The Peter Principles (Ch. 2): The error of tyranny at Camden Yards

July 03, 2018 | Nestor Aparicio

felt like they needed to manage their investment even if they didn’t understand or have the aptitude to run an incredibly unique business model with so many variables in Major League Baseball. When Eli Jacobs was recruited to be the Orioles owner five years earlier, it was Orioles partner and Lucchino friend, Sargent Shriver, who found him. Lucchino was told that Jacobs would be a passive investor and that Shriver would be the chairman in charge of all key decisions. As the 89% majority owner, Jacobs wanted to be the chairman despite not knowing anything – or caring to learn much – regarding the business of baseball.

Shriver wanted to be the long-term owner. He was a passionate Marylander, a guy who loved the Orioles. Lucchino thought he was getting a financier for the team and instead inherited an awkward, socially insulated “boss” who was clearly trying to make as much money as possible while he was privately and quietly going bankrupt.

Lucchino had just been in a tug-of-way with a neophyte, mercurial owner in Jacobs and didn’t want another strained relationship. At this point, coming into nearly $14 million with his 9% stake being sold to Angelos, he was cautious in examining the situation and his options amidst so many early pronouncements from Angelos, who clearly didn’t know much about the etiquette or the politics of Major League Baseball.

Lucchino went to dinner with Angelos several times during October 1993 trying to talk through a relationship moving forward with the Orioles. After all, he built the team as well as Camden Yards throughout the 1980s, owned and never wanted to sell his stock or shares and wanted to retain his well-earned position with the club all during the DeWitt dance with Jacobs and even through August and September as the team rolled into its third pennant race in five years.

Angelos offered him the No. 2 position but made it clear that he’d be making all of the key decisions. “Make no mistake, I was not going to carry on as president and C.E.O.,” Lucchino told The Sun. “Peter acquired the right to do that when he purchased the club, and that’s the way it should be.”

Angelos was blunt about Lucchino’s options. “The reorganization of the front office was something that he had to accept as being necessary – intellectually and otherwise,” Angelos said. “Considering the success the Orioles have enjoyed in the past, he might not have felt that was necessary. I don’t argue with that, but those who acquired the club have a responsibility to assess the organization and move forward.”

On Oct. 29, 1993, Larry Lucchino announced his resignation from the Baltimore Orioles after 14 years with the club.

“There was a sense that this was the time to move on,” Lucchino said. “We have accomplished many things. It’s time for Peter Angelos and his group to run this team as they would like and to succeed on their own.”

Lucchino added: “I wish we had won it all. That is a regret. That will be a goal if I ever am successful somewhere else.”

A year later, Larry Lucchino would go on to become a partner in finding Texas businessman John Moores to buy the San Diego Padres, leading them to a World Series in 1998. After getting Petco Park built in the Gaslamp District in 2001, his second major stadium design and follow through after Camden Yards, Lucchino left to form a partnership with John Henry in Boston. Lucchino has been the C.E.O. & president of the Red Sox since 2001 and has led the organization to three World Series rings: 2004, 2007 and 2013. Lucchino is the only man on the planet with a Final