|1969 American League Championship Series|
WJZ-TV (Orioles' broadcast)
WTCN-TV (Twins' broadcast)
|TV announcers||NBC: Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek (Game 1)|
Jim Simpson and Sandy Koufax (Game 3)
(NBC did not televise Game 2 due to conflicts with its AFL coverage.)
WJZ-TV: Chuck Thompson, Bill O'Donnell and Jim Karvellas
WTCN-TV: Herb Carneal, Merle Harmon and Halsey Hall
The 1969 American League Championship Series was the first ALCS held after Major League Baseball adopted the two-division format that season. It featured the Baltimore Orioles vs. the Minnesota Twins, with the Orioles winning the series 3–0 and advancing to the 1969 World Series, where they would lose to the New York Mets in five games. The Orioles and Twins would meet again the following year, with similar results.
This was the first of three straight appearances in the ALCS for the Orioles.
Minnesota Twins vs. Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore won the series, 3–0.
|1||October 4||Minnesota Twins – 3, Baltimore Orioles – 4 (12 innings)||Memorial Stadium||3:29||39,324|
|2||October 5||Minnesota Twins – 0, Baltimore Orioles – 1 (11 innings)||Memorial Stadium||3:17||41,704|
|3||October 6||Baltimore Orioles – 11, Minnesota Twins – 2||Metropolitan Stadium||2:48||32,735|
|WP: Dick Hall (1–0) LP: Ron Perranoski (0–1)|
MIN: Tony Oliva (1)
BAL: Frank Robinson (1), Mark Belanger (1), Boog Powell (1)
In the opener, Frank Robinson's home run in the fourth put the Orioles up 1–0 off of 20-game winner Jim Perry, but the Twins tied the game in the fifth inning when Tony Oliva hit a leadoff double off of Mike Cuellar, went to third on Robinson's error and scored on Bob Allison's sacrifice fly. Mark Belanger's home run in the bottom of the inning put the Orioles back in front 2–1, but Oliva's two-run home run in the seventh after a walk put the Twins up 3–2. In the ninth inning, Boog Powell tied the score with a home run over the right-field fence. Reliever Ron Perranoski, who worked in all three games, shut off Baltimore's offense at that point. Then, with two down in the 12th and Mark Belanger on third, Paul Blair stepped to the plate. Acting on his own, he bunted toward third. Neither third sacker Harmon Killebrew nor catcher John Roseboro could make the play as Belanger sped across the plate with the winning run. Dick Hall, who pitched two-thirds of an inning, was the winner. Perranoski did not allow a ball to leave the infield in the 12th, but was the loser nonetheless.
|WP: Dave McNally (1–0) LP: Dave Boswell (0–1)|
Winner of 15 games in a row during the season, Dave McNally won the second game of the playoffs on his own shutout pitching and Curt Motton's 11th inning pinch-hit single. It scored Powell from second base with the only run of the game. Dave Boswell was the losing pitcher. McNally yielded only three hits, none after the fourth inning.
|WP: Jim Palmer (1–0) LP: Bob Miller (0–1)|
BAL: Paul Blair (1)
The Orioles easily won this game and advanced to the World Series. Paul Blair, the swift center fielder who enjoyed a banner season, whacked five hits and drove in five runs. Left fielder Don Buford contributed four hits after going 0-for-9 in the first two games. Oriole Manager Earl Weaver employed a simple strategy to deal with Minnesota's Harmon Killebrew, AL MVP winner that year: Walk him in any dangerous situation. The Killer got nothing good to swing at until Game 3 was on ice. Baltimore pitchers walked him five times in the first two games and pitched to him only when he could not wreck them with one swing.
Rod Carew and Tony Oliva were the Twins' other top hitters during 1969. Carew, AL batting champ, was a dud in the playoffs, going 1-for-14. Oliva hit safely in each of the three games, including a home run in the opener, but was guilty of some shoddy fielding in the third game.
The Twins struck first in the bottom of the first off of Jim Palmer on Rich Reese's RBI single after a two-out double and intentional walk, but Elrod Hendricks's two-run double after a double and error put the Orioles up 2–1 in the second. Two outs later, Don Buford's RBI single made it 3–1 Orioles and knocked starter Bob Miller out of the game. Paul Blair's two-run double in the fourth off of Dick Woodson made it 5–1 Orioles. The Twins scored their last run of the series in the fifth when Harmon Killebrew doubled with two outs and scored on Reese's single. Frank Robinson's RBI single with two on off of Al Worthington made it 6–2 Orioles in the sixth. Blair's two-run home run in the eighth off of Dean Chance made it 8–2 Orioles. Next inning, Davey Johnson hit a leadoff single off of Chance, then scored on Hendricks's double off of Ron Perranoski while Hendricks himself scored on an error. Mark Belanger singled and scored on Blair's two-out double. Palmer pitched a scoreless ninth to finish the series.
This Monday game at Metropolitan Stadium forced the NFL's Minnesota Vikings to play their game against division rival Green Bay the previous day at the University of Minnesota's Memorial Stadium in Minneapolis. It was the first NFL game played in a Big Ten stadium. That same day, because the Atlanta Braves were hosting Game 2 of the NLCS, the Atlanta Falcons had to move their home game against the Baltimore Colts from Atlanta Stadium to Grant Field on the campus of Georgia Tech.
|Total attendance: 113,763 Average attendance: 37,921|
- "1969 ALCS Game 1 – Minnesota Twins vs. Baltimore Orioles". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1969 ALCS Game 2 – Minnesota Twins vs. Baltimore Orioles". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1969 ALCS Game 3 – Baltimore Orioles vs. Minnesota Twins". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.