‘I’m in love with this group’: This 12 months’s Orioles remind Boog Powell of 1966 World Series squad
A number of years in the past, as Boog Powell watched the group he received two World Series championships and an MVP award with scuffle by means of 100-loss seasons, he might solely shake his head.
“What’re they doing?” Powell would suppose. “Why are they playing like that?”
The first baseman, who performed for the Orioles from 1961 to 1974, was used to aggressive squads. Baltimore completed with below-.500 information twice throughout Powell’s tenure. His longevity and profession .822 OPS earned him a spot as an Orioles legend — in addition to his personal barbeque stand along Eutaw Street at Camden Yards.
When Powell sits down to observe the Orioles play this season, although — or as he took in Saturday’s sport from Camden Yards together with his bobblehead being given away — there’s a distinct feeling. The 81-year-old’s pleasure is mounting for what’s being in-built Baltimore, with a race towards a wild-card spot ongoing.
“All of a sudden, everything kind of came together,” Powell stated. “The whole thing was like, ‘Wow, they’re doing the right thing. They know what they’re doing.’ They’re doing the right thing all of a sudden and I love it. I’m in love with this team, I really am.”
Powell continues to be a well-liked determine in Baltimore. When he walked onto the sphere pregame, followers shouted his title from the stands. The line for his barbeque stretched alongside Eutaw Street, and followers carried his bobblehead round.
But earlier than Powell turned an icon in these components, he was a 12-year-old enjoying for his Florida Little League group, discovering his technique to the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. That’s the place the Orioles are going Sunday, going through the Boston Red Sox within the Little League Classic on ESPN, and Powell recalled his personal journey there.
He and his brother jumped in a stream beside their lodging and shrieked, not used to the frigid northern water temperatures. The all-you-can-eat eating room nonetheless stays a fond reminiscence — “When you’re 12, you can eat a lot,” Powell stated.
Powell helped his group win the regional in North Carolina by pitching on a Friday and Sunday and enjoying shortstop in between. Then, as he might hardly elevate his arm, Powell and his group rode the practice from Rocky Mount, North Carolina, to Williamsport, stopping in Washington alongside the way in which to climb the Washington Monument.
“When we were in North Carolina, we found some tobacco, rolled up some whole tobacco leaves and smoked ‘em,” Powell stated, laughing within the Orioles dugout. “We had a good time. I got dizzy, I couldn’t figure out why. ‘Why the hell am I dizzy?’”
All the adventures added to certainly one of his favourite experiences, laying the groundwork to turn into the primary participant to characteristic within the Little League World Series and Major League Baseball’s World Series.
That first expertise got here in 1966 when the Orioles received their first championship. Powell manned first base. Three Hall of Famers had been central figures. The successful angle pervaded the clubhouse and could possibly be seen on the sphere nightly.
Now, as Powell watches this season’s version of the Orioles, there’s an identical feeling that comes over him.
“It kind of reminds me of 1966, the way we felt as a team going out there,” Powell stated. “We knew we were going to kick your [butt]. That’s exactly what these guys are like. That’s what I see in their actions and reactions on the field. They’re very exciting, and they’re having fun, too. That’s the bottom line right there: They’re having fun.”