Happy Birthday, Andy Etchebarren

ETCHEBARRENROOKIECARD1966Happy Birthday to baseball great Andy Etchebarren, my fellow Class of 1966 MLB Rookie. Andy was the Orioles catcher in my first major league game. It was Friday, April 15, 1966 in Baltimore and I’ll never forget it. I was 24 and in my first season with the Yankees. I gave up two hits in the first inning, to Luis Aparicio and Brooks Robinson. The second inning went better: Davey Johnson grounded out, and I got my first big league strikeouts – first Paul Blair, and then Andy. Andy got a hit off me in the fifth, a solid shot to center. We were up by two runs in the bottom of the ninth when Frank Robinson hit a Home Run. I settled down and got my first major league win. 1966 was an amazing year for Andy — one of many in his fine career – he was an American League All-Star at age 23, and the Orioles swept the World Series that year against the Dodgers. What an amazing team the Orioles were that year. Frank Robinson (later my manager in Cleveland) won the Triple Crown and the MVP. The Yankees finished tenth in the AL – that’s dead last – 70-89, and 26.5 games out of first place. That’s what I mean by the “Horace Clarke Era.”

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