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Orioles Spoil Yankees’ Home Opener

Apr. 11, 1963 - The Yankees put on quite a pregame show today at their 41st Stadium opener. (Pictured below is Joe DiMaggio, who threw out the first ball, with Joe Pepitone). They received awards of all sorts before a cheering crowd of 29,772 chilled fans while the Baltimore Orioles stood on the sidelines in sullen silence. Mickey Mantle received the American League’s most valuable player award from the league president, Joe Cronin. Til Ferdenzi, chairman of the New York chapter of the Baseball Writers Association, then presented the Babe Ruth Award to Ralph Terry as the outstanding performer in the 1962 World Series. Ken Smith, the chapter’s vice chairman, gave Tommy Tresh the league’s rookie award. Through all of this, the Birds weren’t saying anything. But you could almost hear them thinking, “We’ll fix your wagon,” and presently they did, despite a Yankee homer by Mantle, his second in two days. John (Boog) Powell, a 21-year-old blond giant of a man, belted two homers for the Orioles. They were good for three runs, and Baltimore, behind Milt Pappas’s 5-hit pitching, posted a 4-1 victory. Thus Billy Hitchcock’s Orioles, regarded by many as the Bombers’ strongest pennant rivals, are off and running. In bringing down the reliable Whitey Ford, the Orioles scored their third straight success and became the only undefeated team in the American League. “The double plays killed us,” said Yankee manager Ralph Houk after the game. “That and not hitting in the clutch. They’re a more solid club than last year, a contender.” Baltimore has won 7 straight regular season games from the Yanks, including their last 6 meetings of 1962. In between, the Orioles vanquished the world champions three times in the recent exhibition season. This could become a habit.


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