The Orioles were led by first-year manager Joe Altobelli, who succeeded Earl Weaver; Weaver retired to the broadcast booth after a sixteen-year managerial run from 1968 to 1982. Altobelli inherited a lineup led by first baseman Eddie Murray and shortstop Cal Ripken, Jr. Ripken (.318 BA, 27 HR, 102 RBI) and Murray (.306, 33, 111) finished first and second in the 1983 MVP voting, with Ripken out-pointing Murray, 322–290. Veteran outfielder Ken Singleton settled into the DH role, while the rest of the team was a corps of platoon players. The Orioles finished first in the AL in team home runs (168); first in OBP (.340); and second in runs, doubles, and walks.
After winning fifteen games in 1982, 37-year-old pitcher Jim Palmer started only eleven games in 1983, winning five and losing four. He won one game in this World Series and would be released by the O's at the beginning of 1984 after struggling early. A younger staff headed by 18-game winner Scott McGregor (18–7, 3.18 ERA) and 25-year-old Mike Boddicker (16–8, 2.77) were flanked by 21-year-old Storm Davis (13–7, 3.59) and veteran Mike Flanagan (12–4, 3.30). Reliever Tippy Martinez posted a career high with 21 saves, while Sammy Stewart added nine wins out of the bullpen as the O's pitching led the AL in shutouts (15) and was second in wins (98) and ERA (3.63).
The Orioles won the American League East by six games over the Detroit Tigers. They then defeated the Chicago White Sox, three games to one, in the American League Championship Series.
The average age of the players on the Phillies' roster was 32 years. They were aptly nicknamed the "Wheeze Kids," a contrast to the 1950 Phillies team whose average age of 26 years earned them the moniker "Whiz Kids." Sports writers in Philadelphia joked at the time that this older team emphasized the veteran in their home ballpark, Veterans Stadium.
Joining 42-year-old first baseman Pete Rose were his Cincinnati Reds teammates from the "Big Red Machine" era, first baseman Tony Pérez (age 41) and second baseman Joe Morgan (age 39). The team was led offensively by 33-year-old Mike Schmidt, who would have another MVP-type year with 40 home runs and 109 RBIs. No other teammate would hit over sixteen home runs (Morgan) or drive in over 64 runs (catcher Bo Díaz).
Although veteran pitcher Steve Carlton won his 300th major league game during the regular season, he actually had a mediocre year at 15–16 — his first losing season since 1973 when his record was 13–20. In his first full season with Philadelphia, John Denny would win the Cy Young Award with a league leading 19–6 record, and a 2.37 ERA, winning thirteen of his last fourteen decisions. Closer Al Holland would finish second in the league with 25 saves and win the NL Rolaids Relief Award. A pair of relief pitchers, 40-year-old Ron Reed and 38-year-old Tug McGraw, were on the active roster but would not see any World Series action.
The Phillies outpaced their intrastate rivals, the Pittsburgh Pirates, by six games to win their fifth National League East division title in eight years. This was followed by a three games-to-one victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. It was only the fourth league championship for the Phillies in franchise history.
AL Baltimore Orioles (4) vs. NL Philadelphia Phillies (1)
John Denver, whose "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" was played at the seventh-inning stretch of each Orioles home game, sang the National Anthem prior to this game.
Phillies starter John Denny gave up a first-inning homer to Jim Dwyer, but that would be it for the Orioles as 40-year-old Joe Morgan tied it with a solo shot in the sixth off Scott McGregor. Morgan became the second-oldest man to hit a home run in the World Series (Enos Slaughter was just a few months older than Morgan when he hit one for the New York Yankees in the 1956 World Series). Garry Maddox led off the eighth with a solo homer off McGregor for the final margin. Denny got the win with relief help from ace Al Holland.
The top of the seventh inning of Game 1 was delayed due to Howard Cosell's interview with President Reagan on ABC. Some observers (such as author and journalist George Will) believe that the delay ultimately made McGregor cold to the point of him giving up the home run to Maddox. McGregor would eventually redeem himself as he was the winning pitcher (in a complete game) in the clinching Game 5. Ronald Reagan's visit by the way marked the twelfth time that a Chief Executive had attended a World Series game.
The Orioles' loss in Game 1 marked the first time in six World Series that they had lost the first game.
The Orioles got another post-season gem from ALCS MVP Mike Boddicker and his "foshball" in Game 2. Boddicker went the distance, striking out six and walking no one. He allowed only three hits and one run, a fourth-inning sacrifice fly by Joe Lefebvre. The O's got their runs in the fifth on a John Lowenstein solo homer, a Rick Dempsey RBI double, and a sacrifice fly by Boddicker, helping his own cause. Cal Ripken added an RBI single in the seventh.
