The Obit For Moe Drabowsky

Fun-Loving Reliever Drabowsky Dies


Baltimore Sun

June 12, 2006

Moe Drabowsky, a pitcher from Windsor who became a World Series standout with the Baltimore Orioles, died Saturday at the University of Arkansas Medical Center in Little Rock. He was 70.

Drabowsky developed complications from multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow. He had been living in Sarasota, Fla., and until recently continued to work with Orioles pitching prospects in Florida.

Over a 17-year career, Drabowsky pitched for eight teams, finishing with the White Sox in 1972.

His career highlight came in the the 1966 World Series opener against the Dodgers when he relieved Orioles starter Dave McNally and one-hit Los Angeles for 62/3 innings, striking out 11, a Series record for a relief pitcher, including six in a row.

Drabowsky's performance in the 5-2 victory set the tone for the Series as Orioles pitching silenced the heavily favored Dodgers lineup and Baltimore won the series in a stunning sweep.

The Series heroics capped a 6-0 season in 1966 for Drabowsky, whose career record was 88-105 with a 3.71 ERA and 55 saves.

He pitched for 17 seasons despite serious arm difficulties that had him back in the minors after first breaking in with the Cubs in 1956. He showed his determination again through a six-year battle with cancer that included several stem cell transplants.

"It's been up and down for him, but he's been such a fighter," his daughter Myra Beth Morris said.

As a player, Drabowsky also was known for his practical jokes, especially the old standard - the hot foot. He said his most memorable victim was then-baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn at the 1970 World Series.

Drabowsky used a trail of lighter fluid as a fuse from the trainer's room to the clubhouse.

"You never saw a shoe come off so fast in your life," Drabowsky said later.

With a faculty for imitating voices, Drabowsky once called the Kansas City bullpen and impersonated manager Alvin Dark to get pitcher Lew Krausse ready, even though the A's starter was doing fine against Baltimore.

"Our bullpen was just howling," former Oriole Dick Hall once said. "Moe got worried [Krausse] might be needed ... and called [to get him] to sit down."

Myron Walter Drabowsky was born in Poland on July 21, 1935, and escaped the Nazis with his family coming to the United States when he was 3 years old. He grew up in Windsor, and pitched at Loomis and Trinity College before signing with the Cubs, for whom he was 13-15 as a starter in 1957.

He also pitched for the Braves, Reds, A's, Cardinals and Royals, who took him in the 1968 expansion draft. This season was his 13th with the Orioles as a coach at their spring and rehabilitation camps in Sarasota.

Survivors include his wife, Rita; his mother, Frances; and another daughter, Laura Anne Nevell.