1987: 10 Blue Jay Homers and the End of a Cal Ripken Streak

On September 14, 1987, at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto, the Blue Jays hit 10 homers against the Orioles, setting an MLB record, and beat the Orioles, 18-3. Along the way, Cal Ripken ended his consecutive innings played streak at 8,243 innings. Excerpts from an account of the game in the S.F. Chronicle:
The Oriole pitching staff has given up 204 homers. The Kansas City Athletics gave up 220 in 1964 and the 1982 Twins allowed 208 – the only other major league clubs ever to allow more homers.

“Tonight was an embarrassing ballgame,” Manager Cal Ripken Sr. said angrily. “I’m not the only one who’s embarrassed, every one in that clubhouse is embarrassed.”

Cal Ripken Jr. had played every inning of 908 consecutive games – believed to be a record, although consecutive-inning marks had not been kept before – until he was replaced at shortstop in the bottom of the eighth. Ripken’s streak began on June 5, 1982.

“At this particular moment, I don’t know how I feel,” said a visibly stunned Ripken Jr., who said he wasn’t hurt or tired and hadn’t asked to come out of the game. “It’s been so long since I sat on the bench. It’s a weird feeling. Maybe I need time to reflect. At the moment I just have kind of a blank feeling.”

“I wanted to take the monkey off his back,” Ripken Sr. said. “I wanted everybody to stop writing about it. Everywhere we go somebody has to write an article about the streak.”

Asked why he chose a rout to lift his son, Ripken Sr. said: “What the hell, he couldn’t hit a 20-run home run.”

“I’m on cloud nine,” Whitt said. “Maybe one day when I’m talking to my grandchildren, I can tell them a story about the night we broke the record.”

[Ripken] said he was “somewhat” surprised to be told he was coming out after hitting into a fielder’s choice against reliever Mark Eichhorn. “From a purely factual standpoint, the manager is in control, and the player tries to do what the manager wishes,” he said. “So, it comes down to a manager’s decision, and a player abides by that . . . To me it’s not as big a deal as it’s been made out to be.”

Ripken has been struggling. His average is .250, and over the last 109 games, he is batting .225.

The Washington Post had its own take on the miserable loss:

In a performance that rattled the timbers of a proud franchise, the Toronto Blue Jays hit a major league-record 10 home runs and defeated the Orioles, 18-3, before 27,446 laughing, roaring, disbelieving fans at Exhibition Stadium.

“It got to be ludicrous after awhile,” Orioles catcher Terry Kennedy said. “Every bad pitch was hit out of the park. I was just amazed after awhile. It’s humiliating, but this is a humbling game.”

He smiled and asked, “What’s the record for homers by two teams?”

That record is 11, and thanks to Mike Hart’s homer in the third inning, the Orioles and Blue Jays tied that one. Eleven homers have been hit in six other games, the last one in 1979 when the Chicago Cubs hit six and the Philadelphia Phillies hit five.

As for the six Oriole pitchers, they accepted their brush with history with humor and grace. Dixon (7-10) pitched 1 2/3 innings and allowed three homers, but he was followed by Eric Bell (two homers), Griffin (one), Kinnunen (two), Arnold (two) and Jack O’Connor (none).

“It was like they had a vendetta against us,” Dixon said. “This was like the No. 1 college football team running up the score. I don’t know why they’d want to do that. No matter what they did tonight, they ain’t gonna be ranked No. 1 next week.”

“The strange thing,” he added, “is that I thought I had both a good fastball and a good curveball. But everytime I got a pitch up, boom!”

Almost lost in the mass of numbers was that this was the Orioles’ seventh consecutive loss. They are now 13-46 against the AL East, including a 5-24 road record.

“That was an embarrassing game,” Ripken Sr. said. “I’m not the only one who’s embarrassed. Every guy out there should be.”

Unlike in his last start, Dixon did get out of the first inning, but not by much. On three consecutive pitches, Whitt hit his 15th homer of the season, Jesse Barfield doubled off the center field wall and Mulliniks homered.


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