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What do you remember about Curt Motton?

We’re offering up a bonus entry today.

But we are doing it with the 1970 World Championship flag behind the bar at half-mast.

Curt Motton, a member of that Orioles team (and six others) passed away at age 69 after dealing with stomach cancer.

I didn’t know Motton, and don’t remember seeing him play. I was about five when he played his last big-league game.

But I knew about him, and his role as a key pinch-hitter on those amazing Orioles’ teams.

So I figured I’d give you the opportunity to talk about Motton, especially the old-timers at the bar who can remember 1966 through 1971 like it was yesterday.

Rich and Jack, this one is definitely for you guys. Have at it.

The rest of you, raise a glass to old No. 21.

Daily Think Special: What do you remember about Curt Motton?

Comments

Game-winning hit in 1969 ALCS -- I believe Motton laid down a squeeze bunt that sent big Boog Powell lumbering home with the only run of the 1-0 game.

Curt was a long-time customer of mine at an auto dealer in the service department. Curt was always the most kind and caring person; a true gentleman. Curt will always remain an inspiration in my life! #21 forever!!!

2-run double in game 1 of the 1971 ALCS to beat the then, unhittable, Vida Blue; O's win Game 1, 5-3 and then sweep the A's. Sweet dreams to a true "O".

I don't remember seeing Curt play (I was 1 in 1970) but I'm a diehard minor league fan and Curt was often at the games, esp. the Keys and Baysox (he could drive home afterward, which he definitely preferred!) He was always ready with a story about the old days or a scouting observation about the current days. And great with the fans. Go over to ask him a question and you might still be there 3 innings later. He was a good guy. I'll miss him.

I remember Curt Motton along with Dave May as rookies coming up together. They were the earlier version of Bumbry and Coggins. I remember Motton as the better player for the O's though May had the better career overall. Curt was a little guy with a lot of pop. I recall him as a good pinch hitter and a good guy with he fans. Condolences to his family. He was a part of Orioles Magic before the term existed.

Heck of a pinch-hitter. Yes, watched him in that American League series with Minnesota.

I believe that Motton was the Oriole who homered off of Sudden Sam McDowell of Cleveland. McDowell thought that he had struck out Motton on the previous pitch. When Motton homered McDowell said something to the home plate umpire prompting his ejection. On the way to the dugout he tossed a ball out of Memorial Stadium, over the upper deck. We gave him a standing ovation. It was unbelievable heave.

curt, was a family friend and just a good person, he epitomized the professional oriole attitude of years past, and we are very sorry to hear this news, our prayers and sympathy go out to his family

scott selnick and family

The Curt Motton moment that I will always remember was in Game 1 of the ALCS in 1971 when Curt Motton delivered a big pinch hit RBI against the Oakland A's. I believe it was in the middle of a rally around the 7th inning and I've always felt that it was the key hit of the playoffs. The A's had a star studded team that was improving every year and it seemed to take the wind out of them for the rest of the series.

My favorite Curt Motton moment was his 1971 double off of Vida Blue - that season's AL Cy Young and MVP winner - with 2 outs (and I think 2 strikes) in the 7th inning of Game 1 of the ALCS. He was pinch-hitting for Dave McNally with the O's losing 3-2, but the hit into the left-field corner at Memorial Stadium scored Brooks Robinson to tie the game. Paul Blair then singled to score 2 more, and the O's would win 5-3 on their way to their 3rd consecutive ALCS sweep.

Curt got a two out hit in the bottom of the ninth on Sept 13, 1971 which allowed Frank Robinson to come to bat and he hit #500. I was at the game and caught the ball. Thank you Curt.

In the mid 70s I attended Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County. One year, the students held a walk-a-thon to raise money for Santa Claus anonymous. Like so many other events, we knew if we could get a "name" to show up, more students would take part. We contacted a lot of those "names" and most didn't reply. Somehow, our request to the Orioles was handed off to Curt Motton, and he showed up. He took the time to greet the students taking part. He had good wishes for all. He offered his encouragement. But mostly, he was a friendly guy. These days, everyone would ask for autographs. I'm grateful I had a few moments to meet Curt and talk with him. That memory to me is so much more cherished than an autograph. My sympathies to his family. He was a class act -- a gentleman -- and a friend to Baltimore and the fans.

I saw Curt a few times a week for his last few years. He was a fine person, always uplifting and especially thoughtful of the older ones. I will miss his encouraging manner and easy, hearty laugh.

