They’ve finally found their man. Er, a man.
According to Baltimore sports reporter Jen Royle, the Orioles have officially hired Dan Duqette to be their next general manager and will introduce him at a press conference Tuesday at Camden Yards.
Duquette served as the Expos’ general manager from 1992-1994 before taking the same position with the Red Sox for eight seasons. He’s been out of baseball since 2002, but the 53-year-old has a background in scouting and player development, and he boasts a strong resume that includes many successful drafts.
The Orioles won’t be able to escape the fact that they were turned down by multiple candidates before settling on Duquette, but he’s a fine fit for the role and will succeed if given the right resources.
Duquette’s primary challenge will be to turn around a Baltimore pitching staff that registered a league-worst 4.89 ERA this past season. The 29th-ranked Twins pitching staff had a 4.58 team ERA.
As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.
The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.
Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.
Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.
The Cleveland Indians will unveil a Frank Robinson statue at Progressive Field on Saturday.
Robinson’s tenure in Cleveland was not long, but it was historic. On April 8, 1975, he became the first African-American manager in Major League history. He was a player-manager. One of the last ones, in fact. He spent two years in that role and then a third year — a partial year anyway — as a manager only. Robinson would go on to manage the Giants, Orioles and the Expos/Nationals, compiling a career record of 1065-1176 in 16 seasons. He is now a top MLB executive.
Robinson was, of course, a Hall of Fame player as well, lodging 21 seasons for the Reds, Orioles, Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He won two MVP awards and hit for the Triple Crown in 1966. Overall he hit 586 home runs – 10th all time – and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982. For an inner-circle Hall of Famer with that kind of resume he is still, strangely enough, underrated. I guess that happens when your contemporaries are Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Mickey Mantle.
Anyway, congrats to Frank Robinson for yet another well-deserved honor in a career full of them.