When the Phillies benched Pete Rose in favor of Tony Pérez in Game 3, it ended a streak in which Rose played every inning of his 59 previous postseason games. It also marked the last time that a World Series game would be played at Memorial Stadium (1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1979 and 1983).
Steve Carlton became the first 300-game winner to pitch in a World Series in 55 years (Grover Cleveland Alexander was the last). Carlton shut out the Orioles through five innings, buoyed by solo homers from Gary Matthews and Joe Morgan. The Orioles cut the lead to one in the sixth on a solo homer by Dan Ford.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Phillies had two on and two outs with Carlton coming up to bat. Phillie manager Paul Owens went to the on-deck circle to chat with Carlton about staying in the game. Carlton said he was fine, but struck out for the final out.
Carlton looked to be cruising with two outs in the seventh, but Rick Dempsey belted a double and went to third on a wild pitch. Benny Ayala pinch-hit and singled home Dempsey to tie it. Al Holland relieved Carlton to try to close out the inning, but John Shelby singled Ayala to put runners at first and second. Ayala scored the go-ahead run from second on an error by shortstop Iván DeJesús on a ball hit by Ford.
Long-time Oriole pitching hero Jim Palmer got the win in relief as he, Sammy Stewart, and Tippy Martinez pitched six shutout innings in relief of Mike Flanagan. This win by Palmer, along with his first World Series win in 1966, marks the longest span (seventeen years) over World Series wins for an individual pitcher in major league history. Jim Palmer's win in Game 3 made him the only pitcher to win a World Series game in three different decades. Palmer is also, the only man to have played with the Orioles in each of their World Series appearances (1966, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1979, and 1983). With Palmer and Carlton earning the decisions, this was, to date, the last World Series game in which both the winning and losing pitcher were in the Hall of Fame.
It was the first World Series game in which three Cy Young Award winners, Carlton, Palmer and Orioles' starter Mike Flanagan, pitched. This would not happen again until Game 1 of the 2012 Series, when Barry Zito, Tim Lincecum and Justin Verlander appeared.
Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken, Jr. batted .161 with exactly one RBI between them through the first four games. Eddie Murray would go on to become the Game 5 hero with two titanic home runs, including the only two-run homer in the series.
Rich Dauer broke a scoreless tie by singling in two runs in the fourth off John Denny. The Phillies came back in the fourth off Storm Davis with an RBI double by Joe Lefebvre and took the lead in the fifth on an RBI single by Denny and an RBI double by Pete Rose.
In the top of the sixth with one out, John Lowenstein singled and Dauer doubled him to third. O's manager Joe Altobelli then sent Joe Nolan, the first of four consecutive pinch-hitters, to the plate. Phils reliever Willie Hernández walked Nolan to load the bases. The next pinch-hitter, Ken Singleton, walked as well to force in Lowenstein with the tying run. Finally, John Shelby, hitting for Al Bumbry, hit a sacrifice fly to put the O's ahead 4–3.
The Orioles added an insurance run in the seventh on an RBI single by Dauer, who would collect three hits and three RBIs. The Phillies would get no closer than a single run in the ninth, as Tippy Martinez got his second save of the series.
The crowd of 66,947 in Veterans Stadium was the biggest for the World Series since Game 3 in New York in 1964.
Throughout this series, both teams' big gun hitters had been held in check. Mike Schmidt was 1 for 16, while Eddie Murray was 2 for 16. In this game, however, Murray decided to snap out of it by belting two home runs and driving in three runs. Rick Dempsey, who would be named MVP, also homered and doubled and scored two runs. Scott McGregor pitched a complete game, five-hit shutout to give the Orioles the championship. It was Cal Ripken, Jr. who made the final putout of the series.
The Phillies finished this Series with a team batting average of .195, the lowest for a World Series team since the 1974 Oakland Athletics.
The Philadelphia Eagles were originally scheduled to play the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, October 16, at Veterans Stadium. Because of the scheduling conflict, the Eagles and the Cowboys, who were scheduled for two games against each other because they were in the same division, played on that day on the Cowboys' field, Texas Stadium. (Their other game had been scheduled for November 6 at Texas Stadium, and that game was played at Veterans Stadium.)
1983 World Series (4–1): Baltimore Orioles (A.L.) over Philadelphia Phillies (N.L.)
Pitcher Larry Andersen was the only person to play for the Phillies in the 1983 World Series and the 1993 World Series against Toronto.