Breaking News:

So Much Sports Baltimore has officially shut down on August 7, 2017, but would like to thank all of our readers, writers and everybody who helped make this website possible.

What if… Jeffrey Maier didn’t interfere

The only thing you have to ever say to an Orioles fan to get them riled up is the name Jeffrey Maier. Never in history has an 11-year-old boy caused so much anger and potentially the downfall of a franchise like he did. In game one of the 1996 ALCS, with the Orioles ahead 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth, Tony Tarasco went back to the right field wall and was set up to catch a long fly ball in his glove to get a then-Rookie Derek Jeter out.

But instead of getting the second out of the inning, Tarasco sat directly below as he witness a case of fan interference that went uncalled by right field umpire Rich Garcia. Maier stuck his glove out over Tarasco and scooped the ball into the stands, giving Jeter a game-tying home run.

As we know, the game went into extra innings and the Yankees won in the bottom of the 11th. The Orioles were moments away from winning Game 1 of the ALCS, but lost.

Maybe the Yankees still would have won the series anyway but there is reason to believe things could have turned out differently. Had the Orioles won that first game and assuming they still would have won the second game of the series they would have carried a 2-0 lead going into Camden Yards for three-straight games. It would be hard to argue against the Orioles getting to the World Series that year where they would have taken on the Braves. And in the World Series, the Orioles would have had home field advantage because of the alternating home field advantage rule.

Getting to the World Series might have been enough to help fix the issues between Davey Johnson and Peter Angelos that eventually led to his resignation and a 14-year tailspin of the Orioles franchise.

Getting to the World Series might have been enough to help fix the issues between Davey Johnson and Peter Angelos that eventually led to his resignation and a 14-year tailspin of the Orioles franchise.

The next season the Orioles were actually better but once again lost the ALCS, that year to the Cleveland Indians. Whether the Orioles would have won the championship the previous year, the experience of winning the ALCS and at least going to the World Series the previous year likely would have helped them move on in 1997 for their second-straight World Series appearance.

But that isn’t what happened and the Orioles crumbled the following offseason. Tensions between Peter Angelos and skipper Davey Johnson got to a point where they wouldn’t even speak to each other and after the 1997 season they parted ways on the same day Johnson won American League Manager of the Year. But winning cures all. Had the Orioles made back-to-back World Series and possibly even won one, perhaps Johnson would have stuck around as the skipper.

And it was that moment that Johnson resigned that things just fell apart for the Orioles. Ray Miller was a great pitching coach but just couldn’t manage what was still a very talented Orioles roster and they went from a 98-64 record and AL East Division title in 1997 to a 79-83 record and fourth-place finish in the division.

Out of desperation to get back to success, Angelos issued a horrible contract that hurt the Orioles for years and years to Albert Belle and they finished even worse, going 78-84. The Orioles were never the same and never recovered and became one of the worst teams in baseball.

The Orioles went 14-straight years without a postseason appearance or even 80 victories. It was a miserable stretch with no stability, a revolving door of managers and executives. Failed free agent signings and just complete incompetence and no hope.

Things have finally turned around for the Orioles and they’ve been one of the better teams in the league the past three seasons and have high hopes this year, but that one act of fan interference that wasn’t called and helped the Yankees win Game on of the 1996 ALCS sent the Orioles into a tailspin that took nearly a decade and a half to recover from.

The following two tabs change content below.

Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

Latest posts by Corey Johns (see all)

Comments are closed.