No one knows how much Ben McDonald or Gregg Olson will be pitching next season, but this much is set for the Baltimore Orioles in 1991: Chuck Thompson will be going 243 innings.
Thompson said yesterday that he has agreed to work 81 games next season on WBAL Radio, filling in when No. 1 play-by-play announcer Jon Miller is off on assignments for ESPN or Channel 2. Thompson said he will call three innings per game, working with whoever becomes Miller's regular partner.
Joe Angel, No. 2 announcer on WBAL for the past three seasons, has left for the New York Yankees, and the station is in the process of finding a replacement.
Thompson said, "There are a lot of details to be worked out," but the number of games he'll work is set. One of the details is Thompson's schedule, but that can't be determined until Channel 2 selects its Orioles games for next year and then assigns telecasts to Miller.
Still, Thompson, 69, who retired from Orioles television play-by-play after 1987, said he knows he's headed out on the road, something he had said he wanted to avoid.
"One of the things Ron [Shapiro, his representative] and I really were concerned with was I don't want to be away from home more than I have to," Thompson said.
But Thompson will put up with the travel for one season -- "This will be it," he said -- and apparently be well-compensated for it, though all he'd say about his salary is that it's more than he made in his final season before retirement.
"Let's face it," Thompson said, "it's a hell of a good job. You go out to the ballpark and watch the teams play and tell the people about it and get paid for it."