CHICAGO, JULY 21 -- Baltimore Orioles owner Edward Bennett Williams today named Calvin Hill, former star running back in the National Football League, to the baseball team's board of directors.

Hill will succeed the late Jack Dunn III and join former Yankees great Joe DiMaggio and columnist George Will on a 12-member board whose functions are mostly figurative. The board generally meets once or twice a year and isn't involved in the day-to-day operations of the team.

The appointment of Hill, a black, comes at a time when major league baseball has been criticized for not having blacks in front office and management positions.

In recent years, the Orioles have allowed several prominent black players, including Al Bumbry and Lee May, to leave their organization.

Hill said he was uncertain of what his specific duties would be, but that he is aware of baseball's problems regarding the hiring of minorities.

"It's something we still have to talk about," he said of his duties. "It's my understanding that the board is responsible for setting policy, and I'll be part of that.

"If there's any other area I can add a level of expertise to, I will. I grew up in Baltimore; my mother still lives in the northwest section of the city, so I know what the Orioles have meant to the city. I want to be part of continuing the excellence for which they've become known."

Williams has promised to hire blacks for management and Hill said: "I'd like to be part of that dialogue. I do feel there are blacks out there with the 'necessities,' if you will."

Hill, a resident of Reston, works with Fleet Financial Services and Alexander and Associates, Inc., and is a consultant to the Cleveland Browns on player relations and drug rehabilitation.

He graduated from Yale in 1969 and was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the NFL draft. He played six years for the Cowboys, for Hawaii of the World Football League, for the Washington Redskins in 1976 and 1977 and for the Cleveland Browns 1978-1981.

Williams declined comment on the appointment.