Despite the general consensus that the Orioles were short of pitching when compared to the likes of Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax, Orioles pitching allowed only two runs in the entire series and ended up with a 0.50 team ERA, the second lowest in World Series history. The Orioles scored more runs in the first inning of the first game than the Dodgers would score in the whole series.
The Dodgers' young Jim Barbieri became the first player to play in both a Little League World Series and the Major League World Series when he pinch-hit for Dodger relief pitcher Joe Moeller in Game 1 of the series. Barbieri struck out in what would be the final appearance of his brief career.
After the 1965 season that saw the Orioles finish in third place, they acquired Hall of Famer Frank Robinson from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for starting pitcher Milt Pappas. Robinson won the Triple Crown and A.L. MVP honors in leading the Orioles to the A.L. pennant by nine games over the Minnesota Twins.
The Dodgers were in a tight pennant race for the fourth time in five years. Going into a season ending double header in Philadelphia, the Dodgers led the San Francisco Giants by two games. The Giants were in Pittsburgh for a single game, and if they won that game and the Dodgers lost twice, the Giants would have headed to Cincinnati to play a make up game of an earlier rain-out; a win there would force a tie for first place.
In the first game of the double header, the Dodgers made two errors in the bottom of the eighth inning to turn a 3–2 win into a 4–3 loss. Meanwhile, in Pittsburgh, the Giants kept their slim hopes alive by getting a run in the ninth to tie, and four in the 11th to win, 7–3. The Dodgers needed to win the second game of the doubleheader. Sandy Koufax pitched the Dodgers to a 6–3 win to clinch the pennant.
AL Baltimore Orioles (4) vs. NL Los Angeles Dodgers (0)
In the top of the first inning, after Luis Aparicio flied to right, Drysdale walked Russ Snyder, and then Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson hit back-to-back home runs to give the Orioles an early 3–0 lead. In the bottom half of the frame, Dave McNally walked Dodger leadoff man Maury Wills, who subsequently stole second. However, the Dodgers failed to score. In the second inning, with Andy Etchebarren on second base, Snyder slapped a base hit past L.A. shortstop Wills and Etchebarren scored to widen the lead to 4–0.
However, McNally soon began to struggle with his command. In the bottom of the second inning, second baseman Jim Lefebvre tagged him for a 400-foot home run. First baseman Wes Parker hit a fair ball down the right-field foul line, but a fan reached over the wall and picked the ball out of the dirt, turning a possible triple into a fan interference double. After McNally walked Jim Gilliam, John Roseboro hit a fly ball to right center, but Snyder saved at least a run with a lunging catch, and neither baserunner scored. Drysdale was pulled from the game in the third and replaced with Joe Moeller, who allowed another run in the fourth when Davey Johnson scored from second on a fielder's choice by Aparicio.
This third-inning run, however, would be the Dodgers' last run of 1966. With one out in the bottom of the third inning, McNally was replaced by Moe Drabowsky after loading the bases on walks. Drabowsky struck out Parker and walked Gilliam, forcing in a run, before Roseboro fouled out. Drabowsky struck out six consecutive batters in the next two innings, tying Hod Eller's record from Game 5 of the scandal-tainted 1919 World Series. Drabowsky's total of 11 strikeouts in 6 2⁄3 innings of relief are a record for a relief pitcher in a World Series game. The Orioles won, 5–2, and the Dodgers would not get another runner across the plate in the series.
Game 2 pitted 20-year-old Jim Palmer against the Dodgers' ace Sandy Koufax (both future members of the Hall of Fame), whose 1966 season was among his best with 27 wins, 317 strikeouts, 5 shutouts, and his career best 1.73 ERA. Palmer got into trouble in the second with two on and two out, but walked Roseboro and induced Koufax to pop up to second base. Despite the obvious mismatch, Palmer and Koufax traded zeroes on the scoreboard until the top of the fifth inning, when Koufax's defense let him down.
Boog Powell singled, and then Paul Blair hit a routine fly ball to center, but normally reliable Willie Davis lost the ball in the sun and both runners were safe on the error. Then, Etchebarren hit another fly to center, but Davis bobbled the ball and then dropped it. Powell scored on the error, and Davis rushed the throw to third base. The throw was high, and Blair scored on the throwing error, Davis' third of the inning. Aparicio then cracked a stand-up double, scoring Etchebarren from third. Davis was charged with three errors in this inning alone, a World Series record, and all three runs were unearned.
The O's then earned one from Koufax in the sixth as Frank Robinson tripled and Powell drove him in with a single to right-center. Johnson followed with a single to right, and the runners advanced on an error by Ron Fairly. Koufax escaped the inning after walking Blair intentionally and getting Etchebarren to ground into a double play. Etchebarren would be the final batter that Koufax ever faced in his career.
Koufax was replaced in the seventh by Ron Perranoski, who set the Orioles down 1–2–3. They would get two from him in the eighth, however, on a walk to Frank Robinson, a single by Brooks Robinson, a sacrifice bunt from Powell and a Johnson single off of Perranoski's shins. Perranoski threw the ball away in a desperate play for an out at first, and Brooks scored on the error. Palmer completed the shutout when Roseboro popped to Aparicio, the Orioles' shortstop. Jim Palmer, just nine days shy of his 21st birthday, became the youngest pitcher to throw a complete game shutout in the World Series. Baltimore won by a decisive 6–0 score, and took a 2–0 lead in the Series. The Dodgers became the third team to make 6 errors in one game. The Chicago White Sox, both in Game 5 of the 1906 World Series and in Game 5 of the 1917 World Series were the others.
