BALTIMORE ORIOLES

People have just about forgotten that the Baltimore Orioles used to be the St. Louis Browns, so far up the ladder of respectability have the Orioles climbed. They finished within a half game of the first division last season, and they have hopes of reaching that promised land this year
April 14, 1958

THE MANAGER

Paul Richards (12) is a lean, intense man who almost never smiles and who talks only when he feels like it. His attention is wholly concentrated on one aspect or another of baseball, which to him is more than a game or a business. It is life. Richards is a constant teacher. Saddled with weak material, he has had to develop borderline players into bona fide major leaguers. He has been remarkably successful; his teams constantly improve, and although he has never finished higher than third, he is considered one of the finest of all major league managers. His big coaching staff includes Jimmy Adair (45), Harry Brecheen (31), Luman Harris (26), Eddie Robinson (37) and Al Vincent (30).

ANALYSIS OF THIS YEAR'S ORIOLES

STRONG POINTS: The airtight Oriole defense and the sound, if unspectacular, pitching staff are Paul Richards' long suits. The Orioles scored few runs last year (second lowest total in the league), but they made almost no mistakes on the mound or in the field and that kept opponents' scoring to a minimum (nine runs less than the Orioles over the season). Percentage-wise, the fifth-place Orioles were second in defense and third in pitching. Their style of play was the old-fashioned 1-0, 2-1, close-to-the vest method of the New York Giants of 1933 (who owned a rookie catcher named Paul Richards). This season, now, the Orioles added an honest-to-goodness power hitter, name of Larry Doby, and watched him perform through Spring training. Then, apparently deciding to stay with the close-to-the-vest system, they dealt him off to Cleveland for a little more pitching (Buddy Dailey), a little more defense (Dick Williams) and Gene Woodling, a high average hitter with good power, but neither as much of a home run threat as Doby nor even as good a fielder. Lesser known Oriole players who contribute much to the team's success are alert Billy Gardner at second, Cuban Willie Miranda at short, singles hitter Bob Boyd at first, stylish Al Pilarcik and aggressive Bob Nieman in the outfield, huge Gus Triandos and hard-working Joe Ginsberg behind the plate. The steady starting pitchers (like Connie Johnson and Billy Loes) are backed up by George Zuverink, whose good sinker makes him one of the most reliable relief pitchers in the major leagues.

WEAK SPOTS: The feeble Oriole offense is the most serious flaw in this otherwise nicely balanced team. Woodling's bat will help, but the Orioles are not likely to crush anybody to death with runs. There is a slightly shaky situation on the left side of the infield, where Brooks Robinson, who is still really in the rookie stage, will be entrusted with third base and where 19-year-old Ron Hansen may share the shortstopping with Willie Miranda, whose batting percentage is unbelievably miniscule. Boyd, the regular first baseman, hit .318, fourth highest average in the league, but he batted in only 34 runs. Too, he has a very edgy arm that had him on the disabled list in 1956 and which handicaps him in the field.

ROOKIES AND NEW FACES: Woodling was with the Orioles for a while a few years ago. Though not tall, he is a square shouldered rock of a man with great strength and a 1957 batting average (.321) that was bettered in the American League only by Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle. Dick Williams is a versatile spark plug, and Dailey a good relief pitcher. Harshman, a left-handed speedballer, has an ailing back, but he appeared healthy enough in spring training to be a regular starter. Rookie Ronnie Hansen, only 19, is a tall, rangy shortstop of the Marty Marion class. He really needs a little more seasoning in the minors, but he is such a smart-looking ballplayer he might just edge little Willie Miranda to the bench. Jim Marshall, a 30-homer-a-year man on the Pacific Coast, is up for another try at the big leagues. He's a first-rate fielding first baseman as well as a big hitter. Infielder Foster Castleman, purchased from the Giants, has limited range in the field but hits a ball well.

THE BIG IFS: The Orioles are an odd team. With one exception, they possess no real question marks, no erratic players who might flash sudden brilliance or else fall completely apart. Just about every position is adequately, though not brilliantly, protected. The exception is third base, where the highly promising Brooks Robinson has replaced the retired George Kell. Robinson is cast in the mold of the great player, but he is as yet very much an unknown quantity. If he fails, it will hurt.

