O'Dowd interview waits on playoffs Foss won't rule out making decision before end of World Series

Orioles notebook

September 28, 1998|By Joe Strauss | Joe Strauss,SUN STAFF

BOSTON -- Orioles chief operating officer Joe Foss finished two days of observation and meetings with manager Ray Miller yesterday regarding the club's ongoing general manager search. While Foss holds to his original deadline of making a hire by the end of the World Series, he would not rule out an earlier conclusion.

Meanwhile, the first round of interviews won't conclude until at least Thursday when Foss meets with Cleveland Indians assistant general manager Dan O'Dowd. Indians majority owner Richard Jacobs last week seconded general manager John Hart's authorization for the Orioles to interview O'Dowd. Now the process will wait for an off day in the Indians' Division Series matchup with the Boston Red Sox.

"The time frame I established earlier is still very much intact. However, if I'm able to complete the process before then, I would be delighted," said Foss.

If not for outgoing general manager Pat Gillick, the Orioles might not have obtained permission to speak with O'Dowd. Jacobs and Orioles majority owner Peter Angelos are not politically aligned and sources familiar with talks say the Indians owner was initially leaning toward denying the request.

Through Gillick, sources say the Orioles approached Hart, who in turn convinced Jacobs.

While Orioles personnel have spoken with Red Sox special assistants Mike Port and Lee Thomas about the position, no formal interviews have occurred.

Cal exits stage right

At one time Cal Ripken considered ending his streak at Fenway Park on the season's final day. Instead Ripken stopped his consecutive game streak at 2,632 on Sept. 20 at Camden Yards. Rather than sit yesterday, Ripken did the next best thing. Playing in the field for one inning, he left the game after a nTC second-inning at-bat. It was the 28th time Ripken left a game early this season compared to 22 last season.

Early exits on the season's final day represent Ripken's only concession to appearing in 2,639 of the Orioles' last 2,640 games. Yesterday's exit marked the seventh time Ripken has left a game in the fourth inning or sooner. Six of those times have been on the season's final day.

Defense, defense

The Orioles were a major disappointment but their defense will rank as the strongest in major- league history. Jeff Reboulet's fifth-inning throwing error was their 81st of the season, three fewer than the previous record set by the 1988 Minnesota Twins.

Roberto Alomar, who owns the highest career fielding percentage by any second baseman in the game's history, led the Orioles with 11 errors. Shortstop Mike Bordick ended with seven; third baseman Ripken committed only eight and led his position in fielding percentage. First baseman Rafael Palmeiro, who won a Gold Glove last season, was second on the club with nine errors.

Their 31 unearned runs allowed ranked as the major leagues' fewest. Last season's 98-64 team allowed 46 unearned runs.

Orioles aid Bernhardt

Rather than wallow in a disappointing finish to their trying season, the Orioles used the final moments before yesterday's game to assist one of their own. Right fielder Eric Davis and bench coach Eddie Murray organized a clubhouse collection to assist first-base coach Carlos Bernhardt, whose home in the Dominican Republic was ravaged by Hurricane Georges last week. Bernhardt's mother and mother-in-law also had their homes obliterated by the storm and will have to rebuild.

When it was suggested that the Orioles could auction memorabilia to help raise money for Bernhardt's family, Angelos interceded. Angelos donated heavily to the cause.

Bernhardt, a popular first-year member of the major-league coaching staff, did not learn his family's fate for four days last week while Georges whipped Hispanola.

He reacted emotionally when the presentation was made.

Around the horn

The Orioles, who outscored last season's AL East champions 817-812, finished the season by scoring 10 or more runs 14 times compared to two or fewer runs 34 times. After a stretch in which they mashed 10 hits or more in 21 of 33 games, they finished the season by reaching double digits in only 11 of 31 games. The Orioles ranked third in home runs in the AL, trailing only the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays. Many team members returned home last evening and headed directly to the Ravens game against the Cincinnati Bengals where they were invited to watch from Ripken's box.

Pub Date: 9/28/98

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