At 5-9, Perlozzo a good fit for job

AL notebook

Baseball Week

August 14, 2005

It's a tall order for Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo to return this struggling franchise to past dominance.

But baseball history shows diminutive guys can reach managerial heights.

Perlozzo is 5 feet 9 "when I've got my high shoes on." In the world of successful managing, though, height is not a prerequisite. Of the 25 winningest managers in baseball history, 18 are listed at under 6 feet. And eight - nearly a third - were 5-9 or shorter.

That includes Earl Weaver, the most successful manager in modern Orioles history. The National Baseball Hall of Fame lists the fiery Weaver at 5-7.

Perlozzo laughed when hearing the stats.

"It doesn't surprise me because the little guys ... can't make mistakes, they have to study the game, they have to know the game," said Perlozzo, who had 26 major league at-bats in nine professional seasons. "I had to scrap and scrape for everything I got because I wasn't as talented as the big, stronger guys. Maybe the little guys have to pay a little more attention."

How much have little men dominated the manager ranks over the years? Consider some of the best were nicknamed Sparky, Mighty Mite and Little Napoleon.

Connie Mack, the all-time wins leader with 3,731, was known in his day as the "Tall Tactician." And the guy was just 6-1. (Admittedly, he was only 150 pounds, so perhaps he looked taller.)

The tallest managers in the top 25 are Walter Alston, Joe Torre and Lou Piniella, all listed at 6-2. The shortest is the New York Yankees' Miller Huggins, who was listed between 5-4 and 5-6.

Maybe the Orioles, led by executive vice president Jim Beattie (6-6) and vice president Mike Flanagan (6-0), have started a new trend by naming Perlozzo. The Orioles haven't had a manager shorter than 6 feet since 5-11 Johnny Oates in 1994.

Pavano's heist

Remember when everyone around here was upset that Carl Pavano didn't take owner Peter Angelos' bucks and instead signed with the Yankees for four years and $39.95 million? Never mind, now.

Pavano had two doctors look at his ailing right shoulder and both agreed that he had rotator cuff tendinitis. He'll rest six weeks before pitching again. His season likely ends with a 4-6 record and a 4.77 ERA in 17 starts.

"The season's going to run out, probably, before he can get where he needs to get," said general manager Brian Cashman.

Best rivalry

Forget about the Yankees and Boston Red Sox, the best rivalry this season is between the Oakland Athletics and Los Angeles Angels. The American League West rivals are tied for first place in the only division race worth watching. The A's have won seven of 12 meetings, but have been outscored in those games 47-37.

They face each other seven more times.

Quick hits

Yankees right-hander Jaret Wright hit 96 mph in a rehabilitation start ... The Texas Rangers are still interested in re-signing left-hander Kenny Rogers, despite his distaste for cameras ... Look for rookie right-hander Bobby Jenks to take over the closer role for the Chicago White Sox if Dustin Hermanson's back problems continue.

League notebooks are compiled from interviews, wire services and reports from other newspapers.

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