The reshaping of the Orioles' front office took an unexpected turn yesterday when the club announced it has hired former Baltimore Colts general manager Ernie Accorsi to a senior management post.
Accorsi, 52, was appointed to the newly created job of executive director for business affairs. He'll oversee a wide range of the team's activities, including stadium operations, fan assistance and community affairs, the club said.
Accorsi is the first senior official with previous experience as a sports executive to be hired by the Orioles since investors led by Baltimore lawyer Peter G. Angelos bought the team last October.
Earlier, Angelos hired former banker Joe Foss and Fred Arscott, financial adviser to Orioles investor Tom Clancy, to lead the team's business operation. Accorsi will report to Foss, the team said.
"The Orioles have been looking for a true professional in major-league sports management to help complement the management team. Ernie brings that to us," Foss said yesterday.
The Orioles job is the latest stop in a long and varied sports career for Accorsi, whose ties to Baltimore go back to his days as a sports writer for The Evening Sun. He also served as sports information director at St. Joseph's College in Philadelphia and at Penn State.
For the past three decades, most of Accorsi's work has involved the NFL. After leaving the Colts, he was Cleveland Browns general manager.
Most recently, Accorsi helped with the Maryland Stadium Authority's efforts to land an NFL expansion team for Baltimore. He left the stadium authority in December when that bid failed.
Accorsi said his talks with the Orioles began about 45 days ago, and that the discussions quickly piqued his interest.
"The more I talked to Joe and heard about Peter, this was my first priority," Accorsi said. "My feelings to be working for this franchise, in this city -- it couldn't be better."
So far, Accorsi's duties apparently do not include helping Angelos bring an NFL franchise to Baltimore. The Orioles owner has acknowledged he would like to buy an NFL team and move it here, but Accorsi said the two have not talked about the effort.
"I would do anything Peter asked me to do, but it wasn't part of our discussions," Accorsi said.