How ‘bout that double play from the UConn Huskies. Shabazz Napier and the boys knock off Kentucky and cut the down the nets in Dallas and before you can say “hangover in Stoors” Geno Auriemma and his girls win their 9th national championship. Two NCAA titles in 24-hours! It’s only happened one other time and that was when UConn did it in 2004.
They had a huge rally in Stoors to welcome home Kevin Ollie’s national champions and they partied on and watched the women smoke Notre Dame for another shiny championship trophy. How much fun is one campus allowed? This Husky Double reminded me of the Triple Trouble Baltimore’s pro teams had 45 years ago. Allow me to go Dickens on you, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” This tale of two cities was Baltimore versus New York 1969.
It started January 12, 1969 in Miami, The Colts and the Jets in Super Bowl III. The AFL had been crushed in the first two Super Bowl’s and the Jets were huge underdogs to Don Shula’s Colts who came into the game with a crushing defense and a 15-1 record. I think you know the rest of the story, Joe Namath guaranteed a Jets win and damned if he wasn’t right. Joe’s Jets won 16-7 in what’s been called one of the biggest upsets in sports history.
A couple of months later the Baltimore Bullets had dreams of an NBA championship. The Bullets lead by Rookie of the Year and league MVP Wes Unseld had a 57-25 record, the best in the NBA. On March 27th the New York Knicks came into the Baltimore Civic Center and started destroying dreams. That Knicks team lead by Willis Reed, Clyde Frazier, Dave DeBusschere and Bill Bradley won game 1 in Baltimore 113-101. It was the beginning of the end, the Bullets were swept in 4. Damn New York!
Next stop on this package of Baltimore sports pain is October of 1969, the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Mets for the World Series. By now I guess you know where this is going. Considered the best Orioles team ever, Frank, Brooks and Boog doing their thing and with the pitching of Palmer, McNally and Cuellar the Orioles set a club record winning 109 games. The Mets on the other hand had their first winning season EVER!
When Mike Cuellar out pitched Tom Seaver and the Orioles won game one in Baltimore 4-1 things were right on schedule, but that’s when happy left the building. The Mets pitching held the Orioles to 5 runs over the next 4 games and The Miracle Mets won The World Series in 5 games. An Orioles team that many thought was a lock, done in by a team that was a joke before 1969.
The Baltimore Colts, Baltimore Bullets and Orioles all done in by New York teams in a span of 9 months. It’s ancient history for some, but for others a 45 year old nightmare they’ll never forget.