The Peter Principles (Ch. 1): So, just how did Angelos become ‘King’ of Baltimore baseball?

March 19, 2014 | Nestor Aparicio

a bankruptcy auction.

Selig and the owners were about to experience their worst nightmare. Peter Angelos would soon prove to be an outsider; one who had his own thoughts about the future of Major League Baseball in Baltimore.


ON THE MORNING OF FEBRUARY 26, 1993, Peter G. Angelos showed up at his law offices in downtown Baltimore and began reading The Sun, just like every other morning. He saw the headline – “DeWitt agrees to buy Orioles for $141.3 million” – and bristled.

The Baltimore Orioles were the toast of the town – by far the most significant diversion for local sports fans and families, truly a civic institution – and somehow they were being sold to yet another “out of towner,” Angelos thought.

Angelos, who had just started to receive a flood of money from his litigation of asbestos cases throughout the late 1980s, wondered aloud why someone from the Baltimore area didn’t want to own the prized possession of the city.

Sure, the price had a sticker shock quality, but if a Cincinnati oil man thought it was a good investment and wanted to own Baltimore’s civic treasure, it must worth investigating. So, Angelos, who always fancied himself a deal maker and an architect from his political days in the 1960s, went to work trying to put together a “dream team” of Orioles owners.

Angelos made some calls to his friends in the local government – he had plenty of political allies because he was one of their first calls for contributions on the Democratic side of the ticket – and found out who Eli Jacobs was, and where to find him.

Angelos later said that he was rebuffed by Jacobs and was told the sale to DeWitt was a fait accompli. “The attitude was that local people need not apply; this is a done deal,” he told author John Helyar in the 1994 book, Lords Of The Realm. “That didn’t set well with me.”

“If you allow your major league club to be owner by out-of-towners you’re not really a major league city; you’re a branch-office city,” Angelos bellowed. It was always easy to play to the intensely provincial sports crowd in Baltimore, a city that had seen the NBA Bullets taken out of the city in 1973 by a D.C. owner in Abe Pollin. And when the Colts snaked off to Indianapolis by Irsay, the local fans’ hearts were heavy and the abandonment was painful.

Angelos later told The Sun, “I was being discouraged by local people, who had good information, who said it was a done deal. So for a while they put me off. But then I decided that I would attempt it anyway. I wouldn’t accept the proposition that everything was finished.”

Three weeks later, with the Orioles at spring training in Florida, Jacobs defaulted on loans to seven banks, which forced him into bankruptcy and wanted to maximize the sale price of the Orioles. The banks believed that the open market would drive the sale price north of Jacobs’ agreement with DeWitt. This opened the door for Angelos – or anyone else who had enough money – to get involved in an open bid.

On March 11, 1993, Peter G. Angelos jumped into the sports business, informing The Sun of his intention to buy the team if it hit the open market. “I am just another Baltimorean who would like to see the club owned by

6 Comments For This Post

  1. Franchise Says:


    Is the “stranger” bidder you refer to in this blog the same Jeffrey Loria (spelling Lorie) who is currently the principal owner of the Philadelphia Eagles????? or the previous owner of the Florida Marlins???



  2. Franchise Says:


    Just retribution punishment for the son of the “Chicagoan Carpetbagger” father Robert Irsay would be for Jimmy Irsay to give back all the records, history and HOF induction of 11 BALTIMORE Colt players and coaches back to the Charm City…. That includes all of the media guide propaganda in Indianapolis as well as the Canton, OH sacrilegious nonsense at the Pro Football Hall of Fame….Plus give back the horseshoe and the blue and white colors and name Colts to the City of Baltimore…Roger Goodell are you listening???…This is just punishment for Jimmy Irsay since owners should be held to higher standards….The apple does not fall far from the tree… Robert & Jimmy Irsay are one in the same…absolute garbage….But the Commissioner will simply slap him on the wrist!!!…Jimmy Irsay tried to ransom Art Modell for $44Million for the marketing rites to OUR Baltimore Colts….Voluntarily checked himself into what REHAB clinic?




  3. unitastoberry Says:

    Franchise in the last few days I have heard many taking up for Jimmy. I had nothing against him until he was offered a sizeable amount of money to make things right and return the name to Baltimore. This was before Manning arrived to rescue the Irsays. After he turned that offer down he became garbage in my mind just like his daddy. His genes finally caught up with him and I’m glad he didn’t kill anyone driving around wasted. Sorry no sympathy for him.

  4. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    Irsay, a A-HOLE just like his dad, wishing the worse for him !!!

  5. charlie Says:

    another important triumph in baltimore sports history, for wnst and nestor. THANKS.

  6. Go Tigers Fan Says:

    Steve from Sandpoint, you may want to check your wishes. What you wish for Irsay, someone could wish the same for YOU.

    The Colts are gone, get over it. You have the Ravens now so the past is past, the present is present.

    Robert Short stole the Senators from me so what did I do? I chose to root for the next closest team to P.G County where I lived at the time. That team I chose was the Orioles and no I don’t give a darn about the Nationals.

    My advice to you – live for the present, not the past.

Leave a Reply