Coaching overhaul under way

October 18, 1994|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writer Tom Keegan contributed to this article.

Mike Flanagan was named pitching coach yesterday, the beginning of a nearly complete make-over of the Orioles' coaching staff under new manager Phil Regan.

Orioles first base coach Davey Lopes said last night that he had been told by general manager Roland Hemond that Elrod Hendricks, the bullpen coach, would be the only one from last season to be retained.

"You anticipate this type of thing," said Lopes, who had been one of the candidates to succeed Johnny Oates as manager. "You always hope they will keep you on because of your credibility, but that's usually not the way it's done. Nepotism, that's part of the game."

The other coaches to be replaced on the major-league staff include Greg Biagini (hitting), Don Buford (outfield/bench) and Jerry Narron (third base). Pitching coach Dick Bosman was fired on Sept. 28.

Earlier yesterday, Regan said he was just a phone call away from having his complete staff in place.

"We're just waiting on one person and we'll have the staff completed," he said. "He'll fill an important role if he accepts -- and I think he will."

The man in question is believed to be ex-Oriole Merv Rettenmund, the San Diego Padres' hitting coach who has been given permission to talk with the Orioles.

Regan said yesterday that one of his prospective coaches is a former big-league manager. Chuck Cottier, who managed the Seattle Mariners when Regan was the pitching coach there from to '86, fits that description, and his current employer, the Chicago Cubs, granted him permission to talk to the Orioles.

Cottier would become the fourth third base coach in as many years for the Orioles, following Cal Ripken Sr., Mike Ferraro and Narron. It is a role he filled for the Mariners before becoming manager.

Regan said his staff will include six coaches, the same number Oates had last season. Assembling the staff is a joint venture, with the front office having considerable input, but Regan having the freedom to name three, excluding Flanagan.

Steve Boros, former Oakland Athletics manager and a minor-league teammate of Regan's, has surfaced as the top candidate to become bench coach, a job he most recently held with the Kansas City Royals.

That leaves one spot open, and it appears that former Orioles outfielder Al Bumbry will become first base coach, a job he held with the Red Sox before rejoining the Orioles as a coach with the Double-A Bowie Baysox last season. Bumbry reportedly met with Regan yesterday, but was unavailable for comment last night.

From all appearances, the Regan-Flanagan pairing appears to be a natural.

"There are two ways to go -- with someone who's experienced or with someone who is younger and can relate to the players," said Regan. "It is a very important job, and one that is difficult to fill.

"I spent a lot of time with Mike, asked him a lot of questions and found out his philosophies of pitching are much the same as mine. And I think that's to be expected because we both come from organizations that had a lot of great pitching coaches."

"Mike will bring a lot to our staff. Anyone who can go 156 games without missing a start [as Flanagan did after entering the Orioles' rotation in 1977] is special, and I hope he can bring that [attitude] to our pitching staff."

In their 41-year history the Orioles have employed just nine pitching coaches, and Flanagan pitched for all but one of the previous eight. The lone exception was Harry Brecheen, who served in that capacity for the first 14 years (1954-67) the Orioles were in Baltimore.

Brecheen was followed by George Bamberger (1968-78), Ray Miller (1978-85), Ken Rowe (1985-86), Mark Wiley (1987), Herm ,, Starrette (1988), Al Jackson (1989-91) and Dick Bosman (1992-94). Flanagan's connection with Starrette came in the minor leagues after he first signed with the Orioles in 1973.

"I had a couple of phone calls -- I talked to Bamby and Ray and they seemed to have an inkling I'd be cut out to do something like this, which was kind of flattering," said Flanagan.

Part of Flanagan's appeal to Regan was that he had performed as a starter and a reliever and understands both aspects of pitching, and that he has a working knowledge of most of the pitchers in the organization. That, Flanagan said, will be a major plus for him.

"It will be helpful coming in," he said. "I think it will give me instant credibility, then we'll take it from there. I think they will know that there will have to be a line that can't be crossed, but I also think they'll understand I've been on both sides of the fence."


Year .. .. .. Club .. .. .. .. .. W-L .. .. .. .. .. .. ERA

1975 .. .. .. Orioles .. .. .. .. 0-1 .. .. .. .. .. .. 2.70

1976 .. .. .. Orioles .. .. .. .. 3-5 .. .. .. .. .. .. 4.13

1977 .. .. .. Orioles .. .. .. .. 15-10 .. .. .. .. ... 3.64

1978 .. .. .. Orioles .. .. .. .. 19-15 .. .. .. .. ... 4.04

1979 .. .. .. Orioles .. .. .. .. 23-9 ... .. .. .. ... 3.08

1980 .. .. .. Orioles .. .. .. .. 16-13 .. .. .. .. ... 4.12

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