Post-game events ease pain of Milacki's bad day

Orioles notes

October 07, 1991|By Kent Baker

It was not Bob Milacki's day.

After the Baltimore Orioles' leading winner lasted less than three innings in the historic final game at Memorial Stadium and lost to the Detroit Tigers, 7-1, he said, "I just pitched bad.

"I thought I was going to be nervous going into the game, but I wasn't," Milacki said. "It was just one of those days when it didn't happen. Basically, I gave up a few early hits, and it snowballed on me. I just didn't make the pitches."

Milacki said that he felt fine in the bullpen and was just going to do his best "without adding any more pressure than I usually have. I wish I could have ended things better."

Still, the post-game ceremonies left him with a better feeling.

"That just put a chill through me," he said. "I almost forgot I'd ever pitched. It was a phenomenal thing, really done well."

Lasts on 33rd Street

The honor of getting the final Oriole hit in Memorial Stadium went to Glenn Davis with a seventh-inning single yesterday, and the last homer was by Chito Martinez in the sixth inning of Saturday's game.

"I remember hitting the last home run in Houston before they took the scoreboard out, and I was kind of hoping I could do something like that today," said Davis. "You can never be replaced when you do it. And what happened at the end of the game was something I had never seen. It topped everything off."

Martinez said Anthony Telford retrieved the ball for him after the final homer. "I wrote the date on it, who it was off of, all that," Martinez said. "I know it's something I'll always keep."

The final hit was by Detroit's Cecil Fielder, who had an eighth-inning single.

The last Orioles at-bat? Fittingly, it went to Cal Ripken, but he ended the game with a double-play grounder.

Uncharacteristically, Ripken threw up a fist when he went onto the field during the post-game ceremonies. He rarely displays such emotion.

Milligan makes it back

Randy Milligan, who had been in California for the funeral of a relative, took a red-eye flight Saturday night to play in the final game, arriving in Baltimore at 9:45 a.m. yesterday.

"No way I was going to miss it," said Milligan.

Milligan said he felt "embarrassed" to be in the presence of so many Oriole greats because "we had a bad season and we didn't uphold their tradition. I felt bad being around them, that we let them down. I just want to live to be half as good as those

guys."

Mike Devereaux also caught the spirit.

"I didn't think much about the tradition until about a week ago because I didn't grow up around here," he said. "But now I understand what it means to people who live here. I feel a lot different about it now."

Johnson hopes to stay

For Baltimore-born Dave Johnson, the day was one of fighting emotions.

"I held it back as long as I could, but seeing Rick Dempsey going around the bases just started to get me all welled up," he said.

"I've had a horrendous season and I hope to be back, but I knew when I took the Oriole uniform off, it may have been for the last time. Usually, you just rip it off and throw it in the basket, but today I couldn't. I wanted to keep it on."

Attendance record falls easily

The Orioles easily broke their season attendance record, finishing with 2,552,753 after drawing a final-day crowd of 50,700. They drew 17,545 more than in 1989.

The three-game final series attracted 147,370. The all-time Memorial Stadium attendance was 52,908,265.

Tigers fire 3 coaches

Three Detroit Tigers coaches, Alex Grammas, Vada Pinson and Jim Davenport, were fired before yesterday's game.

The action breaks up what had been the oldest coaching staff in baseball. Except for one season, Grammas, 65, had been with manager Sparky Anderson since 1970, when Anderson managed the Cincinnati Reds.

Davenport, who will be assigned scouting duties in the organization, is 58, and Pinson is 53.

"From now on, we will be listed as very young," said Anderson. "We will be one of the youngest staffs."

Hired as replacements were bullpen catcher Dan Whitmer, 35, and Gene Roof, 33, the manager at Class AA London, Ontario. A third coach will be named later.

Miscellaneous

Some more finals: Orioles' record at Memorial Stadium, 1,706-1,321; innings played, 27,727; runs scored, 23,471, including 12,221 by the Orioles; home runs, 4,743, including 2,487 by the Orioles; and hits, 50,187, including 25,431 by the Orioles. The last man to turn out the lights was electrician Al Scrimger. . . . Six members of the original 1954 Orioles made the festivities. They were Bob Turley, Chuck Diering, Joe Durham, Gil Coan, Billy O'Dell and Billy Hunter.

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