Strangest sports moments

December 18, 2009|By THE SCHMUCK STOPS HERE OUR EXPERT | PETER SCHMUCK baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog

Baltimore has a storied sports history, so we thought it would be interesting to come up with a Top 10 list of the strangest moments in the annals of Charm City.

On Dec. 19, 1976, minutes after a playoff game between the Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers, 33-year-old pilot Donald Kroner crashed his small plane into the upper deck at Memorial Stadium. Amazingly, no one was seriously injured, in part because the Steelers crushed the Colts that day and a lot of the crowd had left early.

Bob Irsay's midnight ride March 29, 1984, would rank at the top if this were a list of the most shameful moments in Baltimore sports history, but it will have to settle for No. 2 on the list of strangest moments. Now, if he had crashed a Mayflower van into the upper deck, that would be different.

Precocious 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier helped keep the Orioles out of the World Series when he reached over the fence and deflected a fly ball by Derek Jeter into the stands for a home run in Game 1 of the 1996 American League Championship Series at Yankee Stadium.

1950s-era Baltimore Colts star Buddy Young was so fast that he was once roped into a footrace with a real colt. He reluctantly agreed to the publicity stunt - which reputedly was dreamed up by Baltimore sportswriting legend John Steadman - and defeated the horse in the 100-yard dash.

The Orioles set a modern major league record for runs allowed in a game when they lost, 30-3, to the Texas Rangers on Aug. 22, 2007, which would have been odd enough even if it hadn't happened on the same day the club extended the contract of manager Dave Trembley.

Orioles manager Earl Weaver was known for his frequent run-ins with the umpires and dozens of ejections, but he took his on-field histrionics to a new level when he disputed a call by tearing up the rule book under the nose of an umpire in Cleveland.

There probably are enough classic Bob Irsay moments to fill this whole list, but his belligerent January 1984 news conference at Baltimore-Washington International Airport stands out for sheer surrealism. He blasted the Baltimore media and insisted that he did not intend to move the Colts out of town.

Baltimore's famous "Fog Bowl" pitted the Colts against the Miami Dolphins in a game Dec. 14, 1975, that went into overtime as the cloud cover intensified. Kicker Toni Linhart would win it for the Colts with a 31-yard field goal that - according to eyewitness reports from the 400,000 fans who claim to have been there - could not be seen from the stands.

Orioles catcher Rick Dempsey created one of the best-remembered funny moments in Baltimore sports history when he would dress up as Babe Ruth during a rain delay and use the infield tarp as the world's biggest Slip 'n Slide.

With time about to expire and the Ravens leading the Cleveland Browns, 30-27, on Nov. 18, 2007, the Browns' Phil Dawson kicked a 51-yard field goal that hit the left upright, bounced over the crossbar, struck the support post and bounced back over the crossbar toward the field. An official initially ruled the kick was no good, and the Ravens headed for the locker room. After conferring, the officials ruled that the kick was good, sending the game to overtime. The Browns won, 33-30.

Each Friday until 2010, Baltimore Sun bloggers will present their top-10 lists in print and online. baltimoresun.com/10spot

What you said
•The time John Lowenstein was struck by a thrown ball while running the bases and had to be stretchered off. Just before the stretcher reached the dugout, Lo suddenly sat up straight and pumped his fists, to the raucous approval of the Memorial Stadium faithful. He definitely knew how to make an exit.

Jim

•An NFL Band Marching in a city that didn't have an NFL team.

Dave

•I have a very soft place in my heart for this one: Linda Warehime smacking the third base umpires in the butt with her broom after she finished sweeping dirt off the bases in the middle of every game.

wjs32246

To share your comments, go to baltimoresun.com /schmuckblog.

Coming next week
The Second Opinion blog lists the biggest stories of 2009. To share your thoughts, go to baltimoresun.com

/secondopinion

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.