The series moved to Baltimore with the Orioles enjoying a 2–0 series lead.
Wally Bunker, plagued with injuries in the regular season, pitched a six-hit, complete game gem, while Osteen allowed only three hits in seven innings. Unfortunately, one of those hits was a home run from Paul Blair in the fifth, which turned out to be the game's only run. The Dodgers' defense woke up after Game 2's six-error embarrassment, and they turned several excellent plays, most notably first baseman Wes Parker's robbing Curt Blefary of a base hit with a spectacular jump to snare his sixth inning line drive. Bunker, without a complete game shutout in the regular season, completed the Orioles' second consecutive shutout in this World Series, and they won 1–0.
On the brink of a sweep, Game 4 was a rematch of the first game, pitting the young pitcher Dave McNally against the veteran Don Drysdale, both of whom had struggled in their previous match-up. However, in this outing, both pitchers excelled as Drysdale and McNally each allowed only four hits. Again, the only run scored was on a home run, this one by Frank Robinson. Willie Davis redeemed himself from his miserable Game 2 defensive blunders by robbing Boog Powell of a home run in the fourth, but to no avail as Paul Blair did the same to Jim Lefebvre in the eighth, and the Dodgers were shut out for the third consecutive time and for 33 consecutive innings, a World Series record. The Orioles won Game 4, 1–0, and swept the World Series.
Ironically, the trio of Palmer, Bunker and McNally had pitched one shutout total during the regular season, that by McNally on August 6 against the Washington Senators.
The Orioles became the first non-Yankee American League team to win the World Series since the 1948 Cleveland Indians. The Orioles also became the last of the original eight American League teams to win a World Series at all. The Orioles had played in the Fall Classic as the St. Louis Browns in the 1944 World Series, in which they were also the last of the original eight AL teams to participate in a World Series. They became the second-to-last "Original Sixteen" MLB team to win the World Series fourteen years later, when the 1980 Philadelphia Phillies did it.
Frank Robinson became the first non-pitcher from a winning World Series team to win the World Series MVP trophy. (Bobby Richardson had won it for the Series-losing New York Yankees in the 1960 World Series.)
1966 World Series (4–0): Baltimore Orioles (A.L.) over Los Angeles Dodgers (N.L.)
NBC broadcast the Series on both television and radio. In prior years, the local announcers for both the home and away team had split calling the play-by-play for the telecast of each Series game; however, beginning this year and continuing through 1976, only the home-team announcer would do TV for each game, splitting play-by-play and color commentary with a neutral NBC announcer, while the visiting-team announcer would help call the radio broadcast. Thus, in 1966 NBC's Curt Gowdy (completing his first season as the network's lead baseball voice) worked the telecasts with the Dodgers' Vin Scully for the games in Los Angeles and with the Orioles' Chuck Thompson for the games in Baltimore. Bob Prince, in turn, worked the radio broadcasts with Thompson (in Los Angeles) and Scully (in Baltimore).
This was the last hurrah for the Dodgers of this era. In an eight-year span from 1959 to 1966, they played in four World Series, winning three of them. In addition, they finished second twice (once losing in a playoff) and fourth once. Sandy Koufax, though arguably at the peak of his career, announced his retirement following the World Series because of the chronic arthritis and bursitis in his pitching elbow. In addition, shortstop and 1962 Most Valuable Player Maury Wills was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in December. Tommy Davis, the 1962 and 1963 NL batting champion, still not fully recovered from a severely broken ankle suffered in 1965, was traded to the New York Mets after the 1966 season. Finally, third baseman/utility man Jim Gilliam announced his retirement.
The Dodgers still had decent pitching, but their offense was among the worst in the majors. They finished in eighth place in 1967 and in seventh in 1968, before a new group of young players led the team back into contention in 1969. For the twenty-year period from 1969 to 1988, the Dodgers won 2 World Series (1981 and 1988), 5 National League pennants (1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1988), and 7 National League Western Division titles (1974, 1977, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1988).
Meanwhile, the Baltimore Orioles became a dominant team in the late 1960s and early to mid-1970s. Injuries slowed the team down in 1967, and they finished second to the 103 win Detroit Tigers in 1968. They won three straight A.L. pennants from 1969 through '71 (winning over 100 games in each of those seasons), including the 1970 World Series. The Orioles won the American League Eastern Division again in 1973 and 1974, but they fell to the Oakland Athletics dynasty, which went to (and won) the World Series three years in a row. The Orioles returned to the World Series in 1979, but they lost to the Pirates in seven games. The Orioles won at least 90 games in all but three seasons from 1968 through 1983, culminating in their 1983 World Series victory over the Phillies.The Baltimore Orioles shut the Los Angeles Dodgers out for a World Series record 33 consecutive innings – from the fourth inning of Game 1 to the end of the series (Game 4).
The Baltimore Orioles pitching staff only allowed two earned runs and finished with a team ERA of 0.50, allowing a 4-game series low 17 hits and limiting the Dodgers to a team batting average of .142, the lowest team average in a series of any length. This topped the World Series team ERA mark of 1.00 set by the 1963 Dodgers in their 4-game sweep of the Yankees, and is second only to the unbreakable record team ERA of 0.00 set in the 1905 World Series by the New York Giants.
The Orioles didn't exactly tear the cover off the ball, producing only 10 earned runs, including only 2 over the final 2 games. Their team batting average for the series was .200. Both teams combined to hit only .171, lowest in World Series history, and both teams combined for only 41 hits, lowest ever for a 4-game series.
The Orioles scored more runs (3) in the first inning of Game 1 than the Dodgers would score in the entire series (2).
Top American League World Series pitching staffs through 1966: