The MacPhails. There has never been a family in sports like them. And their successes go on and on.
First there was the late Larry MacPhail, who ran the Cincinnati club, staged baseball's first night game, then went to New York and owned the Dodgers and the Yankees (as well as Bowie Race Course in Maryland).
Then came his son, Lee, who was general manager of the Orioles in the early '60s, became GM of the Yankees and finally president of the American League.
Now there's Lee's son, Andy, GM of the Minnesota Twins, who happen to be baseball's defending world champions.
Not only have the Twins, operating in a medium-sized market, won two World Series in the last five years. They are once again in first place in the AL West and in a good position to win another pennant.
Now there is the MacPhail of the future, Leland Stanford MacPhail IV, 23-year-old Lafayette College grad ('91), great-grandson of family patriarch Larry, grandson of Lee III, and nephew of the Twins' Andy.
Fortunately for Baltimore, the newest MacPhail works for the Orioles in player development and scouting. Around the club's offices in the Camden Yards warehouse they're saying he's also going to leave his mark on the game.
"Lee is doing very well," says his boss, assistant GM/player personnel director Doug Melvin. "He's not just working in baseball because of his family name.
"We've sent him out to see our minor-league clubs. He does game reports. He has good instincts and a feel for the game. Lee wants to learn. He's happy to come to work early and stay late. His family background definitely helps."
Says Lee III: "I'm in an ideal spot for a guy my age. The draft bogged us all down. I've been to Bluefield, Hagerstown, Frederick. Things are going really well for me."
Lee is justifiably proud of his uncle Andy with the Twins. Says Lee: "I think the Twins can remain competitive as long as Tom Kelly is the manager."
As for the Orioles, he forecasts: "We'll go as far as the pitching will take us. The pitching turned in by three of our young guys last weekend in Texas [Mike Mussina, Ben McDonald, Arthur Rhodes] was refreshing. You have to be optimistic when you see that."
* It's sad to see onetime Baltimore Colts top draft pick Art Schlichter in trouble again. The former Ohio State QB blew an NFL career because of his gambling. Now he has been charged with passing a bad check for $3,000 and may even blow his career, if you can call it that, with the Cincinnati Rockers in the Arena Football League.
If anyone doubts that gambling can be a disease he need only look at Schlichter. He has had the best counseling available. At one point he was going out, speaking to groups on behalf of Gamblers Anonymous, and still he struggles.
Bruce Laird, who was on the Colts with Schlichter, recalls that Art was always getting phone calls at the locker room. "We thought they were calls from women," Laird says. "We found out later that he was always on the phone with gamblers."
* Three cheers for another ex-Baltimore Colt, former tight end John Mackey, who will be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Aug. 1.
The Hall of Fame wanted to award Mackey his ring at a Colts game this season in Indianapolis. Mackey told them phooey on that. He'll receive his at our own Memorial Stadium, "where it all happened," John says, during the Miami-New Orleans exhibition game here Aug. 27. Mackey likes being part of a night designed to show the NFL that Baltimore belongs in the league.
* Janet Hatfield, of Brooklandville, has blossomed into one of the stars of the U.S. Triathlon series, often finishing in the top five. Hatfield, daughter of Valley Inn owner Bud Hatfield, turned pro in '88. At 5 feet 8 and 118 pounds, she has long strides that help her run down opponents. She's ranked No. 7 in the world. Janet will compete in Bud Light Triathlons in Chicago Aug. 2, in Hartford, Conn., Aug. 9, and in Norfolk, Va., on Aug. 23.
* The new Baltimore team in the National Professional Soccer League will have something we didn't have in 12 years in the now-defunct Major Soccer League: a natural rival. The team in nearby Harrisburg, Pa., (the Heat) is coached by Jim Pollihan, who used to be coach Kenny Cooper's assistant with the Blast.