Ripken to consider major-league offers Ex-Orioles coach denies he's retired

October 25, 1992|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

ATLANTA -- Cal Ripken Sr., the only Orioles coach who wasn't invited back for next year, will consider any offers at the major-league level.

"I read that I was retiring," Ripken said from his home in Aberdeen, "but that's not necessarily fact. I never said anything about retiring."

Ripken, 56, has spent his entire 36-year career with the Orioles, and in the past often said he had no desire to work in any other organization. But that was when he had a choice.

"I didn't want to work anywhere else," he said, "but right now, I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm going to take my time and think about it."

Ripken rejected the Orioles' offer to be a coordinator at the minor-league level, but that doesn't mean he's ready to call it a career.

"I'm available for a major-league job somewhere," he said. "I'd be willing to sit down and talk to anybody."

Because of his vast experience at virtually every level of the game, Ripken should have no trouble getting another job. Many teams might be interested in using his teaching and organizational skills, but he may not want to continue unless he ++ can do so in the major leagues.

"I haven't talked to anybody yet," said Ripken. "I don't know if I'll try to hook on with somebody else or not. I'm going to take some time and weigh my options.

"If somebody wants to talk about a job at the major-league level, I'll do it. Otherwise, I think I'll just wait and see what develops."

Despite the awkwardness of the situation, including the fact that two of his sons, Cal and Bill, play for the Orioles, Ripken denied any bitter ness.

"I read that too," he said. "They come out with that stuff that I'm bitter because I got fired.

"That's just like saying I was retiring -- it's their opinion, but that doesn't make it fact," said Ripken, who said he resented the implication that he had been withdrawn in the clubhouse.

"Hell, I never did have much to say in the clubhouse," said Ripken, who maintained a good relationship with the players and manager Johnny Oates but appeared distant from the rest of the organization.

There undoubtedly are still some lingering hard feelings over his firing as manager after six games of the 1988 season, Roland Hemond's first as general manager. Ripken returned to his old job as third base-coach the next year, working under Frank Robinson, who had succeeded him as manager.

That arrangement produced a naturally strained relationship. When Oates replaced Robinson early in the 1991 season, the situation seemed to improve, but ultimately it was decided to make a change.

Hemond emphasized that it was an organizational decision, not one made solely by the manager, who usually has veto power over his staff.

In the meantime, Oates said he has lined up "three or four" interviews of potential successors to Ripken. He won't divulge any names but acknowledged that the new third-base coach most likely would come from outside the organization.

Oates did rule out Don Zimmer, who, under different circumstances, might have been a logical candidate. Oates and Zimmer have worked together, serving on the coaching staff of the Chicago Cubs when ex-Orioles coach Jim Frey was the manager.

"Zim told me he was going to go home [retire]," Oates said of the veteran who was Butch Hobson's third-base coach for the Boston Red Sox last year. "There might be one or two jobs in baseball that interest him, but that's it."

Oates didn't indicate when the new coach would be named, but it probably won't be until after the managerial vacancies are filled.

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