Lee MacPhail, oldest Hall of Famer, dies at 95

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Lee MacPhail, oldest Hall of Famer, dies at 95

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) Lee MacPhail, the longtime baseball executive who ruled in the celebrated Pine Tar case and later became part of the only father-son Hall of Fame pairing, has died. He was 95.

He was the oldest Hall of Famer, and he died Thursday night at his home in Delray Beach, Fla., the shrine said Friday.

``There's not much I haven't done off the field other than commissioner,'' he said during a 1985 interview with The Associated Press when he retired after 4 1-2 decades in the sport.

In the second generation of one of baseball's most prominent families - his son, Andy, also was in the front office for several teams - MacPhail's most well-known moment in baseball came in 1983. He upheld Kansas City's protest in the Pine Tar Game against the New York Yankees, restoring a ninth-inning home run to Royals slugger George Brett - also a future Hall of Famer.

``Lee MacPhail was one of the great executives in baseball history and a Hall of Famer in every sense, both personally and professionally,'' Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. ``His hallmarks were dignity, common sense and humility. He was not only a remarkable league executive, but was a true baseball man.''

With MacPhail's death, Bobby Doerr at 94 becomes the oldest living Hall of Famer.

``Baseball history has lost a great figure in Lee MacPhail, whose significant impact on the game spanned five decades,'' Hall chairman Jane Forbes Clark said. ``He will always be remembered in Cooperstown as a man of exemplary kindness and a man who always looked after the best interests of the game.''

Lee MacPhail was the son of Larry MacPhail, a top executive with the Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees.

``Over his lifetime in baseball, Lee made many significant contributions that helped to make the game what it is today,'' former players' union head Don Fehr said.

Said union founding executive director Marvin Miller: ``Lee was a good man, trustworthy and honest, and I had a decent relationship with him over the years.''

Born Leland Stanford MacPhail Jr. in Nashville, Tenn., on Oct. 25, 1917, he was general manager at minor league Reading, went on to work for the Yankees in 1949 and spent a decade as farm director and player personnel director, with players he developed winning seven World Series titles.

He moved to the Baltimore Orioles as general manager in 1959 and six years later returned to New York as chief administrative assistant for new baseball Commissioner Spike Eckert. He returned to the Yankees as general manager from 1967-73, and left after George Steinbrenner bought the team to become AL president in 1974.

A member of management's labor negotiating team along with NL President Chub Feeney during the 1981 midseason strike, he also headed the AL when it added the designated hitter for the 1973 season and expanded to Seattle and Toronto for 1977.

After he stepped down as league president following the 1983 season, he served two years as president of the owners' Player Relations Committee, overseeing bargaining during a two-day strike in 1985. He was elected to the Hall as an executive in 1998, 20 years after his father.

In the famed Pine Tar case, MacPhail overruled plate umpire Tim McClelland and crew chief Joe Brinkman and restored a home run to Brett. After Yankees manager Billy Martin argued that Brett's bat had excessive pine tar when he hit a two-run, ninth-inning homer at Yankees Stadium on July 24, McClelland called Brett out, the final out in a 4-3 New York victory.

Brett stormed out of the dugout, eyes bulging, in one of baseball's most replayed arguments. Four days later, MacPhail upheld a protest for the first time as league president, said the home run counted and ordered the game to continue from that point. When the game was completed Aug. 18, the Royals held on to win 5-4.

While the pine tar extended more than 18 inches past the handle, the limit set by baseball's rules, MacPhail said taking away the home run was improper.

``The umpires' interpretation, while technically defensible, is not in accord with the intent or spirit of the rules and that the rules do not provide that a hitter be called out for excessive use of pine tar. The rules provide instead that the bat be removed from the game,'' he wrote. ``Although manager Martin and his staff should be commended for their alertness, it is the strong conviction of the league that games should be won and lost on the playing field - not through technicalities of the rules.''

He retired at the end of that season.

Son Andy became GM of the Minnesota Twins, president of the Chicago Cubs and president of baseball operations of the Orioles. From the next generation, Andy MacPhail IV worked for the Cleveland Indians and is a scout for the Orioles.

The Hall said no services are planned and a memorial will be held later.

Reimold's home run propels Orioles to 3rd straight win

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Reimold's home run propels Orioles to 3rd straight win

BALTIMORE – Nolan Reimold has never played a complete season in the major leagues. His career has been plagued with injuries, and wasn’t with the Orioles when they went to the postseason in 2012 and 2014. 

When the team made it to the ALCS two years ago, Reimold had briefly left the organization. He returned last year, and nearly three years after his second neck surgery, the 32-year-old has had a most productive few weeks for the Orioles. With all the team’s sexy new additions, Reimold has seemingly been overlooked, but he’s delivered some timely hits. 

On Friday night, Reimold hit a three-run home run that broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning, giving the Orioles their third straight win, 6-3 over the Chicago White Sox before 19,912 at Oriole Park. 

Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy began the seventh with singles off Carlos Rodon (1-3). Reimold hit an opposite field home run just over the right field scoreboard, his third of the year, and the Orioles had a 6-3 lead. 

Manager Buck Showalter knows what a sound Reimold can bring. 

“I’m real happy for him because he’s been down a rough road. It’s a real tribute to him to persevere through this. And quite proud of the organization for sticking with him. He’s dialed up a lot of things that we’ve needed,” Showalter said.

