Roch around the clock


The Kickoff

May 26, 2006|By ROCH KUBATKO

Former third baseman Doug DeCinces and catcher Chris Hoiles will be inducted into the Orioles' Hall of Fame before the Aug. 26 game against Tampa Bay.

Trainers Eddie Weidner and Ralph Salvon will be honored posthumously as recipients of the Herb Armstrong Award for non-uniformed personnel.

DeCinces played with the Orioles from 1973 to 1981. He took over for Brooks Robinson in 1976 -- tough gig -- and didn't really win over fans until hitting a game-winning home run on June 22, 1979 at Memorial Stadium that is widely credited with starting Orioles Magic.

I remember listening to that game on radio. Chuck Thompson, Bill O'Donnell and Charley Eckman were in the booth. I don't know which one yelled loudest. Thompson interrupted O'Donnell's call with one word -- "gone" -- as the ball cleared the fence, and O'Donnell kept repeating "home run, home run, home run." Eckman chimed in with, "This ballclub does everything it has to do."

I can still hear O'Donnell screaming, "Every Oriole is at the plate. Every Oriole is at the plate," as DeCinces was being mobbed by teammates. At one point, he asked, "Can you believe it?"

There were plenty of unbelievable moments that season. And as a young fan whose mood swung depending on whether the Orioles won or lost, I used to tape the post-game highlights by holding a microphone to the radio that was attached to an old recorder. (I hope that wasn't a violation of MLB rules). I still have the homemade cassette.

The day after DeCinces' homer, Eddie Murray went deep in the ninth to win Game 1 of a doubleheader. Thompson just let the crowd noise fill the airwaves, not saying a word, before pointing out how the scoreboard was flashing "Eddie, Eddie, Eddie." Murray came out of the dugout for a curtain call.

"And there he is," Thompson yelled. You could feel the stadium shaking from your living room. Sort of like Camden Yards when the Red Sox are in town.

Hoiles will forever rank as one of my all-time favorite players that I covered on the beat. "Tractor Man" was always available, always friendly. Just a regular guy who you could easily imagine showing up at your Super Bowl party with a case of beer and some munchies. And not that imported stuff, either. Not Hoiles.

Anyone remember the player that the Orioles traded to get Hoiles in 1988? No fair looking it up.

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