A career Oriole as a player, Rich Dauer still follows the team on a daily basis.
Now a now third-base coach for the Colorado Rockies, Dauer watched several of his former teammates from the 1983 World Championship team get inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame one by one, quietly hoping some day he might join them.
“I’ve been following the Orioles now since 1985 when I left, and I’ve always been an Oriole,” Dauer said. "That’s where I grew up. I see all my friends getting into the Hall of Fame, well-deserved I might add. I’m just thinking maybe some day. I didn’t plan on it. And then when they called and they said they were the Oriole Advocates, I was like, ‘Nah.’”
Dauer will be inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame before Saturday’s game against the Blue Jays at Camden Yards, along with former ace Mike Mussina and the late scout Walter Youse.
Dauer will be the 12th member of the ’83 team to be inducted.
“It’s probably better now that I was put in, because now I can use it to motivate my players,” Dauer said. “When I told them I was going into the Orioles Hall of Fame, half of them came up to me and told me they were so surprised that I made it. The other half said, ‘Maybe we’ll listen to you once or twice.’”
Dauer, a first-round pick of the Orioles in 1974, played his entire 10-year career with the O's. He set a pair of AL single-season fielding records for second basemen – 86 straight errorless games and 425 straight errorless changes – in 1978. He also played for the Orioles’ 1979 AL Championship team.
“My whole goal in life was to play one day in the big leagues,” Dauer said. “Now to come back and to be put in the Hall of Fame of the only team you played with all the guys you played with, it’s really special. Like I said, I grew up there. I came here very young and immature and very cocky and I left here maybe a little bit older and stuff like that. It was always a goal of mine to get back here.”
Even though he wears a different uniform, Dauer said he’s still keeping an eye on the Orioles and is following their unlikely pennant chase.
“I follow them every day,” Dauer said. “I know exactly what they do. I watch SportsCenter every night and I wait for the scores for everybody. … Every team in baseball goes to spring training with the idea that they’re going to play in the postseason. Sixty percent of them don’t have a chance, because the Yankees are going to get there.
“Baltimore hasn’t been there in a long time and they’re playing probably the best kind of baseball you can play. One-run games, that’s how you win championships. Defense, pitching. One night it’s one thing, another night it’s another thing. They’re in a tough division and it’s going to be very difficult but the extra wild card really makes it exciting.”