Membership in the Orioles Hall of Fame swelled to 44 yesterday with the inductions of bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks, former pitcher Mike Boddicker and former general manager Hank Peters.
No one has logged more time in an Orioles uniform than Hendricks, who's in his 33rd season as a player or coach in the organization. He's the first person still active in his position to be enshrined.
"All my rewards come from being in this uniform," Hendricks said. "This is a bonus and something I never expected. The rewards I've gotten from this game far outweigh what I've put into it. For me, this is icing on the cake."
Hendricks also was presented with a crystal trophy from the people of the Virgin Islands, where he was born and raised.
"It's people like Elrod who give baseball a good name," said manager Mike Hargrove. "I've never seen Elrod not be accommodating to people. And I don't mean that to the extent that it consumes him. I just mean he's always pleasant, he works extremely hard, he's very responsible, but he's also very accommodating to the fans and the people around him.
"Elrod, his baseball intelligence notwithstanding, is a tremendous asset to this organization and has been for a number of years."
Boddicker went 79-73 with a 3.73 ERA from 1980 to 1988. Beginning the 1983 season at Triple-A Rochester, he won 16 games for the Orioles and was named Most Valuable Player of the 1983 American League Championship Series. The next year, he became the only Oriole to lead the league in wins (20) and ERA (2.79).
"When I think of Mike Boddicker, I think of nothing but good times," said first base coach Eddie Murray, who introduced him.
"I kept asking myself, `Why should I be in the Orioles Hall of Fame?' I wasn't anything special. Then I finally figured it out," Boddicker said before rattling off names of former teammates.
Boddicker is the last Oriole to win 20 games. Those were the good times. Yesterday, he expressed appreciation for how the fans here stuck with him during the bad, especially during the team's 0-21 start in 1988.
"I deserved to be booed. I booed myself on the way to the clubhouse. But you never booed me. Never," he said.
With Peters in the front office, the Orioles won the 1979 AL pennant and 1983 World Series. He was general manager from November 1975 through the 1987 season. During his first season, he engineered the 10-player trade with the New York Yankees that brought three Orioles Hall of Famers - Scott McGregor, Rick Dempsey and Tippy Martinez - and sent Hendricks to the Bronx.
As Cleveland's GM, Peters gave Hargrove his first managerial job in 1991. "He's probably regretted that decision ever since he did it," Hargrove quipped.
"Hank was always a calming influence. And at that time, with the Indians' history, they needed all the calming influence they could get. He was a very stable, steady influence, to the extent that when he did get upset, it made you feel bad. You'd think, `I need to do something to make him feel better.' You like working for people like that. I owe Hank Peters a lot.
"What I think is a shame is that, while Hank did a tremendous job in Baltimore, I don't know that he gets enough credit for the turnaround in Cleveland because he had a huge hand in it - a huge hand."
Rest for Hairston
Jerry Hairston didn't start at second base yesterday for only the sixth time in 130 games, with rookie Brian Roberts taking his place.
Hargrove was being cautious with Hairston, who felt a twinge in a groin muscle after hitting into a double play Friday night.
"It gives him a chance to have two days off," Hargrove said, including today's opening on the schedule. "I probably would have put Brian Roberts there, anyway, to get him in the lineup. With Jerry tweaking his groin a little bit, it made sense to do that."
The Orioles were left with only two healthy players on their bench - catcher Brook Fordyce (.219) and outfielder Brady Anderson (.197). David Segui remains day-to-day with a sore left knee that was examined Friday.
Segui hasn't played since Thursday at Tampa Bay.
Mills battles himself
Looking at struggling reliever Alan Mills, Hargrove sees a pitcher who needs better location on his slider. He also sees someone who's beginning to lose confidence.
"Alan's just not throwing strikes," Hargrove said. "Alan's always had a good slider. He's been able to throw it for strikes when he wanted to. For a couple outings, he hasn't been able to do that. He's overcranking it, trying to be too nasty, and it's causing him to get behind in the count."
Mills has allowed four homers in his past four appearances. The damage has included three-run shots from Boston's Carl Everett, Tampa Bay's Chris Gomez and Toronto's Brad Fullmer. Manny Ramirez followed Everett's bomb with a bases-empty homer.
Mills sat dejectedly at his locker before yesterday's game, keeping to himself rather than exchanging in the usual banter with teammates and reporters.
"No matter how much time you have in the big leagues, there are times that everybody starts doubting themselves," Hargrove said. "You've got to fight through that period and, when you do, you realize you're still awfully good at what you do, and you relax and let things happen for you.
"Right now, Alan looks like he's in one of those periods where he's doubting himself a little bit and maybe has some questions."
Around the horn
Cal Ripken saved a run from scoring in the seventh inning and showed off some range when he backhanded a ball hit down the line by Fullmer. Ripken's momentum carried him into foul territory, where he rolled on his shoulder but kept Vernon Wells from advancing past third base. ... The Blue Jays called up Wells from Triple-A Syracuse before the game and optioned pitcher Matt DeWitt. Wells, regarded as one of their top prospects, batted leadoff yesterday and went 3-for-5 with a stolen base.