In 2012, Reimold’s year was finished by the end of April and in 2014, he never played with the team. For all the hard work Reimold has put in, he’d love to see a payoff. 

“That’s the ultimate goal, team goal, to make the playoffs, win the World Series. It’s something that I’d really like to experience while I’m still playing. It definitely would be a big thing. I’d love to do that,” Reimold said.

Brad Brach (3-0) got the win. Darren O’Day and Zach Britton finished up, and Britton got his sixth save. 

The Orioles improved their home record to 9-1, and they did on another brisk night. 

“It’s nasty out there,” Showalter said. 

While he and the Orioles would like to play in some better weather, it appears they’ll have to wait for that. 

“It was like playoff weather, cold as it is right now. I prefer a little bit more degrees on the thermometer,” Wieters said. 

Things went awry for Rodon and the White Sox (16-9) an inning later when the Orioles (14-8) came up with three runs. 

Jonathan Schoop’s single up the middle scored Wieters and Hardy. Reimold scored when shortstop Jimmy Rollins threw wildly to first on Joey Rickard’s grounder, and the Orioles led 3-1. 

Mike Wright allowed a run in the second on a double to Melky Cabrera and a two-out triple to Avisail Garcia. 

In the sixth, Rollins lifted a fly to center that Jones tried to make a diving catch on. He couldn’t, and Eaton made it to third. Jose Abreu’s single to right scored Eaton. 

Cabrera’s liner to center was caught by Jones, and he threw home as Wieters snatched the ball and swiftly brought it down to tag Rollins to temporarily preserve a 3-2 lead. 

“Adam’s got the hard part of making it all the way there. And I think the biggest thing I was worried about was the wet night, being able to get the skip. It didn’t really skip on me. It kind of bounced up on me. That made it a little bit easier, I guess,” Wieters said.

Showalter defended Jones’ style of play.

“If you think you are going to get Adam to back off from playing that way, you are kidding yourself. He can’t play the game any other way. That’s why you like him so much. That’s why you trust him effort-wise, and if you ever take that away from him — that aggressiveness- you might as well not play him,” Jones said. 

Wright allowed two runs on five hits in six innings, and Wieters  certainly liked what he saw.

“Today was I think the best he’s thrown any time I’ve caught him. I think he’ll be able to take a lot out of this outing and move forward as what kind of pitcher he can be. It was fun. It was fun back there catching him tonight and really even the runs they scored he made good pitches on. So for 90 pitches or whatever he threw he was focused as much as I’ve ever seen somebody,” Wieters said. 

Wright is seeing a big improvement in his outings.

“Since the beginning of the season, even since the beginning of spring training, I’ve felt better and better every time I’ve taken the mound. It’s very positive to go out there and really feel confident that I can execute every pitch [Wieters] puts down,” Wright said.  

Showalter hoping to get Flaherty back from Norfolk soon

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Showalter hoping to get Flaherty back from Norfolk soon

BALTIMORE – Friday is the game for the Orioles with a three-man bench. Pedro Alvarez, Caleb Joseph and Hyun Soo Kim comprise manager Buck Showalter’s extra players. 

The Orioles have gone with a short bench since Monday when the team optioned infielder Ryan Flaherty to Norfolk in order to have an eight-man bullpen. 

Showalter is hoping that he’ll be able to have Flaherty back soon. He’s eligible to return next Thursday, 10 days after he was optioned. The only exception is if Flaherty replaces a player placed on the disabled list.

Flaherty accepted his demotion to Norfolk in stride, quickly reporting to the Tides. 

“We’ll do what’s best, but we know Ryan’s time down there is up on the fifth,” Showalter said.

“He’s done real well down there. I’m proud of that.” 

Norfolk manager Ron Johnson is glad to have Flaherty in Norfolk.

“R.J. said he looks like a big leaguer playing in the minor leagues,” Showalter said. 

The Orioles don’t pinch hit much, and haven’t needed an extra outfielder, but with his team ahead by eight runs after six innings, Showalter felt comfortable enough to rest a few of his regulars.

“It was quite a challenge last night to get Adam (Jones) and J.J. (Hardy) and Chris (Davis) off the field with a three-man bench and still have one left on the bench,” Showalter said.

RELATED: SHOWALTERS ANNOUNCE PLANS FOR OCTOBER KIDSPEACE RACE

Showalters announce plans for October KidsPeace race

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Showalters announce plans for October KidsPeace race

BALTIMORE—Six months from today, Buck and Angela Showalter will host their 7th annual KidsPeace 5K Trick-or-Trot at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

KidsPeace benefits foster parenting, and it’s a cause the Showalters feel deeply about. 

Angela Showalter speaks fondly about her upbringing with two parents and an extended family, and notes that the children she and her husband are trying to help, are lacking the basics. 

“These children don’t even have a parent. They don’t even have the village to get started in,” she said at a luncheon to announce the race on Friday. 

“It’s so amazing how the one little bit of attention they feel like they’re getting from the race carries so much weight with them.”

Foster children often move, and don’t have a firm foundation.

“They often leave a parent who is probably very dysfunctional,” Angela Showalter said. “They have things that are being ripped away from them constantly.” 

Buck Showalter has become very active with KidsPeace and told a story of one of his staff members, who adopted a child who had behavioral issues. 

“He was talking about the impact of KidsPeace the other day, and that he wished his daughter had had that help when she was at that age when she wasn’t adoptable,” Showalter said. 

The registration fee is $30 between now and May 20. For more information, visit www.kidspeace5K.org.