Sports Outside the Beltway

Bucky Showalter named new Manager of the Baltimore Orioles

He replaces Interim Manager Juan Samuel. From ESPN-

Buck Showalter was hired to manage the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday, his latest rebuilding project in a major league career full of them.

Showalter’s first game will be Tuesday night at Camden Yards against the Los Angeles Angels.

Baltimore had the worst record in the majors at 31-70 going into Thursday night against the Kansas City Royals and is headed toward its 13th straight losing season. The Orioles fired manager Dave Trembley on June 4 and replaced him on an interim basis with Juan Samuel.

“Buck Showalter’s proven track record makes him the right choice for manager of the Orioles,” president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said in a statement. “We believe Buck’s extensive experience and expertise will be a major benefit to us as we look towards a more successful future.”

Samuel will return to his job as the team’s third-base coach. Baltimore went 16-31 with him in charge.

While I’ve always liked Showalter since his days as Skipper of the Fort Lauderdale Yankees, it will take a lot more than a good manager to reverse Baltimore’s fortunes.


Hall of Famer Pitcher Robin Roberts dead at 83

He won 286 games pitching for the Phillies when the franchise was mediocre or worse most of the time. Roberts gave up more homeruns than any pitcher in baseball history. Basically he challenged hitters to hit him but Roberts was one of those pitchers(Catfish Hunter, Tom Seaver, Jack Morris) who could do it and win even if some of them were home run prone. Roberts served in the Air Force and attended Michigan State before his pro baseball days. After he was through playing, Roberts was head baseball coach at the University of South Florida. RIP.

Philadelphia Phillie trivia- Who is the only Phillie pitcher since 1930 to win the National League MVP award? It is not Roberts. The answer will be at the bottom of this post.Robin Roberts

Long before pitch counts, setup men and closers, Robin Roberts usually finished what he started.

Roberts, the tireless Hall of Fame pitcher who led the Philadelphia Phillies to the 1950 National League pennant as part of the famed “Whiz Kids,” died Thursday at his Temple Terrace, Fla., home of natural causes, the Phillies said, citing son Jim. He was 83.

“He was a boyhood hero of mine,” team president David Montgomery said. “Then I had a chance to meet him personally. I remember pinching myself knowing I was talking to Robin Roberts. His career and stats speak for themselves. But first and foremost he was a friend and we’ll miss him badly.”

The right-hander was the most productive pitcher in the National League in the first half of the 1950s, topping the league in wins from 1952 to 1955, innings pitched from ’51 to ’55 and complete games from ’52 to ’56.

He won 286 games and put together six consecutive 20-win seasons. Roberts had 45 career shutouts, 2,357 strikeouts and a lifetime ERA of 3.41. He pitched 305 complete games, but also gave up more home runs than any other major league pitcher. Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer is on the verge of breaking that mark. The 47-year-old Moyer has given up 498 homers, seven fewer than Roberts.

Roberts played in an era when pitchers expected to go the distance. Put it this way: In the past 25 years, Phillies pitchers threw a total of 300 complete games — five fewer than Roberts all by himself. Roberts made 609 career starts, finishing more than half.

“Robin was one of the most consistent, competitive and durable pitchers of his generation and a symbol of the Whiz Kids,” commissioner Bud Selig said. “Robin truly loved baseball and always had its best interests at heart.”

Long after his career ended, Roberts followed the Phillies closely and was still popular in Philadelphia, drawing boisterous applause from fans each time he came back.


Former Cy Young winner Mike Cuellar dead at 72

I remember Cuellar very well. He was the ace of the 1969 Baltimore Orioles pitching staff that faced off in Games 1* and 5 against my favorite team, the New York Mets. Do I really have to recall what happened in that World Series?Mike Cuellar

Cuellar was dominating then. A left-handed screwball pitcher. He was tougher on righty batters than lefties, or at least Cuellar was in 1969. Cuellar was a mainstay of the Orioles pitching staffs from 1969 to 1974. He ended his Baltimore career with subpar years in 75 and 76 and apparently complained to manager Earl Weaver. Weaver replied “I gave Mike Cuellar more chances than my first wife.” Cuellar was a very good pitcher(but not strong enough for the who ended his career in 1977 with the California Angels and tallied 185 career victories. RIP.

*- Cuellar made his first WS appearance in 1969. He was on the roster(along with NY Met Ron Taylor who also pitched in Game 1) of the 1964 World Champion St. Louis Cardinals. Cuellar didn’t appear in the post season that year.

