1956 Orioles Landed Minnesota All-Stater (And Some Kid Named Brooks Robinson?)

´╗┐Here’s a treasure from my archives, circa 2000. At the time, I began looking hard at all the Minnesota natives who had made the majors. Among that list was Gordie Sundin, a teen who savored the smallest cup of coffee with the 1956 Orioles. He wrote:

“Hi, Tom —

Thanks for your inquiry and interest. It’s hard to believe you found me.

I did grow up in Mpls. I was ALL STATE in football, basketball and baseball at Washburn HS. I signed with the Orioles right out of HS and was on the active roster when I was 17 yrs old (in 1955, I was born 10/10/37).

Brooks Robinson and I signed together and remain good friends.

My elbow went bad (nerve damage) my first season and I was operated on in Baltimore in 3/56. Again, my elbow went bad and I was cut on in 1959.

I had some great experiences and for awhile I threw well out in the coast league for Vancouver 1957-59. I was on the Orioles Active roster  in ’55 and all of ’56.

I married my H.S. sweetheart, the former Mary Ann Dorsey — who was on the ’56 Olympic and world figure skating teams. We were also married in ’56. Big Year.

God bless. Thanks for the inquiry.

Chuck Diering Gets the Last Laugh Against Orioles Teammate Bob Turley

Chuck Diering owns charter membership in the Baltimore Orioles.

One of the first-year players in 1954, Diering won Most Valuable Player honors with the club. Was that Baltimore’s top prize that year? Diering explained:

“It was quite an experience. We were not a good team, older players and weak at bat.

“The fans accepted us very well and supported us.

“I was happy to receive MVP award. I was hoping to win new Caddie for Most Popular Player. I still have trophy. Bob Turley won car.

“He probably doesn’t have car now. I still have trophy.”

Tomorrow: Diering gives his theory on Joe Garagiola’s success!

Pitcher Duane Pillette’s Field of Dreams

Duane Pillette is an eternal all-star. Forget the statistics. I’m talking about a baseball evangelist, someone unmatched at spreading love for the game.

Pillette responded with a 2-1/2 page response to questions about his career.
His insightful, inspirational letter is worthy of Hall of Fame enshrinement.

First of all, Pillette offered a perspective of his time with the St. Louis
Browns not heard from many Brownies. How did it feel to go from 1953 Brown
to a charter member of the Baltimore Orioles?

“Tom: The St. Louis Browns became the Baltimore Orioles. They were really the same team. But St. Louis’ park was used by the Cardinals, also, and the infield was dirt, not grass.

Baltimore had grass, and I was a ground-ball pitcher. So in 1954, my only year with them, I made the All-Star team.”

For fans, Baltimore was Memorial Stadium.

For Pillette, Memorable Stadium!

Tomorrow, discover Pillete’s inspiring story of his major league father.

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