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Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Joe Altobelli dies: Rochester’s ‘Mr. Baseball’ led Orioles to last title

“I don’t think there’s another man that can say he’s been a player, coach, manager, GM and radio analyst in the long, proud history of (the International League),” Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason said in 2008, when Altobelli was inducted into the league Hall of Fame. “He was a hero in other towns ... but I love that he chose to live here and raise his family. And because of that, he’s our Mr. Baseball.”...

Altobelli led the Giants for three years then served as a coach for the New York Yankees for another three years before being tabbed as manager for the Baltimore Orioles in 1983, replacing the legendary Earl Weaver. He was chosen over Cal Ripken Sr., Weaver’s hand-picked choice and father of the team’s star shortstop.

If there was any doubt over the wisdom of the move, Altobelli quickly erased it. The Orioles won the World Series that year, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies.

“Winning a World Series is the pinnacle you reach as a manager,” Altobelli recalled in 2003. “It’s a rocking chair memory.”

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 10:13 AM | 14 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: joe altobelli, obituaries, orioles

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   1. Gazizza, my Dilznoofuses! Posted: March 03, 2021 at 10:23 AM (#6007384)
Most recent title. Not last. (I hope.)
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 10:41 AM (#6007385)
being tabbed as manager for the Baltimore Orioles in 1983, replacing the legendary Earl Weaver. He was chosen over Cal Ripken Sr., Weaver’s hand-picked choice and father of the team’s star shortstop.


So what's the story there? Altobelli seems like a rather unusual choice for a team that was a serious contender, especially if he was chosen over the preferred choice by the legendary manager and star player.
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 03, 2021 at 10:47 AM (#6007387)
RIP
   4. SoSH U at work Posted: March 03, 2021 at 10:59 AM (#6007390)

S So what's the story there? Altobelli seems like a rather unusual choice for a team that was a serious contender, especially if he was chosen over the preferred choice by the legendary manager and star player.


My wild guess would be management at the time wasn't comfortable with the manager having a son on the team (who wasn't the team's star when Altobelli was hired).
   5. Ron J Posted: March 03, 2021 at 12:00 PM (#6007402)
#2 He had a long association with the Orioles before moving to the Giants. 11 years coaching and managing in the organization. Including 6 years managing at AAA. They had a pretty good feeling as to what they were getting. 3 time IL manager of the year.

Also a completely different personality from Weaver and that often works well in the short term.
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 03, 2021 at 01:21 PM (#6007430)
IIRC, there were quite a few Orioles who wanted to win the World Series in Altobelli’s 1st season to show that their past success wasn’t due to Earl Weaver, who wasn’t that popular in the clubhouse at the time.
   7. Rally Posted: March 04, 2021 at 11:42 AM (#6007624)
My wild guess would be management at the time wasn't comfortable with the manager having a son on the team (who wasn't the team's star when Altobelli was hired).


If Cal Sr was the manager he would have played junior every day and never let any other kids play shortstop.
   8. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 04, 2021 at 11:57 AM (#6007627)
In Weaver's last few years his first time around, there was a popular T-shirt sold outside of Memorial Stadium that had his face framed by "THE EARL OF BALTIMORE".

Towards the end of the 1983 season, when the O's were slowly pulling away with the AL East, another T-shirt appeared, with Altobelli's face being framed by "THE JOE OF BALTIMO'".

Good guy, but there was only one Earl.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 04, 2021 at 12:05 PM (#6007628)
I remember in the late 80s, my dad always saying "why won't anyone give Joe Altobelli another shot??? He won a title in Baltimore!"

I see he was fired in '85 and replaced by Earl. Was this Earl just wanting to come back, or did Earl come back because they were dissatisfied with Joe? And why didn't he ever get another managerial job?
   10. SoSH U at work Posted: March 04, 2021 at 01:19 PM (#6007641)
I see he was fired in '85 and replaced by Earl. Was this Earl just wanting to come back, or did Earl come back because they were dissatisfied with Joe? And why didn't he ever get another managerial job?


Your dad had a point. It's not like Earl turned things around. He did about the same over the remainder of 1985, then the club tanked in 86.

His Giants tenure doesn't look like a mark against him, given the surprisingly good season in the middle of his run.
   11. The Yankee Clapper Posted: March 04, 2021 at 01:47 PM (#6007642)
Was this Earl just wanting to come back, or did Earl come back because they were dissatisfied with Joe?
Then Orioles owner Edward Bennett Williams reportedly enticed Weaver out of retirement for big bucks. Williams had a thing with big name coaches (Otto Graham, Vince Lombardi & George Allen) when he ran the Washington Redskins, too.
   12. Itchy Row Posted: March 04, 2021 at 05:50 PM (#6007686)
Altobelli managed the Cubs for one game (a matchup of former Cy Young winners) after they fired Don Zimmer and before they hired Jim Essian. Now Jim Essian- that's a guy who didn't deserve another managerial job.
   13. Ron J Posted: March 05, 2021 at 01:35 AM (#6007715)
#9 After the Championship expectations were high and not being met.

Reasonably clear that Weaver wasn't really that interested in coming back though.

I'd say that Altobelli didn't have (prime) Weaver's ruthlessness and was slow to cut ties with aging veterans who had lost it (Singleton in particular -- who went from pretty good to awful to retired in a hurry but got 400 dreadful PAs. Not that many managers would have given up on him quickly). And didn't handle the Dennis Martinez situation very well (neither did Weaver when he cam back -- but Weaver just didn't have the same intensity in his second stint)

Fair or not, I think Altobelli got the rep as being too nice a guy to make the tough calls.
   14. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: March 05, 2021 at 09:49 AM (#6007728)
It's not like Earl turned things around. He did about the same over the remainder of 1985, then the club tanked in 86.

Believe it or not, the '86 O's were thick in the fight until early August. On the morning of August 6th, they were 59-47 and only 2.5 games behind the Red Sox, after being 10 GB just 3 weeks earlier.

Then reality set in. For the rest of the season they were 14-42 and went from 2nd to 7th, having been outscored by 99 runs over that stretch. Weaver saw the writing on the wall like everyone else, and he wanted no part of what he knew was coming. Hard to blame him for that.

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