Arms And The Man

April 18, 2004

DIED Of colon cancer, former major league pitcher, pitching coach
and manager George Bamberger, 80. As the Orioles' pitching coach
from 1968 to '77, Bamberger mentored 18 20-game winners,
including four in '71. Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, who won 20 games
for Bamberger seven times, remembers him.

George had flawless mechanics. If I ever got out of sync, I used
to visualize him throwing batting practice. But with us--his
"boys"--he didn't preach mechanics. He had a sixth sense of what
a pitcher needed to be better, and he knew it could be different
for each guy. There were a few hard rules, but everybody was
unique, and he understood that. George's great strength was he
didn't overcoach. There's no place for panic on the mound. Teams
mirror their coaches, and George was unflappable. Remember that
he was a coach for Earl Weaver, who could drive you crazy. George
was almost deaf in his right ear, and he used to sit to Earl's
left. Once someone asked how he put up with Weaver's histrionics.
George said, "Huh?" It was the perfect answer, and theirs was the
perfect marriage. Earl would say bizarre things, like asking
George to go to the mound to tell Dave McNally to either throw
the ball harder or make it curve more. Later I said, "George, you
didn't really tell him that, did you?" He said, "No, we talked
about golf."

Bambi was unassuming, a guy from Staten Island with the accent to
boot. One winter when I lived in Baltimore, I bought a house, and
he helped me put in a storage area. He was a master wood
craftsman. He didn't have to, but there he was, putting in
ceiling tiles with me. And that's what made him a great coach: He
knew what you needed on and off the field.

B/W PHOTO: JPK/AP (BAMBERGER AND PALMER) COOL COUNSELOR Bamberger (with Palmer in 1969 and as Brewers manager in '79) was Weaver's antithesis.
COLOR PHOTO: JERRY WACHTER (SI COVER) [See caption above]

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)