BALTIMORE, JUNE 17 -- In the long summer of 1988, when the Baltimore Orioles were on their way to the worst record in franchise history, the organization decided to jettison older, more expensive players and build for the future. So they sent Fred Lynn to Detroit for three minor leaguers.
Only one of the three remains in the organization and that one is catcher Chris Hoiles, who today made just the third start of his major league career and the first in Memorial Stadium.
He was hitting so well with Class AAA Rochester that the Orioles felt compelled to bring him up (June 4), even though it took a spell to get him in the starting lineup.
"Show's how smart I am," Manager Frank Robinson said. "The guy's hitting .394 and can't crack the lineup."
Hoiles' home debut could have gone better. The Orioles lost their fifth straight game, 6-5 to the Boston Red Sox and Hoiles was the only starter not to get a hit. Ellis Burks stole second on Hoiles, but he did throw out Dwight Evans. A moment later, when Tony Pena struck out to end the inning, Hoiles threw the ball over third baseman Craig Worthington. No harm, though.
Today's loss, in which the Orioles wasted a couple of good opportunities, illustrated the need for more hitting and that's what Hoiles, a former Eastern Michigan star, supposedly can provide.
"The reports were that he had some pop in his bat and was a pretty good catcher," Robinson said. "What he's done over the winter is added average to his game. He's a much better hitter than he was at this time last year."
With work in the winter league and help from coach Tom McGraw in spring training, Hoiles tried to broaden the scope of his hitting.
"I worked on going the other way and now I can hit to all fields and to all fields with power," said Hoiles, a 6-foot, 208-pounder from Wayne, Ohio. "Before I was pulling everything. Now, they can't play me to hit just one way." McDonald Update
Ben McDonald, whose blisters have kept him in Rochester the last few days, threw hard today without a Band-Aid on his middle finger and probably will pitch Wednesday night for Rochester.