Mike Cuellar, a crafty left-hander from Cuba whose darting screwball made him a World Series champion and Cy Young Award winner with the Baltimore Orioles, died Friday. He was 72.

The Orioles confirmed Cuellar’s death, but did not release other details. According to The Baltimore Sun, Cuellar died of stomach cancer at Orlando Regional Medical Center in Florida.

Cuellar made his major league debut in 1959 and bounced around Cincinnati, St. Louis and Houston for almost a decade before a trade sent him to Baltimore. Wearing the black-and-orange bird logo, he blossomed as part of one of the most imposing pitching staffs in baseball history — in 1971, he was among the Orioles’ four 20-game winners.

A four-time All-Star, Cuellar was 185-130 overall with a 3.14 ERA. He was voted into the Orioles’ Hall of Fame.

“He sure was an ace,” Hall of Fame teammate Brooks Robinson told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Friday night. “He had a way of making good hitters look bad, making them take funny swings.”

Cuellar joined the Orioles in 1969, and that year became the first Baltimore pitcher to win the AL Cy Young Award, sharing the honor with Detroit’s Denny McLain.

Cuellar went 23-11 with five shutouts that season, including a game in which he held Minnesota hitless until Cesar Tovar’s soft, leadoff single in the ninth inning.

Cuellar helped pitch Baltimore to three straight World Series appearances from 1969 to 1971. He finished off that run by teaming with Jim Palmer, Dave McNally and Pat Dobson to become the only staff other than the 1920 Chicago White Sox with a quartet of 20-game winners.


Former MLB Pitcher Billy Hoeft dead at 77

He won 20 games for the 1956 Detroit Tigers and once was selected for the All-Star game. RBilly HoeftIP.

From Baseball Library- Hoeft was a mainstay in the Tigers starting rotation in the 1950s, then embarked on a second career as an itinerant lefthanded reliever, changing teams six times between 1959 and 1966. He spent most of his rookie season in the Detroit bullpen, then struggled as a starter in 1953-54, winning only 16 games over the two seasons. In 1955 Hoeft was still only Detroit’s third starter in terms of starts and innings, but he led the AL with seven shutouts on his way to a 16-7, 2.99 record and a spot on the AL All-Star team. In 1956 Hoeft became the first Tiger lefthander since Hal Newhouser to win 20 games, posting a 20-14 mark, but after mediocre seasons in 1957-58, Hoeft returned to the bullpen for the balance of his career.

He was traded to the Red Sox for Ted Lepcio and Dave Sisler in May, 1959, then shipped to Baltimore for Jack Harshman six weeks later. Hoeft enjoyed his best seasons in relief with the Orioles, recording a 2.02 ERA in 1961 and four wins plus seven saves in 1962, then was traded to the Giants and later to the Braves, spending single seasons with each club. On July 14, 1957 Hoeft hit two of his three career home runs.


Baltimore Oriole pitcher injures arm filming promotional spot

The lamest excuse for a baseball injury so far in 2010. From AP-

The Baltimore Orioles have instituted a new policy regarding commercial shoots after right-hander Brad Bergesen hurt his shoulder filming a promotional spot in December.

Bergesen strained his right shoulder while performing in a commercial promoting Baltimore’s 2010 season. He will see limited action for a week to 10 days after the Orioles pitchers and catchers begin workouts Thursday.

Bergesen had his rookie season cut short last year after being hit in the shin by a line drive on July 30. The right-hander had not thrown off a mound from August until the commercial shoot, and he hurt himself by throwing too hard.

Bergesen is expected to be ready before the start of this season. What happened to this pitcher reminds me of how Jose Canseco suffered a shoulder injury from pitching one inning in a losing Oakland A game. Pitching arms can get injured very easily at times.


Former MLB Outfielder Curt Motton dead at 69

I remember Motton but not due to my watching him play. For one thing he was an American Leaguer and I was a NY Met fan. Sometimes I watched the Yankees on WPIX, but not all that often and Motton was a utility player who didn’t play all that much. His most prolific year was 1968 when he had 218 at-bats.

Why I recall Motton is because at Christmas in 1970 or 1971, I got a game called ‘Gil Hodges Pennant Fever‘. For a few years I played many games, mostly with the 69 NY Mets which GHPF attempted to recreate, but sometimes with the Baltimore Orioles. I used Motton as my primary pinch hitter and still remember that 35 plus years later. RIP.

Former Baltimore Orioles outfield Curt Motton has died after a long battle with stomach cancer.

