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

March 19, 2014 | Nestor Aparicio

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

local interests,” he said. “If I can help produce that result – if the DeWitt group withdrew – I’d be willing to make my contribution.”

By March 31, Angelos informed the newspaper that he was in the game. “We have every intention of making contact with all parties and advising them there is a local group ready, able and willing to purchase the team,” he said.

Mercantile Bank was holding a large portion of Jacobs’ debt in Baltimore on the Orioles. He was on the hook for $47.5 million to the local bank and there was a belief on the part of one of Angelos’ partners that they’d be the ones who picked the winning bid. Local businessman Henry Knott, who was a key part of the Angelos team assembled to make a run at the Orioles in bankruptcy, openly fumed about the nature of local vs. out-of-town buyers for the club.

“My opinion of Mercantile is that they have a license to do business in Baltimore City,” Knott told The Sun. “And if they pick an out-of-town owner over us, somebody ought to lock them up, throw away the key and put them out of business.”

Angelos continued to drive home his message regarding being “the hometown guy” vs. positioning DeWitt’s offer as being from “out of town.” All along, Angelos believed his tenacity was going to find a way to gain control of the Orioles. And he believed he’d be perceived as a civic hero if somehow he managed to win the bid and “save” the Orioles from the indignity of “out of town” ownership.

His first call in March was to his friend and partner at the law firm of Piper & Marbury, George P. Stamas, who offered to help him put together a team of investors with some civic clout and most importantly, some funding to flesh out an ownership group that would capture the attention of Major League Baseball and reflect well upon the league.

Angelos literally didn’t know anyone within Major League Baseball so he needed to make noise in other ways.

Angelos and Stamas, along with Knott, cast a wide net over the next 90 days, pulling in local celebrities and dignitaries with an offer for a stake in owning the Baltimore Orioles. Author Tom Clancy, comic book distributor Stephen A. Geppi, movie producer Barry Levinson, legendary broadcaster Jim McKay and tennis star Pam Shriver were all recruited and excited to lend their names and stars to the involvement in bringing the Orioles to a local investment team.

Angelos told The Sun, “It really gives what we attempted to do and hopefully what we’re striving to do a lot of color. It gives you a little taste of what this area has produced – some really exceptional people.”

As Angelos circled the wagons, DeWitt heard the very public preening by Angelos, who had a hotline to The Sun during these years. He could get a headline and a story written any time he wanted with one phone call over to his friends on Calvert Street. Longtime Baltimore columnists Michael Olesker and John Steadman, both who came from the now defunct afternoon newspaper, The News American, kept company with a man who insisted his friends call him “Pete.”

DeWitt started making Baltimore calls and putting together a “hometown team” of his own with the many relationships that team president and C.E.O. Larry Lucchino had developed over the 14 years he’d run the club quite successfully.

While Lucchino saw the theatre and politicking that Angelos was attempting to do in the court of public opinion – everyone knew it was all about the highest bidder at this point, not a popularity poll – he thought it to be an odd juxtaposition against the marketplace.

First of all, the Baltimore Orioles weren’t going anywhere. They had a 30-year lease at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and the only reason any sane businessman would want to purchase the team for upwards of $150 million was because of what Lucchino had built the team into during his watch. No one was apt to buy the Orioles in an effort to wreck them or move them or alienate local baseball fans.

And, secondly, if Lucchino harbored any secret intentions to depart Baltimore or sell the team off to someone who would’ve moved the team, it would’ve already have happened on his watch. It was ludicrous when you consider Lucchino’s track record. He had spent the past dozen years getting Camden Yards built and building the

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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Franchise Says:

    Nestor-

    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???

    Thanks,

    Franchise

  2. Franchise Says:

    Nestor-

    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?

    Regards,

    FRANCHISE

    Franchise

  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.

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