BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Opening Day is less than two days away, and this season is a little more special with the 35th anniversary of the Orioles’ 1983 championship team.
The word swag wasn’t even used for sports in 1983, but the team had it. Confidence, comradery and pure talent helped mark their names in history.
Thirty-five years later, Cal Ripken Jr. still remembers that final out in Philadelphia.
“I caught it, and the feeling that happens when you close your glove around the ball, it’s final, there’s a finality to it, there’s a sense of satisfaction, joy — we’re world champions,” he said.
It was the last time the Orioles were world champions.
“People ask me, ‘What’s the best feeling you had on a baseball field?’ It’s catching the last out of World Series. That accomplishment is so much greater than anything else that you can do on a baseball field,” he said.
WJZ sat down with the greatest to ever don the orange and black, reminiscing about that special year.
“To me, the personality of that team, we had some different people who liked to had fun, we all liked to had fun, but the common characteristic was once the game started, we all had the common goal,” Ripken said.
Since then, some players have gone their own way and others have passed away, but the friendships never fade.
“It’s life, we all have that in common that played on that ’83 team, that we won,” Ripken said. “When I remember that group, I remember that group in that ’83 World Series, that winning environment, not necessarily where we are now.”
No other Orioles team has done what Cal and the club did in the past 35 years — a reminder of how much it takes to win it all.
“I think if there was one regret in my life, it was that I didn’t get back to World Series,” Ripken said. “I thought it was going to happen over and over again and it never did, it really makes you cherish that group of people and that year so much more.”
Ripken, who turns 58 this year, entered the Orioles lineup in 1982 and didn’t leave until three more presidents were inaugurated and nearly two decades passed.
WJZ’s Opening Day coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. Thursday.