and it was getting to be that time that we might need to start to retool,” Hargrove replied. “But a lot of the young players we got in return ended up getting injured. It was a process that got bogged down because of that.”
Hargrove remembers going to the Orioles front office and saying that if this success did not continue, that he advised the team be built back from the ground up again.
“The club I had in 2000 had some really good players,” he said. “There were a lot of guys that were older…it was an older ball-club. I remember going to Syd Thrift, and I told him at the time that if this thing looked like it wasn’t going to work at the All-Star break, then we needed to look at trading some of our veteran players and getting good young players back and try to infuse some new blood into it.”
Hargrove did not find the success in Baltimore that he had in his nine seasons in Cleveland (721-591), only lasting four seasons as skipper of the Orioles. His record in Baltimore was 272-375(.425) during those four years, but Hargrove did not place the blame of the people above him in the Warehouse in owner Peter Angelos or then general manager Syd Thrift.
“I certainly believe in Peter Angelos as an owner,” he said. “I feel that he honestly wants to bring a winner to the Baltimore area, and it just hasn’t happened so far.”
He firmly believes that Angelos and Andy MacPhail are a team capable of arming Showalter the same way Richard Jacobs and John Hart gave him players like Albert Belle, Matt Williams, Eddie Murray, Kenny Lofton, Manny Ramirez, Omar Vizquel, Richie Sexson, Sandy Alomar, Jim Thome and more.
Those teams were built and managed effectively, as the Indians reached the postseason five straight times with AL Central titles and reached the World Series twice in 1995 and 1997, losing to the Braves and the Marlins respectively.
“We had a good ball club in that era,” Hargrove said. “The fact is, we met the Orioles a number of times in that postseason. If you pitch well and you play defense well, you’re probably going to win. That’s really what San Francisco did in this World Series.”
And now that he saw his former team in the Texas Rangers that he played for, he hopes now that he can see one of the teams he managed-the Mariners, Indians, or Orioles-trying to gain a title that has eluded the franchises for years.
“I watch the Orioles closely,” Hargrove told Forrester. “I have an affinity for that area and the fans. I think that good things are ahead for the Orioles.”
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