Curt grew up in Estuary Projects in Alameda, CA and went to Encinal High School, the home of Tommy Harper, Wilver Stargell, Jimmy Rollins and Dontrell Willis. What I remember most about Curt is when he played semi-pro ball at Washington Park in Alameda, which had short left and center field fences, but the fences were probably 75 feet high, if not higher, and Curt as well as Wilvur would routinely and to great fanfare hit the ball over that fence and onto Webster St. Curt was one of the most approachable older guys around, on par with Tommy, just genuine good guys. His mom was a devoted Jehoval Witness, but his cigar chomping dad had gambling parties at his house frequently. By the way, Willie Mays, my all-time favorite baseball player used to come to Washington for special occasions, and we used to follow him around like he was the pied piper. But my heart was broken one Sunday, as we followed Willie and I noticed he had holes in the bottom of his shoes. Being that I had many times walked from Estuary, down the railroad tracks to Encinal, and would often wait for people behind me to pass so they would not see the holes in my own shoes, or the many times I had to slide rather than walk so the bottoms wouldn't show - I was perplexed and confused as to what success meant if the great Willie Mays himself had holes in his shoes! Of course I came to the understanding that Willie was probably so engrossed in being the consumate player he was, that he probably overlooked mundane things such as a decent pair of dress shoes.

Curt Motton is like the dozen humans--Besides Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin--whose names you can't remember, but they have walked on the moon. Millions and millions of kids dream of playing major league baseball, thousands and thousands actually start down that road, and a fantastic few get to do it for real. The very least of them, like Curt, are forever special because they have Been There.

Someone check the record books, please; I think it was Blair who bunted home Belanger in the 1969 ACLS, but my memory may be faulty.

No one Motton memory stands out in my mind in particular, but it was always exciting when he came up to the plate. As many have said, the guy could flat out hit and was great in the pinch. It's a shame that he never got a chance to play regularly. He could have been a star.

Rest in peace tonight, Curt. You, Ellie, Mark, Dave, and the other Curt are all starting the Big Game tomorrow.

I remember Chuck Thompson used to call him "Cuz" as that was his nickname...He and Terry Crowley made up one of the best pinchhitting duos ever for getting the big hit....That's when the Oriole were the Orioles...

Curt Motton came to Baltimore and moved across the hall from my mother exactly 40 years ago, right after my dad died. It was truly ironic because my father was a HUGE baseball fan his whole life. Curt and his first wife, Jackie, adopted my mom and the three of them became like family. Late one night someone tried to break into my mom's apartment and she called Curt, who (dressed in his underwear) chased the man out of the building with a baseball bat! I would have given anything to see that sight. Curt was a special man, not only a special baseball player. He was kind, gentle, and caring. By the way he was Elrod Hendricks' cousin, and the Orioles nicknamed him Cous. Please let the public know the funeral arrangements.

I remember line drives and a crisp rounding at first base.

Dan, I don't recall Curt Motton well for a specific moment, but do know that he made up the right side of a excellent platoon with Terry Crowley that the Orioles didn't surpass until Gary Roenicke-John Lowenstein (arguably the best platoon in major league history) a decade later.

Curt was also a very sure outfielder when he got the chance. May he rest in peace and the Motton family find comfort in their time of grief.

Here's a link featuring his 1970 Topps card, where he was posed in a batting stance that belied his power (plenty of pitchers were in for a surprise, as well).

http://oriolescards.blogspot.com/2010/01/vintage-fridays-curt-motton-1970-topps.html

I had the pleasure of getting to know Curt when we both worked with the Orioles and he was one of my favorites. He was down to earth,genuine and engaging- just a regular guy. He could light up a room, but he knew the time and place for that and he didn't call a lot of attention to himself. I spoke to him just three weeks ago and he showed another side to me: courage. He knew the futuredid not look good but he was still able to laugh about some of our old stories. He had a big family and was proud of it and it seemed to be getting bigger all the time. When we would fly to the west coast on road trips - he usually sat across from me on the plane- I would kid him about how many new members of the family had been added since our last trip. He also was one of the people who helped teach me how to act as a representative of the Orioles- the Oriole Way. Know your place. Be respectful of others and handle things with class and grace. It was just the way he was on the phone three weeks ago.

Curt will always be remembered as I often think of the best Oriole team ever... back when they played because of thier love for the game and not the love of the paycheck. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family and friends.

Cuz along with "Motor Mouth" Paul Blair. Two of the great nicknames in Oriole history.Oh to see those O's again.

