The day Miami sent Weaver kicking

July 11, 1992|By Ken Rosenthal | Ken Rosenthal,Staff Writer

CORAL GABLES, Fla. -- In the years they trained in south Florida, the Orioles frequently played exhibitions against the University of Miami. They lost only once in 10 meetings, and former Miami coach Ron Fraser can recall Earl Weaver's reaction to this day.

"The Earl was something," Fraser says. "He was kicking the tires on the bus. He yelled at the pitcher, 'If you ever come to Baltimore, I'll have you arrested.' [Mark] Belanger said to me, 'Coach, it's going to be hell tomorrow. Why did you have to do that?' "

Fraser, the coach of the U.S. Olympic team, insists he was trying to lose. But one thing led to another on that March night in 1982, and Miami overcame a 5-0 deficit, scoring its final three runs off Ross Grimsley in the eighth inning to win, 7-6.

The first of those runs scored on a error by rookie third baseman Cal Ripken. The other two scored on a double by Miami freshman Don Rowland, who was in the lineup only because of an injury to the Hurricanes' starting second baseman.

"He swung with his eyes closed," Fraser says, but Rowland recalls the moment as if it were yesterday. He hit a 1-2 outside fastball down the right-field line, sending the fans at Miami's Mark Light Stadium into a frenzy.

"It was one of the top thrills of my career, except for the fact that in the back of your mind, you're thinking, 'I'm sure these guys don't want to be out here,' " says Rowland, who is now East Coast scouting supervisor for the Detroit Tigers.

"Everything fell into place for something wacky to happen. The place was full. People were going absolutely crazy. When we took the lead, the fans were banging on the fence, going nuts."

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