October 05, 2003

Hargrove never had resources to succeed

I was disappointed but not surprised when the Orioles fired Mike Hargrove last week. Hargrove is one of the best managers in major league baseball, but he was never given the resources he needed to win with the Orioles.

What manager could have done any better with the team, considering the seemingly endless missteps and incompetence of the Orioles' front office over the past several years?

After the 2002 season, the Orioles knew that they needed a productive hitter and a No. 1 starting pitcher to be successful in 2003. They got neither in the offseason and are now surprised that the team didn't make great strides toward being competitive in 2003.

Hargrove did the best he could with what little he was given. The next Orioles manager will suffer a similar fate unless the front office finds a way to start making some good moves.

Ed Doheny Bel Air

Hargrove will be latest to leave, find success

The Orioles fired one of the best baseball managers of all time last week.

Mike Hargrove was a bright spot in a dismal six years, four of which he was the manager. It really doesn't pay to accept a job like this with a rebuilding team without an immediate prospect of a winning season.

He'll be welcomed by another team and will join those other former Orioles players who make it to the playoffs.

What other team is such a great training ground for outstanding players for other teams to enjoy? We have some great young players; let's hope we keep them.

John Edelmann Towson

Orioles' talent drain sealed Hargrove's fate

The firing of manager Mike Hargrove notwithstanding, perhaps he would have won more games if the Orioles had a legitimate leadoff hitter, three legitimate power hitters, a legitimate catcher, a legitimate closer, legitimate middle relievers, a legitimate third baseman and four legitimate starting pitchers.

Mel Tansill Catonsville

Ex-manager deserved better O's treatment

Firing managers in the ugliest way possible has become as much a Baltimore tradition as painted screens and steamed crabs.

As he makes his way out of town, how about a hand for Mike Hargrove? All he did in Baltimore was all his bosses asked.

In 2000, he inherited $80 million worth of stiffs. Next, he made do while Syd Thrift gave away the store. This year, he even used Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan's meager offseason acquisitions of Omar Daal, Rick Helling and Deivi Cruz.

He endured four losing seasons that could have been a lot worse. And he still wanted to manage here.

Hargrove managed the Orioles with one eye on the future, even when he knew his job was on the line. He should have gotten some kind of loyal employee award.

Instead, he got the boot while his whole coaching staff was retained. Hargrove deserved a lot better. Here's hoping he gets it somewhere else.

Patrick Smith Baltimore

Gibson left mark as a pro golfer, too

Although the recent article on the death of Althea Gibson ("Tennis star left legacy as pioneer," Sept. 29) paid fitting tribute to her as a trail-blazing African-American woman and a Hall of Fame tennis champion, it glossed over her career as a professional golfer.

Gibson first started hitting golf balls at a driving range while a student at Florida A&M (she graduated in 1953) in the late 1940s. Although it was tennis that monopolized her life in the 1950s, it was professional golf that attracted her in the 1960s.

It took more than a year, but she worked her way through the LPGA's qualifying process to earn her player's card. Once again, she was a pioneer as the tour's first African-American player.

Overall, she played 10 years, and in a time when the fields and the purses were small, her best season was 1967, when she earned $5,567.50 for 23rd on the money list.

Gibson brought the same style, mental and physical strength, and graciousness to the golf course she had displayed on the tennis court. They were attributes she maintained throughout her life.

John Stewart Baltimore

Vecsey and Preston simply tell it like it is

I guess that all those fans that complain about Sun columnists Laura Vecsey and Mike Preston are the same people who were happy when the Orioles abruptly dismissed Jon Miller - one of the best broadcasters in the business - because he wasn't a homer and tended to "tell it like it is."

I think Laura and Mike are exceptionally good sportswriters and see no need to get rid of them unless you prefer fiction writers instead.

Larry Wolf Baltimore

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