THE VOICES

Ernie Harwell (40, easy going) once dreamed of a big league career while playing alongside Marty Marion for the Northside Terrors American Legion team in Atlanta. Realizing he couldn't make it as a ballplayer, he turned to announcing. After four years in the Marines, he came back to Atlanta to do the Crackers broadcasts. In 1948, the Atlanta owner agreed to let him go to Brooklyn if the Dodgers would send Atlanta a manager. That done, Harwell became a major league announcer. He went to the Dodgers and then to the New York Giants and then in 1954 to Baltimore. Knowledgeable (he owns a large baseball library) and versatile (he writes for magazines), Harwell has a pleasing, slightly southern cast to his voice. He is one of the best of all play-by-play announcers, HERB CARNEAL (33, thorough) began his mike career in his home town of Richmond, Va. From there he moved on to Philadelphia to do the old Athletics and the Phillies before coming to Baltimore to join Harwell last year.

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PHOTOBILLY GARDNER PHOTOBOB BOYD PHOTOGUS TRIANDOS PHOTOBOB NIEMAN PHOTOGENE WOODLING PHOTOBROOKS ROBINSON PHOTOAL PILARCIK PHOTOWILLIE MIRANDA PHOTOCONNIE JOHNSON PHOTOGEORGE ZUVERINK PHOTOBILLY LOES PHOTOJACK HARSHMAN PHOTOERNIE HARWELL ILLUSTRATION PHOTO

THE OUTLOOK: The Orioles are stronger because of acquisition of Woodling, but weaker because of the retirement of the classy, dependable George Kell. The pitching, despite the departure of Ray Moore and the arrival of Harshman, appears to be of about the same quality. The infield loses hitting, with Kell and Billy Goodman gone, but defensively it remains fully as sound. Because Richards sees to it that his players are improved each year, the Orioles should be a better team this season, but stiffer competition in the league should leave their won-and-lost record about the same.

BASIC ROSTER

no.

player

position

1957 record

1

Bob Boyd

1B

.318

2

Al Pilarcik

RF

.278

3

Ron Hansen

SS

minors

4

Bob Nieman

LF

.276

5

Brooks Robinson

3B

.239

7

Willie Miranda

SS

.194

8

Foster Castleman

IF

minors

9

Billy Gardner

2B

.262

11

Gus Triandos

C

.254

14

Gene Woodling

OF

.321

22

Joe Ginsberg

C

.274

33

Jim Busby

OF

.238

44

Jim Marshall

1B

minors

18

Billy Loes

P

12-7

28

Hal Brown

P

7-8

29

Jack Harshman

P

8-8

35

George Zuverink

P

10-6

36

Connie Johnson

P

14-11

39

Ken Lehman

P

8-3

41

Billy O'Dell

P

4-10

PAST PERFORMANCE CHART TEAM

year

finished

won

fost

games behind

1957

5

76

76

21

1956

6

69

85

23

1955

7

57

97

39

1954

7

54

100

57

1953

8

54

100

46½

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

batting

pitching

1957

Boyd

.318

Johnson

14-11

1956

Nieman

.320

Moore

12-7

1955

Philley

.299

Wilson

12-18

1954

Abrams

.293

Turley

14-15

1953

Wertz

.268

Larsen

7-12

home runs

runs batted in

1957

Triandos

19

Triandos

72

1956

Triandos

21

Triandos

88

1955

Triandos

12

Triandos

65

1954

Stephens

8

Stephens

46

1953

Wertz

19

Wertz

70

HOME SCHEDULE

APRIL

WASHINGTON

15, 17*

NEW YORK

25*, 26, 27, 27

CHICAGO

29*, 30*

MAY

CHICAGO

1*

CLEVELAND

2*, 3

DETROIT

4, 4, 5*

KANSAS CITY

6*, 7*

BOSTON

9*, 10, 11, 11, 30, 30

WASHINGTON

31*

JUNE

WASHINGTON

1, 2*

DETROIT

3*, 4*, 5*

KANSAS CITY

6*, 7, 8, 8

CLEVELAND

9*, 10*, 11*, 12*-

CHICAGO

13*, 14, 15

JULY

NEW YORK

1*, 2

KANSAS CITY

10*, 11*, 12

DETROIT

13, 14

CHICAGO

15*, 16*, 17*

CLEVELAND

18*, 19*, 20

AUGUST

NEW YORK

5*, 6*

BOSTON

13*

WASHINGTON

15*, 16*, 17

KANSAS CITY

19*, 20*

DETROIT

21*, 22*, 23

CHICAGO

24, 25*

CLEVELAND

26*, 27*

SEPTEMBER

BOSTON

4*, 5*, 6*, 7

NEW YORK

19*, 20, 21

WASHINGTON

22*, 23*, 24*

*Night game

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)