Comparing the 1983 and 2023 Orioles; Updates on Wells, Hicks, Mullins - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Comparing the 1983 and 2023 Orioles; Updates on Wells, Hicks, Mullins

Photo Credit: Tommy Gilligan USA TODAY Sports

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BALTIMORE—Before Saturday night’s game, the Orioles honored their 1983 World Series team on its 40th anniversary.

The Hall of Famers from that team, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer and Cal Ripken Jr., were there, and so were most of the other living members of that team.

With the Orioles out of contention for years, that ’83 team remains prominent in fans’ minds, but this year’s team has fans dreaming of another World Series.

“It’s a little tougher to win the World Series now because you have to navigate through different series to get there,” said Ken Singleton, a switch-hitting outfielder for the ’83 Orioles. “I like what I see. They’re young. Even if they don’t win this year, I have a feeling they won’t be bringing us back after so many years because we were the last team to win a World Series. I’ve got a feeling this team’s going to get it done.”

Former catcher Rick Dempsey, who was the World Series Most Valuable Player, likes this team’s catcher, too.

“Are they good enough?” Dempsey said. “I think they are, and for one reason. I like what I see out of Adley Rutschman because he has an effect on the pitching staff that you don’t see anywhere else in baseball. He walks out to the mound when a guy comes off the mound being successful, he reinforces that.

“He has a way of communicating with them. I think all the players, from what I hear, really like him, and not only is he a great switch-hitter, a lot like Singy, maybe not with Singy’s power, a lot like Singy, good contact hitter and his relationship with the pitching staff.

“It could happen. In the playoffs, if they get hot in the right spot. They play with confidence. That’s what I see. It’s not that everybody gets a hit exactly when you need it, but boy when they get going, they can put up some pretty good numbers. I think Adley Rutschman has had a huge effect on this ballclub and this organization so far, his way of doing things.”

Former pitcher Mike Boddicker, who in 1984 was the last Oriole to win 20 games, said that 1983 team was like family, and thinks they can win.

“Heck, yes,” he said. “I look at these pitchers and stuff. They’ve got enough. They’ve got enough. If you look down, they’re having fun.”

Boddicker thinks it’s best when contending teams get along.

“Maybe to win it all. In Boston, we had fistfights among the players,” he said. ‘We won it, but to win it all, I think you actually have it, and be hot right at the end. Be close, get hot right at the end. Our pitching was lights out at the end in ’83. At the end, nobody could beat our pitching staff.”

The 1983 team: Fans remember that team, and its players. Leftfielder Gary Roenicke marvels at the fans’ recall.

“I live in California. They don’t know who the heck I am there,” he said. “Small town, they’ve got celebrities, but I’m not one of them. I come to Baltimore, like when I come out there to do our suite visits or occasions like this, I’ll walk the streets at the Inner Harbor with short pants, T-shirt, dark glasses and a hat, and I hear people driving down, ‘Rhino!” I’m like, ‘How the heck do they know who I am when I’m dressed like that?’ But it’s a great fan base.”

It was clear that season that Al Bumbry’s career was winding down and the future of the team in center field was John Shelby. That didn’t stop the two from becoming close, and they still are.

“These guys took me under their wing,” Shelby said. “When I was trying to make the ballclub, reporters used to come up to me and ask me about taking center field from Al Bumbry. And all I would say is, ‘I just want to make the ballclub and do whatever I can to help them win.’ And his locker was right by mine.

“One day when no one was in the locker room, he says, ‘Hey, we’re not going to let these guys come between us.’ He said, ‘I’m pulling for you more than you could ever imagine. I want you on this team and we’re going to do everything we can because we both have a desire to win.’

“And to this day we’ve never had any hard feelings toward each other. I truly respect Al Bumbry, and I thank him for just making me feel a true part of the organization. I’m glad I got a chance to win a World Series with these guys. These guys are special …  A special team is comprised of a lot of special people and that’s what this organization is all about.”

Updates on Wells, Mullins, Hicks: Tyler Wells is scheduled to pitch a for Double-A Bowie on Saturday night. “There’s a pitch count involved,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “After this first outing, he’s going to have a little more time than a five-day [rest]. Just let him rest and recover. That’s the main reason he’s down there, to take a little bit of a break, so we wanted to give him some time in between his outings. He’ll probably throw next weekend.”

Centerfieler Cedric Mullins, who’s on the 10-day injured list with a right adductor groin strain, is scheduled to play on Saturday and Sunday, but Hyde isn’t sure when he’ll return to the Orioles.

Aaron Hicks, who’s on the injured list with a left hamstring strain, is nearing a rehab assignment. “He’s doing well. He is getting close,” Hyde said. “He did some running on the field. He took some batting practice on the field yesterday. Getting closer and closer. Getting his treatment in. I would expect him to be out [on a rehab assignment] sometime soon, not really sure on a date with him, but he’s progressing well.”

Without Mullins and Hicks to play center, Hyde feels fortunate to have capable fill-ins.

“It’s nice that we have guys here with center-field experience in Ryan McKenna and Colton Cowser,” Hyde said. “We have [Jorge] Mateo out there taking some balls off the bat in center field, doing some outfield stuff as well. He’s got a lot of outfield experience and played outfield in the big leagues. We feel good about depth. Everyone’s done an amazing job, picking up the slack for Ced and Aaron. Aaron did a great job for Ced, and now these guys are doing a great job for both these guys. We’re looking forward to having both of them back sometime soon.”

RAVENS LINKS FROM BALTIMORESPORTS.COM

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