I came across that quote today, attributed to beloved former Baltimore Oriole John Lowenstein. Having listened at one point or another to color commentators from half the MLB teams out there, I’m ridiculously lucky to have lived with Lowenstein and, here in Boston, Jerry Remy.
But I found that quote after finally finding details of a Lowenstein story my dad once told me. It’s a classic.
Steiner’s signature moment in an Orioles uniform took place on June 19, 1980 at Memorial Stadium. Baltimore trailed the A’s 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh inning, but had two on with two outs against Oakland pitcher Rick Langford. Up stepped Lowenstein to pinch-hit, and he pulled a single to right-field to score Mark Corey with the tying run as Al Bumbry raced from first to third. Brother Lo’ tried to take second on the throw home, but A’s first baseman Jeff Newman cut the ball off and gunned it towards second base. The baseball bounced off Lowenstein, allowing Bumbry to score the go-ahead run! It proved to be the game-winner, as the Orioles went on to win 4-3.
But wait, Lowenstein stayed down, and replays indicated that the ball had hit him in the back of the neck. A stretcher came out to carry him off the field, and the concerned crowd of 15,491 murmured among themselves. Then, just before the stretcher descended into the Orioles dugout, Lowenstein sat up abruptly and raised both his fists. The fans went nuts! “I had it planned halfway to the dugout,” Steiner admitted later. “You have to acknowledge the cheers of the fans, and I sure as hell wasn’t going to come back out after the game.” He wasn’t hurt badly, and returned to the lineup exactly one week later with run-scoring singles in his first two at bats.