but it was only fitting that the beginning of Tuesday night’s interleague game began as weirdly as the out call in Game 1 of the 1970 World Series when Reds’ speedster Billy Hamilton drove a grounder off the shin of Orioles starter Bud Norris, then collided with first base umpire Mike DiMuro as the hobbled Norris attempted to throw out Hamilton. The play left all three on the ground slightly injured before play soon gave way to an extensive rain delay.
The Hamilton-umpire collision at first plate was hardly a play seen more than a couple of times a season if that, much like the 1970 World Series play at the plate that became a glaring example of the need for the use of instant replay in baseball.