Saturday, October 1, 2011

1966 World Series: Osteen, Blair and Drabowsky

Claude Osteen insisted the pitch he threw to the Orioles' Paul Blair wasn't a bad pitch.

Blair just got the best of it, hitting the Orioles to a three games to none lead in the 1966 World Series over Osteen's Dodgers. That home run was one of just three hits Osteen gave up in his eight innings of work.

"I felt I got it exactly where I wanted it," Osteen told The Associated Press after that Game 3 1-0 loss. "Maybe down a little more would have been better. But Blair went out and got the ball."

It was a meeting between Osteen and Blair that helped seal the series for the Orioles. It was also a meeting that took place 24 years before each became members of the 1990 CMC set, as coaches.

Each appeared in the set as AAA coaches for their respective 1966 World Series teams, Osteen at AAA Albuquerque and Blair at AAA Rochester.

I bring this connection up now because I spotted it a few weeks ago while thumbing through a box of dollar vintage cards at the local mall.

That card up top memorializes the matchup, with Blair returning to the Baltimore dugout as the card declares "Blair's homer defeats L.A."

The back notes how that home run came to be: "In the first pitching duel of the Series, Wally Bunker bested Claude Osteen thanks to teammate Paul Blair's solo home run in the fifth inning. Despite Osteen's 3-hitter, L.A. lost their 3rd straight."

The 1967 Topps-1990 CMC connections from this box of dollar vintage cards didn't stop there. I picked up individual cards of both Osteen and Blair.

The Osteen card was his 1971 Topps card, showing the pitcher ready to field. The back calls Osteen "one of the NL's premiere south-paws." It also notes his 20-15 season in 1969.

By the way, Osteen has two other connections to the CMC set - two sons. Osteen's sons Dave Ostene and Gavin Osteen both made the set as players.

Blair's 1970 card notes he wsa vital to the Orioles 1969 pennant run. And it references that home run in the 1966 World Series. It was his only hit in the entire series, the card back notes.

I've featured both Blair and Claude Osteen, their coaching careers and their playing careers. But they're not the only CMC connection to the 1966 World Series. That box of dollar vintage is clear on that.

The other connection is a CMC pitching coach for Vancouver: Moe Drabowsky. I have yet to feature Drabowsky, but he should get the same treatment, with features on his playing days and his coaching days.

Drabowsky's connection to the 1966 World Series was only outdueling Don Drysdale in Game 1 for a 5-2 Orioles victory. The Topps card declaired: "Moe mows down 11." The back also called Drabowsky the "surprise hero" of Game 1 with his 6.2 innings of one-hit ball.

Actually, the card back doesn't do the outing justice. Drabowsky wasn't the Orioles starter. The starter was Dave McNally. McNally went just 2.1 innings, giving up two runs.

In the third, McNally walked the bases loaded. Drabowsky let one of them score, but otherwise got out of it. He then went the rest of the way for the win.

And I also picked up an individual Drabowsky card, his 1959 Topps offering, from his time with the Cubs.

With this card, it's not so much the front that's interesting, it's the back. The card has obviously been loved. The rounded corners are the least of it. The back shows it was once taped to something. And various letters are colored in in Drabowsky's name, the number and the chalk board.

Adds character.

The other cool thing is the cartoon. "Moe attends Trinity College in the off season." The cool thing is, this past April, I went to Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., to interview Dale Plummer. Plummer was the coach of the Colby College team, visiting Trinity.

107 - Dave Osteen, Experience and Knowledge, 4/26/11
308 - Paul Blair, Through Baseball, 12/20/10
658 - Claude Osteen, So Many Scenarios, 7/30/10
692 - Gavin Osteen, Did His Job, 7/19/10

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