ANALYSIS OF THE ORIOLES
The Orioles have superb pitchers and in-fielders and a hard-hitting catcher. Six of the pitchers qualify as solid starters. Steve Barber (10-7), the only left-hander in the group, relies on a burning fast ball. Hal Brown (12-5) had the best ERA (3.06), sharpest control (1.24 walks per game). Chuck Estrada (18-11) has excellent variety, keeps hitters jumping with occasional pitches that nose in near their rib casings. Jack Fisher has most "stuff." Milt Pappas (15-11) uses both fast ball and slider, is trying curve and change. Jerry Walker (3-4) is only one of the half dozen who didn't win in double figures; he's more of a spot pitcher than others. Infielders are both good field and good hit. Jim Gentile at first, Marv Breeding at second, Ron Hansen at short. Brooks Robinson at third, last year hit 60 home runs, drove in 315 runs. Catcher Gus Triandos is a genuine power hitter, a dependable receiver.
Mediocre hitting by outfielders, which was accentuated by loss of Gene Woodling in expansion draft. Center Fielder Jackie Brandt, the only sure regular, had best personal record last year for home runs (15) and RBIs (65), but worst for average (.254).
THE BIG IFS
Extreme youth, the bullpen. As desirable as it is to have good young players, a superabundance may be injurious—Barber, Fisher, Pappas and Walker are each 22; Estrada, Robinson and Hansen 23. At the other end
of the calendar is reliever Hoyt Wilhelm (37), oldest of the pitchers. Also available in the bullpen will be Gordon Jones, Billy Hoeft and Wes Stock. Hoeft's arm is sound again. He is one of the team's two lefties, may have to be used as a spot starter.
ROOKIES AND NEW FACES
Whitey Herzog and Russ Snyder were obtained from Kansas City. Neither is a distinguished hitter or outfielder but both will be used extensively. Catcher Hank Foiles, drafted from Detroit organization, will provide first-rate relief for Triandos. Rookie Infielder Jerry Adair and rookie Outfielder Earl Robinson (.275 with Spokane) have the best chances of making the squad.
The Orioles jelled in a hurry last year (three of the regular infielders and the team's best pitcher were rookies) and finished a surprisingly good second to the Yankees. It hardly seems possible that luck and talent will fuse as brilliantly this time around. No matter—this Baltimore club will be a power in the league for years to come.
CHUCK, BROOKS AND FLAKEY
In the coffee shop of the Hotel McAllister in Miami, where the youthful Baltimore Orioles trained, Pitchers Steve Barber and Chuck Estrada sat at a counter having breakfast. "I'll have orange juice, cereal and two fried eggs," said Estrada, 23, to the waitress. "Orange juice and two fried eggs for me," said Barber, a hard-throwing left-hander, 22.
"Coffee?" the waitress asked. "Milk for me," said Barber. "I'll have coffee," said Estrada. He winked at Barber. "This is a new year. I'm grown up."
In hotel lobbies and bus rides to games, in coffee lounges and dugout sessions, the Orioles talk about last season, when they finished a surprising second. Almost always, they end up talking about a series in September against the Yankees in New York, for there, in four ball games, the Orioles lost the pennant. They were .001 out of first place when the series started; then they lost all four games. The rest of the season didn't matter.
Every time the Orioles looked up during the four games, there was a base hit dropping in, a Yankee runner on base. Ground balls passed inches from fielders' hands; fly balls were misjudged and lost because of youthful overeagerness.
"We thought we were going to win it," Brooks Robinson said this spring. Brooks Robinson is 23. He was the third most valuable player in the league last year. He is young, and the memory of September doesn't depress him.
"We grew up then," he said. There was conviction in his voice. When the Yankees and the Orioles meet in their final games against each other this September, Brooks Robinson will be 24. Maybe he'll be most valuable player this time. Maybe this will be a glad September.
As Baltimore Outfielder Jackie Brandt stepped into the dugout he said to a newspaperman, "Hi there, Flakey."
"How's tricks, Flakey?" came the quick response.
"O.K., buddy. How's about a cigarette for an old friend?"
"That depends on who the old friend is," said the writer.
"Come on, Flakey, don't be chintzy." Brandt got his cigarette and a light.
"How's it feel?" asked the writer as Brandt looked at his bandaged thumb, which was operated on during the off season.
"Good, real good. Quit biting my nails, too." Brandt held out both hands for inspection. "Don't they look great? I even had them manicured the other day. Think it'll help my hitting?"
"Damned if I know," said the writer. "You're too flakey to figure."
"Who, me?" said Brandt as he walked to the water fountain, turned his cap around backward and took a drink. He turned the cap around again, put one foot on the second step of the dugout and looked out at the practice session. "Guess I better go," he sighed.
He took a long drag on his cigarette, but not without a farewell flourish. He reached around his head with his right arm, got his index and middle fingers on the cigarette and then blew out the smoke in a big puff. As he flipped away the cigarette he turned to the writer and said, "Goodby, Flakey."
"Goodby, Flakey," said the writer with a laugh and a shake of his head.
THE FRONT OFFICE
President Lee MacPhail, unlike father Larry, is mild, soft-spoken. Like his father, he is hard worker, gets results. Worked way up through minor league front offices, reached majors in 1949 as New York Yankees' farm director. Left Yanks in 1958 to take over Baltimore general-manager duties from Paul Richards (who continued as field manager), was named club president a year later. Consults Richards on all trades. Key assistant is alert, aggressive Harry Dalton, new chief of first-rate farm system, on which Orioles have spent $4.4 million since 1954. First big dividend came in 1960 when 10 farm-bred players made big league roster, contributed significantly to Orioles' rise to second place. Modern touch: club had FBI agents speak to scouts to show them how to uncover facts on prospects' attitude and potential.
THE BALL PARK
Located in one of city's better residential sections, big, handsome Memorial Stadium (49,375 capacity) is three miles (20 minutes by car if traffic light, 35 if congested) from center of town. Survey showed 82% of fans came by car last year. Traffic near stadium moves easily, parking is ample. Two lots next to stadium cost 50¢; at one across street just tip attendant. Fans take it easy going up steep "cardiac" ramps to upper deck, though long climb is worth it: view of game and city from the heights is novel and interesting. Specialty of this Maryland ball park is, naturally, crab cakes (35¢). Also on sale are jumbo hot dogs (35¢), pizza (65¢, $1). No beer sold at seats, so lines at beer counters get awfully long. Tremendous outfield (which used to put home runs at premium) has been modified last few seasons by moving fences in closer to home plate.
1960 TEAM PERFORMANCE
1960 INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES
RUNS BATTED IN