The 1969 American League Championship Series was the first ALCS held after Major League Baseball adopted the two-division format that season. It featured the Baltimore Orioles vs. the Minnesota Twins, with the Orioles winning the series 3–0 and advancing to the 1969 World Series, where they would lose to the New York Mets in five games. The Orioles and Twins would meet again the following year, with similar results.
This was the first of three straight appearances in the ALCS for the Orioles.
Minnesota Twins vs. Baltimore Orioles
Baltimore won the series, 3–0.
Saturday, October 4, 1969 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
In the opener, 20-game winner Jim Perry held a 3–2 lead over the Orioles entering the ninth inning, Boog Powell tied the score with a smash over the right-field fence. Reliever Ron Perranoski, who worked in all three games, shut off Baltimore's offense at that point. Then, with two down in the 12th and Mark Belanger on third, Paul Blair stepped to the plate. Acting on his own, he bunted toward third. neither third sacker Harmon Killebrew nor catcher John Roseboro could make the play as Belanger sped across the plate with the winning run. Dick Hall, who pitched two-thirds of an inning, was the winner. Perranoski didn't allow a ball to leave the infield in the 12th, but was the loser nevethless.
Sunday, October 5, 1969 at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland
Winner of 15 games in a row during the season, McNally was saddled with a "lucky" tag because Baltimore frequently rallied to win after McNally had left on the short end of the score. He won the second game of the playoffs on his own exceptional pitching and Curt Motton's 11th inning pinch-hit single. It scored Powell from second base with the only run of the game. McNally's victim was Dave Boswell, who was a mighty tough opponent. McNally yielded only three hits, none after the fourth inning.
Monday, October 6, 1969 at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minnesota
The Orioles easily won this game and advanced to the World Series. Paul Blair, the swift center fielder who enjoyed a banner season, whacked five hits and drove in five runs. Left fielder Don Buford contributed four hits after going 0-for-9 in the first two games. Oriole Manager Earl Weaver employed simple strategy to deal with Minnesota's Harmon Killebrew, AL MVP winner that year: Walk him in any dangerous situation. The killer got nothing good to swing at until Game 3 was on ice. Baltimore pitchers walked him five times in the first two games and pitched to him only when he could not wreck them with one swing.
Rod Carew and Tony Oliva were the Twins' other top hitters during 1969. Carew, AL batting champ, was a dud in the playoffs, going 1-for-14. Oliva hit safely in each of the three games, including a homer in the opener, but was guilty of some shoddy fielding in the third game.
1969 ALCS (3–0): Baltimore Orioles over Minnesota Twins