Waived by Orioles, Dempsey looks toward managing His retirement '90 percent' certain

October 16, 1992|By Peter Schmuck | Peter Schmuck,Staff Writer

Veteran catcher Rick Dempsey said yesterday there is a "90 percent" chance he will announce his retire- ment next week and accept a job in the Orioles organization.

The club announced earlier in the day that Dempsey had been waived for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release, a move meant to open space on the 40-man roster for Triple-A outfielder Doug Jennings.

The move was not a surprise, considering what little time Dempsey spent on the active roster during the 1992 season. The real question was whether he would remain in the same kind of "taxi squad" role he played for the majority of the Orioles schedule.

"There's about a 90 percent chance I'll retire soon -- as soon as the Orioles decide what they want me to do," he said. "I have indicated I would like to manage in the organization, but they don't know if they'll have a place for me. We'll see."

Dempsey spent the entire season with the Orioles. He came to camp as a non-roster player to compete with Jeff Tackett and Mark Parent for a reserve role behind Chris Hoiles. Tackett got the job, but Dempsey remained with the major-league team in a coach/instructor capacity until Hoiles suffered a broken wrist in late June. The Orioles activated Dempsey for five weeks in June and July.

He then returned to a non-playing role until the end of the season, when he was activated for the final seven games of the season. In all, he appeared in eight games and had one hit in nine at-bats. General manager Roland Hemond said he hopes to talk more with Dempsey next week.

"The reason we made the move today was to make room on the roster for Jennings," Hemond said. "We were under an Oct. 15 deadline to add him to the roster. When we put Rick on the roster the last week of the season, he took the last space on the 40-man roster."

It was hardly a secret that Dempsey was on the verge of retirement. The club activated him during the final week of play so that he could make a final appearance behind the plate at Camden Yards.

He made that last Orioles appearance on Sept. 27, catching longtime teammate Mike Flanagan in the late innings of a game against Boston.

Jennings, formerly of the Oakland A's, played at Triple-A Rochester in 1992 in the outfield and at first base. He led the Red Wings with 76 runs batted in and also topped the team in walks, triples and on-base percentage.

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