Robinson ready, able to be GM, but is Angelos willing?

October 18, 1994|By Mark Hyman | Mark Hyman,Sun Staff Writer

His ambition is unchanged. He still covets a shot at being a major-league general manager, ideally in Baltimore.

Whether Orioles assistant GM Frank Robinson will get that chance with the Orioles, however, remains an open question.

Robinson's prospects seemed to brighten considerably last week when Doug Melvin, former Orioles assistant GM and Robinson's main rival, departed for the Texas Rangers.

That move appeared to leave Robinson in line to succeed veteran GMRoland Hemond, who strongly had been rumored to be awaiting a new job as vice chairman of baseball operations for owner Peter Angelos.

But in the few days since Melvin headed south, little has been done to clarify Robinson's Orioles future.

Robinson said Angelos has not approached him to discuss the situation. And, according to Robinson, he has no plans to call on the owner any time soon.

That, Robinson said, might be forcing the owner to make a decision he is not prepared to make.

So, he waits.

"I'm not unhappy. I would have preferred if the situation had been handled in a speedy type way, so I would have it clear in my mind what was going to happen," Robinson said. "But I understand and accept the situation. I would think something should or could be done in the very near future."

As he has since Melvin resigned, Angelos declined to answer questions about Robinson's and Hemond's status yesterday.

"I'm not going to get into a discussion of that," the owner said.

For his part, Robinson has been reluctant to talk about his situation in the days since Melvin left the club. He declined a request for an interview last week, and, as he spoke in his Camden Yards office yesterday, chose his words carefully.

But Robinson, 59, was willing to talk about his long-standing quest for the job, and to speculate about his options if things don't work out with the Orioles.

He said he never has been promised the general manager's job by Angelos or any other Orioles official "in authority." He says he has not discussed his future with Hemond recently, in part out of deference to the man he possibly could replace. Hemond has one year remaining on his Orioles contract.

But Robinson said he has mulled over some tough questions, including what he would do if Angelos decided to choose someone else as GM.

Most likely, Robinson said, he would leave the Orioles.

"I just feel like I have put in enough time in this position to have the knowledge and know-how to be selected as general manager -- if not here, someplace else," he said. "If another person comes in, that would just be more years before the possibility of me becoming the general manager. I don't have that many more years in baseball."

Still, Robinson said, he has no desire to leave the Orioles, an organization he has served as player, coach, manager and front-office executive.

"This is where I want to be. This is where I'd like to be. This is where I would like to work until I am ready to get out of baseball," he said. "I am very comfortable here. And this is where I want to put the effort into trying to be part of bringing a championship ballclub back to this city."

There doesn't appear to be any doubt in Robinson's mind that he could be a successful GM, a confidence that he says has been boosted during his past three years as an assistant to Hemond.

"I know I am ready," he said. "If I wasn't ready when I came off the field [when fired as field manager in May 1991], then I $H certainly am ready now. I've been three years in this position. I know some people say, 'Oh, that's not a long time.' But I have put a lot of years into baseball, and I am qualified."

Robinson also says he would be a good working partner for Angelos, who in his first year as owner showed a strong interest in player moves and roster building.

"I think we both would be able to listen and to give," he said. "That's all it takes to get along."

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