Schuerholz would welcome shot to rejoin home team

John Steadman

October 07, 1993|By John Steadman

That John Schuerholz is one of the most effective general managers in the major leagues should be of interest to the Orioles. Furthermore, he's home folks. Born, bred and educated here, even starting his baseball apprenticeship with the Orioles, it would be a natural progression for him to join the new ownership team of Peter Angelos.

It would be a momentous move, one creating excitement and applause. Don't rule it out, especially if you desire good things to happen to Baltimore. He's a hometown product who has scaled the heights of executive achievement. What acclaim he would be afforded if he elected to make such a move.

Schuerholz was reached for a brief discussion on the matter just before his team, the Atlanta Braves, met the Philadelphia Phillies in the first game of the National League playoffs. He was asked if it occurred to him the Orioles might desire his services during what is expected to be a readjustment of the team's front-office structure.

"I haven't been asked and haven't given it any thought," he answered. He was obviously surprised, yet seemingly pleased the possibility had been introduced on an informal basis.

It would make for a perfect fit, an absolute 10-strike for Angelos if he brought Schuerholz to Baltimore.

What lends some encouragement to a Schuerholz return is how he reacted, saying he would be "flattered if someone in a responsible position [in this case, Angelos] made a serious overture."

But he was emphatic in stipulating he's not soliciting the Orioles for an opportunity, in the event current general manager Roland Hemond moves to another role in the realignment of front-office duties.

Schuerholz stressed he wasn't shopping for a job and that he thoroughly enjoys being general manager in Atlanta, where his contract has two years remaining. At the same time, he did not dismiss the joy that would come to him and his family if he came back to where his baseball odyssey all began.

Still, his reputation is such that it would be a coup for the Orioles to bring one of the most prominent executives in baseball to the team he grew up cheering for, following in the box scores and eventually joining for what evolved into an astounding success story.

In explaining his position, after the initial shock of the Baltimore-is-calling question wore off, he added, "I would be something less than honest if I didn't tell you that, yes, sometimes I have reflected on what it would mean to come back home. It has been part of my career dream.

"But I would never want that to happen if it in any way influenced the position of Roland Hemond. I have too much respect for him and others there in what is a fine organization. I would never want my presence to influence something like that."

Score more points for Schuerholz. Not too many men will reveal such depth about themselves, even if they are thinking it.

Schuerholz's character, intelligence and work habits are extraordinary. He was a baseball and soccer player at Baltimore City College and Towson State University and is in the halls of fame at both schools. His father and uncles and grandfather, too, were identified with sports in this city as athletes and coaches.

What is even more impressive is Schuerholz's record, his personality and ability to get along with people. He's a winner, having been general manager of teams in Kansas City, which took the 1985 World Series, and in Atlanta, where the Braves have won two straight pennants and are in the process of going for a third.

At age 52, it's the ideal time for him to take advantage of a Baltimore opportunity, if it's there.

Angelos must refrain from expressing himself. It would be a case of tampering. The new owner can't afford to be in such a predicament, but there's nothing to prevent a request to Braves owner Ted Turner for permission to talk with Schuerholz once the postseason is done.

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