Motton died Thursday at his Parkton home. He was 69.

Motton played for the Orioles from 1967-71, when he was traded to Milwaukee. He returned to Baltimore in 1973, and finished his playing career in 1974.

Motton also served as a bench coach for the team in 1991.


Miguel Tejada signs 1-year contract with Baltimore Orioles

The deal is contingent on Tejada passing a physical. From ESPN-

Miguel Tejada will return to Baltimore after agreeing to a one-year, $6 million deal with the Orioles, the slugger told’s Enrique Rojas on Saturday.

The free agent shortstop played in Baltimore from 2004-07, before being traded to the Houston Astros in December 2007 for five players.

The deal includes around $1 million in incentives for playing time registered, Tejada said.

“I am happy to return to Baltimore, it’s like my home,” Tejada told Rojas. “We have great young talent, and I think many good things could happen with the club in 2010.”

Tejada is being slated to play third base, a position he has never played in the major leagues. I think that’s the riskiest part of this signing for Baltimore. There is no way of knowing if Tejada can make the conversion.


Texas Rangers trade P Kevin Millwood to Baltimore

Baseball’s winter meetings are under way and that means it is trade time. From ESPN-

The Texas Rangers have traded veteran starting pitcher Kevin Millwood and $3 million to the Baltimore Orioles for reliever Chris Ray and a player to be named later, the club announced Wednesday.


Millwood, who turns 35 later this month, earned that vested option after pitching more than 180 innings in 2009. He was 13-10 with a 3.67 ERA in 198 2/3 innings pitched. He did have lower back and gluteus muscle soreness in September but returned to finish the season.


Ray was a former closer for the Orioles before surgery to repair ligament damage in his right elbow set him back. He was 0-4 with a 7.27 ERA in 46 appearances in 2009. Ray, 27, has 49 career saves for the Orioles. Ray’s best season was 2006, when he sported a 2.73 ERA and had 33 saves.

Texas made this trade strictly for financial reasons. Acquiring Ray in light of recent health and performance. The worth of Millwood to the Orioles, who will be his fifth MLB team, isn’t likely to be a whole lot more in light of Millwood’s age and lack of durability. This could end up as a nothing for nothing deal.


Milwaukee Brewers release reliever Jorge Julio

This takes place the day after the Florida Marlins shell the veteran righty. From AP-

The Milwaukee Brewers made big changes to their thin bullpen on Tuesday.

One day after reliever Jorge Julio allowed five runs while facing six batters in the sixth inning of Milwaukee’s 7-4 loss to the Florida Marlins, the Brewers released the right-hander.

Julio entered Monday night’s game in Miami with Milwaukee leading 4-2. He gave up two hits, hit two batters, walked one and another reached on an error. Signed to a one-year, $950,000 deal in the offseason, Julio was let go Tuesday after going 1-1 with a 7.79 ERA in 15 appearances.

The Brewers called up right-hander Mike Burns from Triple-A Nashville. Burns was 6-2 with a 2.98 ERA for the Sounds.

Milwaukee’s manager says the bullpen is thin. Which it is, particularly after David Riske was lost for the season after elbow surgery.

Julio, who has played for eight ML teams since 2001, throws very hard. Something baseball managers like. I expect a ninth team to take a chance on him before the 2009 season is over. Perhaps even by the 4th of July.


Philadelphia Phillie Lefty Jamie Moyer wins his 250th game

He keeps going at the age of 46. From AP-

Jamie Moyer reached a rare mark for a pitcher, becoming the 44th to win 250 games. The veteran Phillies left-hander would have been just as happy if it was his first.

Moyer went six strong innings to lead the Phillies to their third straight victory, 4-2 over the bumbling Washington Nationals on Sunday.

The 46-year-old Moyer is only the 11th left-hander to join the exclusive 250-win list. And despite his teammates’ postgame champagne toast, Moyer’s words lacked the excitement one might expect after such a rare achievement.

“It’s not about the personal things, I’m more excited about us winning,” Moyer said. “I really haven’t thought about [winning 250]. It takes so much effort to prepare and play. I was taught to play the game as a team, not as an individual. When you play 20-some years, some of these things can happen.”

Moyer has been in the majors for twenty-three seasons and has played for seven different teams. He has owned the Florida Marlins. He is 10-1 against them lifetime.

I doubt Moyer will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame after his career is over. Left handers Jim Kaat and Tommy John have more wins and haven’t made it to Cooperstown.


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