Cuz was always prepared to play. He was the predecessor for all the other great pinch hitters on future Orioles teams. A real gentleman off the field too.

A public Memorial Service will be held for Curt at his home congregation's Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witneses in Lutherville on Friday at 4 pm. 1518 Riderwood Lutherville Drive 21093. All are welcome.
Curt was an exuberant, engaging and all around beautiful man. We miss him already but know that he lives on in his God, Jehovah's memory, awaiting a resurrection to perfect life in paradise. Sleep well, dear Brother. We'll be there when you wake up.

Of course we oldtimers remember Curt. He was a important piece of our winning and well playing Orioles. Thanks to all the above commments. They bring back great memories of a true Oriole in a wonderful era of Baltimore baseball.

I was deeply saddened when I saw this. I got to know Curt after he'd been sent down to Rochester in 1973 or '74. I was covering the Red Wings at the time. He was in a horrible slump in Baltimore, and brought it with him to Rochester. Joe Altobelli sent him up to pinch hit one time, and Curt struck out to end the game. I wrote questioning the move. Curt told me he would have questioned it too. After that, he became a valuable pinch hitter, spare outfielder and role model. I never once saw him big-time anyone, then or when he would return as a coach and scout later on. Someone wrote how good he was with older fans; he was great with the young ones too. He would toss candies from the first base coach's box into the stands in Rochester. After he met my daughter one time, he would always inquire about her and send his regards. The world is a better place for having had him here, and a sadder one because he's gone.

Great pinch hitter, he seemed to always deliver.

I avoided this post for a while, in part because I wasn't sure what to say. Now that I finally read the post and responses I am glad I did. My memories of Curt are not so much of any particular games as of his being a part of those great teams of my youth. He never was a regular, but it always seemed to me that he LOOKED like a ballplayer. He was certainly a valuable member of some great Oriole teams even if not a regular starter, and it is wonderful to read the comments from people who also knew him as a person.

Interesting story on the topic of baseball cards, since Ken Francis brought up about Curt's 1970 card. I did a search on pics of Curt and found one of him along with Roger Nelson, a pitcher who spent one season with the Orioles, on the same Topps card titled "1968 Rookie Stars". http://i35.photobucket.com/albums/d184/bwk123/Autographs/CurtMotton.jpg (I'm pretty sure I had that card, not sure if I can find it now or not.) Nelson had gotten his first MLB experience the previous year with the White Sox, same as Motten had with the Orioles, so they were both expected to be with the big club in '68. But the thing I just now realized is that they reversed the image so it looks like he is a lefty hitter. If you look closely you also see that the Oriole cartoon bird is facing the wrong way and the letter "M" looks like it would be the last letter of his name and not the first - it's the only letter of his name on the uniform that you can read. Clearly they wanted him facing toward the right on the card to balance the image of Nelson so they just flipped his picture.

RIP, Curt. Thanks for all you did for so many people throughout your life.

Maybe I am imagining this, but wasn't Curt traded along with Dave McNally to the Montreal Expos for Ken Singleton and a decent pitcher (Rudy May, perhaps?)?

---
Barkeep's Reply: No, Motton was traded to Milwaukee for a player to be named later that ended up being Bob Reynolds.

Curt was my neighbor and I can remember siting in his VW with daughter Simone at the school bus stop during cold days. He took me to the ball field and hit balls to me for hours and taught me how to properly grip a baseball to throw it on a straight line. So many great memories of Curt. When he began working with Elrod at his summer camp I went for many years. I collected all his baseball cards and he gladly signed every one for me. When I played college baseball he made sure the Orioles scouts kept tabs on me and he let me know how I was doing. We lost touch for several years and reconnected in recent years. I had not known he was ill. After seeing him again it was like no time had passed. A few years ago I met Curt in Bowie at the Bay Sox game and we had a blast watching the game and talking baseball. A few years ago I won Curt's 1970 replica jersey at an Orioles auction and it hangs proudly framed in my office. Such great memories of a great guy. I remember seeing your bat that McNally hit the World Series grand slam with in the Hall of Fame. You made it! One way or the other. You made it. Curt, you will not be forgotten. You were one of my heroes. Rest in peace my friend.

Does anybody know what the amount was that Millwaukee paid for Curt Motton, I know it was cash and Bob Reynolds, but how much was the cash??

Actually Cuz was not Elrods's cousin, His fex-wife was Elrod's first cousin.

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