Friday, October 30, 2009

Flashback Friday: Baltimore's 1979 World Series Parade

In New York or Philadelphia, they will soon hold a parade to celebrate the World Series champions.

To the victors go the spoils. Usually.

On Oct. 18, 1979, Baltimore had a parade for its beloved Orioles despite the fact that the team lost the World Series in excruciating fashion to the Pittsburgh Pirates, blowing a three-games-to-one lead, including the final two home contests.

Wrote Malcolm Moran in The New York Times: "The sun came up here, as hoped, at 7:19 on the morning after. The victory parade started, as planned, shortly after 11:30. Earl Weaver, the manager of the Baltimore Orioles, reminded everyone that his team had won more games than any other team in baseball this season. And for a little while, thousands of people chose not to remember that the Orioles had lost the last one."

At City Hall, Rick Dempsey sang "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

Wild Bill Hagy led the O-R-I-O-L-E-S cheers that turned him into a local legend.

And the crowd chanted for its cleanup hitter, who batted .154 in the Series: "Ed-die, Ed-die, Ed-die."

An estimated 80-million people - then the largest audience in the history of televised World Series games - watched the Orioles' lose Game 7.

A day later, 125,000 Baltimore fans showed up downtown despite the outcome.

"It's the greatest parade I've ever seen," said Mayor William Donald Schaefer. "Never seen anything like it."

Perhaps the words emblazoned on a billboard near Memorial Stadium said it best: "We love you, Birds."
Image source: Here.

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