This Date In Royals History–1977 Edition: March 5

Continuing our look at the AL East foes the Royals would face in 1977, we move on to the second-place Baltimore Orioles. The O’s dynasty of the early 1970s had aged rapidly, but they were still a solid team. As usual for Baltimore, they were carried by the pitching staff, which compiled a 3.32 ERA in 1976, good for fourth in the league. The offense could only manage 3.82 runs per game, below the league average of 4.01.

And then, as mentioned yesterday, free agent Reggie Jackson headed to the Bronx, taking the Orioles’ biggest bat with him. To further compound the issue, second baseman Bobby Grich left for California as a free agent. They also lost 20-game winner Wayne Garland, who left for Cleveland in free agency.

Baltimore’s biggest move to offset these losses was trading for outfielder Pat Kelly. But the Orioles had always depended on their farm system during their successful run over the previous 15 years or so, and the 1977 team was no different. They were counting on young pitchers Mike Flanagan, Dennis Martinez, and Scott McGregor, along with first base prospect Eddie Murray and second base youngster Rich Dauer, to pick up the slack.

The Orioles still had the bats of Lee May and Ken Singleton to anchor the offense, and they were banking on improvement from third baseman Doug DeCinces. On the mound, Jim Palmer, Rudy May, and Ross Grimsley returned to lead the pitchers. So the Orioles were still a formidable team, even if they were expected to be a middle-of-the-pack team.

Today’s birthdays: Doug Bird (1950), Mike MacDougal (1977), Francisley Bueno (1981), Ben Lively (1992)

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