It's long overdue, but the Orioles will enshrine Hal "Skinny" Brown in their Hall of Fame Saturday afternoon in ceremonies before the game at Memorial Stadium with the Red Sox.
The way Brownie began his career it looked as if he'd wind up in the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown.
In his first major-league game in 1952, Brown, pitching for the White Sox, defeated Cleveland's Bob Feller. Brown also hit a home run that day off Feller.
Skinny, an Oriole from 1955 to '62, set a record in '61 -- at age 36 -- that remains a standard for one season: pitching 36 consecutive scoreless innings. He is one of five Orioles to have pitched three straight complete-game shutouts.
Brown will be honored at the Oriole Advocates' eighth annual Hall of Fame luncheon tomorrow at the Hyatt Regency. Expected to attend are Dick Hall, Ron Hansen, Billy O'Dell, and Jerry Walker, all former teammates of Brown here.
Skinny Brown was a favorite of the late Orioles manager Paul Richards. Wherever Richards went -- Chicago, Baltimore, Houston -- he managed to bring Brownie along. Richards did much the same thing with a catcher named Clint "Scrap Iron" Courtney.
When Richards entered the Oriole Hall of Fame in 1984 he told of encountering Courtney, a colorful, bespectacled Louisianan, after Clint's playing career.
Said Courtney to Richards: "Skip, you never did like my ballplaying, did you?"
Answered Richards: "Why, Scraps, I traded for you three times."
Said Courtney: "I know, but you traded me off four times."
* Another popular figure from those old Orioles days, play-by-play announcer Ernie Harwell, will be the speaker at a luncheon at J. Patrick's in Locust Point next Tuesday. Harwell, who has been doing Tigers games for years, will be in Baltimore for the Detroit-Orioles series.
* It can be assumed that astute University of Maryland athletic director Andy Geiger has made a good move in hiring UCLA's Jeffrey W. Gray as associate A.D. to oversee fund-raising, public relations, marketing, promotions and tickets. A bunch of people here were hoping Geiger would hire Maryland grad Roger Goss. Gray starts Aug. 15.
* Incidentally, it surprised me in talking this week with the Dunbar and Southern High basketball stars who'll be playing in the Charm City Classic at Towson State Jan. 17-18 and listening to them rattle off the names of colleges they're interested in:
Georgia Tech, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Richmond, Towson State, Florida State, Clemson.
Not one of them mentioned Maryland.
If you watch college basketball on TV, you're aware that many schools traverse the country like NBA teams. Duke last year was on TV more than
most NBA teams. What stupefies me is the travel schedules of some of the top U.S. high schools.
Dunbar, for instance, will go off to tournaments next season in Johnstown, Pa., Hawaii, Myrtle Beach, S.C., St. Louis and Erie, Pa. Says coach Pete Pompey: "We're going to do some traveling." When I played high school basketball for St. Paul's we considered it a trip when we went to Irvington to play Mount St. Joe.
* Baltimore's Pam Shriver, a 6-0, 7-5 winner yesterday over Baltimore's Andrea Leand, gets a little racy in her newspaper Diary from Wimbledon. Yesterday she wrote of Steffi Graf:
"Steffi is rumored, however, to have spent last weekend traveling in pursuit of romance."
Pam has seen so much of the London tabloids she probably thinks she's writing for them. And what's wrong, by the way, if an unattached, attractive young woman like Graf -- or Pam Shriver, if you will -- seeks romance?
* With the LPGA Championship being played starting today at the Bethesda Country Club, I notice a change in the old guard in women's golf. Baltimore's 25-year-old Tina Barrett, No. 32 in earnings with $73,955, has won more money this year than Laura Baugh, Juli Inkster, JoAnne Carner or Jan Stephenson.
* The Blast will go anywhere to promote indoor soccer. Saturday coach Ken Cooper, PR man Drew Forester and six Blast players will go to the pre-release center at Jessup to play softball, volleyball and basketball against prisoners. In volleyball, the soccer people are allowed to use only their feet. Explains Forester: "This is just a way we can help the less fortunate. We really can't sell any season tickets down there."