5-game winners scarce, like quality O's pitching

The Inside stuff

July 08, 1991|By Bill Tanton

Proof of the Orioles' pitching woes is that they were the las club in the majors to produce a five-game winner. They barely made it by the All-Star break when Jeff Ballard won No. 5 (against nine losses) yesterday in the 5-3 win over the New York Yankees.

The next-to-last team to have a pitcher reach that plateau was Cleveland, which has the worst record in the big leagues (26-53). The Indians' Greg Swindell beat Milwaukee Saturday to go 5-7.

* Orioles pitcher Dave Johnson, apparently over the groin injury that put him on the disabled list May 19, told visitors to Hagerstown Friday night that he expected to be with the Baltimore club when it flies to California Wednesday to open a road trip in Oakland. After Dave's strong six innings for the Suns yesterday we all expect it.

* John McNamara, fired over the weekend by Cleveland, has managed six major-league clubs -- and came within an hour of managing a seventh, the Orioles. Hank Peters, now the Indians general manager, was GM here and wanted his close friend McNamara to succeed Earl Weaver in 1983. Peters was unable to contact owner Edward Bennett Williams, who was abroad on business, so McNamara signed with California. Joe Altobelli took the O's job and won a world championship his first year.

* People who have been involved with both situations are struck by the difference between the caring way Blast owner Ed Hale reacted to the tragic death of 27-year-old Mike Reynolds and the way Robert Irsay behaved when Colts linebacker Mike Woods was shot and paralyzed in Cleveland in 1982. Hale flew in Reynolds' family and fiancee from Canada. Irsay instructed the Colts front office to "cut off" Woods and get him out of their lives as quickly as possible.

* Somebody should tell Jon Miller that his love affair with Washingtonians does not go over in provincial Baltimore.

On the same day last week that Sparky Anderson and Ernie Harwell spoke here at J. Patrick's at a luncheon attended by 92 ex-athletes and sports enthusiasts including Art Donovan, Jim Mutscheller, Bobby Williams, Jack Scarbath, Ron Hansen, Jerry Walker, Vince Bagli and Bob Maisel, we had to hear Miller on the Oriole broadcast raving about having had lunch in D.C. with Larry King and having seen Shirley Povich and Moe Sie

gel. Hey, Jon -- that ain't our crowd.

* Anderson went out of his way here to praise the managing skills of the Orioles' John Oates. The legendary Sparky thinks Oates has the stuff to be a good manager for a long time, but when he heard that Oates lost 8 pounds in his first three days in the job, he told him, "John, you're never going to last 22 years."

* Incidentally, unseen by the general public -- but noticed by nosies in the press box -- is the changing lineup in the Oriole owner's box since the switch from Edward Bennett Williams to Eli Jacobs.

President Bush and Queen Elizabeth are always welcome there, of course, but no longer seen in those catered confines are Larry King and George Will. Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan was a guest there three straight nights during the most recent homestand, an interesting tie-in with the ballclub for sale.

* Danny Rindone, a Loyola College basketball player 20 years ago, now a Philadelphia lawyer, was in town over the weekend and told friends Philadelphians in fairly significant numbers are making the pilgrimage to 33rd Street these days for a last look at Memorial Stadium. They regard the place as one of the best anywhere in which to watch a ballgame.

* Today is the 23rd anniversary of the only All-Star Game ever played in Baltimore. Those who were not around for it make the mistake of thinking it was dull, since it is the only All-Star Game in which there were no extra-base hits. But that was only Baltimore's fifth season in the American League, it was our first in-person look at the National Leaguers, and the game featured some of the greatest stars the game has ever known, including Hall of Famers Ted Williams, Willie Mays and Stan Musial. I don't think the '93 game here will have stars like those. Dull, indeed.

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