Seems like Benitez has a clue, after all I see where...

LETTERS

July 09, 2000

Seems like Benitez has a clue, after all

I see where former Orioles reliever Armando Benitez has been one of the finest closers - if not the finest - in the National League the past couple of years with the New York Mets.

I wonder what unnamed Oriole who stated a couple of years ago that "Benitez doesn't have a clue" feels about this present cast of Orioles characters.

Rick Marcel

Baltimore

Hendricks shows class with opponent's fans

I took my 12-year-old, baseball-crazy son to a Mariners-Orioles game recently at Safeco Field. We were near the bullpen before the game waiting for the starting pitchers to begin warming up. There is a tight mesh chain-link fence between the fans and the bullpen, all at the same level.

Orioles coach Elrod Hendricks was the first guy to get to the bullpen. He reached into a bag, came over to the fence and started passing small packages of bubble gum through the fence to every fan standing there.

My son knows better than to bother ballplayers (or coaches) when they are working, and I just wanted to thank Mr. Hendricks for making my son's and my day.

I have no idea how good a coach Hendricks is. I remember him as a solid player, but if he teaches nothing more than to make the game fun for the fans, he's doing a great job.

Kevin Graham

Mercer Island, Wash.

Johnson trade talk? O's just don't get it

The possibility that the Orioles might trade catcher Charles Johnson demonstrates once again the singular inability of this organization to grasp the importance of basing critical personnel decisions on factors other than short-term considerations or personal pique.

This year, at 28, Johnson has found his total game. His batting average home run production and RBIs are all huge. His defense continues to be exemplary

But wait, what's this? He is represented by an agent who offended the Orioles brain trust years ago in the Ben McDonald era, and the Orioles won't negotiate with this person. Ergo, Johnson must go.

Trading Johnson, unquestionably the heart and soul of the team this year, could turn out to be the greatest blunder the Orioles have yet perpetrated and condemn them to wander in the baseball wilderness for many years to come.

Harry Fox

Baltimore

Announcer Thompson is the best in the booth

I recently read, with great sadness, that Chuck Thompson was losing his vision.

Some years ago the Orioles stopped in Richmond, Va., for an exhibition game against the Phillies before starting their regular season in Baltimore. Although Thompson was getting ready to do his broadcast, he took the time to chat with me for a few minutes and sign my program. I cherish his autograph more than any other I have.

I have many fond memories of my father and I sitting by the radio listening to Thompson's play-by-play. To my mind, no one has ever done it better. In all his years in the booth, I never heard him malign a ballplayer or an opposing team. Mr. Thompson, you are the greatest, and you will always be the voice of the Orioles to me.

Paul Tillman

Salisbury

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