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06/20/07 1:15 PM ET
MacPhail joins Orioles front office
Former Cubs exec named president of baseball operations
By Geremy Bass / MLB.com
BALITMORE -- Just two days after dismissing manager Sam Perlozzo, Baltimore has begun the process of making a series of upper-level changes. The Orioles hired Andy MacPhail as its president of baseball operations on Wednesday. MacPhail, 54, who was a integral part of two World Series championships in Minnesota, will fill the position vacated last month when Joe Foss resigned to accept a position with a Baltimore-based developer of retirement communities. Foss' background was concentrated on business and finance, but MacPhail comes from a family of famed baseball minds and said he will be very involved with personnel moves and the final on-field product. "I'm absolutely responsible for baseball operations," MacPhail said in a press conference. "I like one voice. I like simplicity. I'm looking for all the help I can get, but at the end of the day, I have to believe that it's the right thing. I have to say, 'This is the best thing for the Baltimore Orioles.'" Much of the familiarity between MacPhail and Orioles' owner Peter Angelos stems from them working together on labor negotiations in 2002 and 2006. MacPhail said he spoke with Angelos on several occasions over the past few months, and was offered the position on Saturday. "Peter Angelos has entrusted me to run his baseball operations," he said. "I've known Peter since 2002 and I've never seen him do anything he didn't say he was going to do. I probably have the benefit of knowing Peter in a baseball context better than anyone in the game. I think Peter has a level of comfort with me as a human being and he's seen me in a different environment. I've always liked him and admired him." The close relationship with Angelos isn't the only tie MacPhail has with the city of Baltimore. MacPhail moved to Baltimore in 1958 when he was five and stayed for eight years while his father, Hall of Fame executive Lee MacPhail, ran the Orioles from 1958 to 1965. Lee is credited with building the Orioles' first title team in 1966, though he left for the New York Yankees before the 1966 season. MacPhail's grandfather, Larry, is also enshrined in the Hall of Fame for his contributions to the game, and the family has a road bearing its name in Bel Air, Md. "The first team I ever rooted for as a kid never leaves you," MacPhail said after he stepped away from the podium. "It's like your first kiss -- you always remember. This is what I want to do and this is what I want to focus on."
MacPhail began his baseball career as a Class A business manager in the Cubs organization and won World Series titles in 1987 and 1991 as executive vice president and general manager of the Twins. He then joined Chicago in 1994 as president and chief executive officer, and remained there until stepping down after last season. He was named Major League Executive of the Year by The Sporting News in 1991.
He was long considered a candidate to replace Bud Selig as commissioner, but he said he wants people to drop that subject, as he's focused on his new post.
MacPhail said his last team-building experience came with the Cubs, where he came into close contact with former manager Joe Girardi, who met with MacPhail and other Baltimore officials Tuesday in Chicago to discuss a managerial position. MacPhail explicitly denied that any offer was presented to Girardi.
The timetable for bring a new manager on board, MacPhail said, is still unknown, and he plans to conduct more interviews for the managerial position. And with the July 31 trade deadline only five weeks away, he said he has ample time to be an observer and decide what the Orioles need to change.
"What I'd like to achieve here, other than the obvious, win a lot of games and go to the World Series, is I think it's important to try to develop a team that has a character in it," MacPhail said. "The Orioles had their 'Oriole Way.' And we need to find ours."
MacPhail said the start of his vision for Baltimore future rests with the youthful starting pitchers who have performed brilliantly thus far, namely Jeremy Guthrie and Brian Burres.
"Given the current struggles that we're undergoing, it's going to be difficult," MacPhail said of a quick turnaround for the team. "The one constant that the Orioles have had periodically is that great nucleus of young starting pitching. If that holds up the way they've pitched to some degree this year, you may not be as far away as you think you are. I promise you, there are teams in baseball that would envy having the kind of arms you have here."
"I really think [Baltimore] has a great capability and there's been some great work that's been done here. It can be a great franchise. We're still going to be a little bit of David because we've got two Goliaths north of us. But baseball is cyclical. Things can turn around a little quicker than some people might imagine."
|"What I'd like to achieve here, other than the obvious, win a lot of games and go to the World Series, is I think it's important to try to develop a team that has a character in it. The Orioles had their 'Oriole Way.' And we need to find ours."|
|-- Andy MacPhail|
Geremy Bass is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.