Baltimore Orioles officials completed a busy week in their search for a new manager yesterday by interviewing four candidates, including Cincinnati Reds bench coach Ken Griffey Sr. and Philadelphia Phillies hitting coach Hal McRae, the first minority candidates the Orioles have interviewed.
The Orioles also interviewed Boston Red Sox bench coach Grady Little and Orioles first-base coach Marv Foley yesterday. Foley's interview was his second.
Adhering to an edict from Commissioner Bud Selig on minority hiring, the Orioles have kept the commissioner's office apprised of its plans for interviewing minority candidates. A team source said majority owner Peter Angelos has been in regular contact with Selig.
The Orioles also plan to consider minority candidates for their vacant general manager's job. But the Orioles are concentrating on filling their managerial opening first, since they are competing with four other teams--the Cleveland Indians, Anaheim Angels, Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs--who also have managerial openings.
Griffey Sr., 49, stopped in Baltimore on his way to Puerto Rico, where on Saturday he will begin managing the Santurce team in the Puerto Rican Winter League. Griffey also has interviewed with the Brewers for their managerial opening, and he interviewed with the Colorado Rockies before they hired Buddy Bell.
Hiring Griffey almost certainly would lead to speculation that the Orioles would attempt to trade for Griffey's son, Seattle Mariners superstar center fielder Ken Griffey Jr., who will become a free agent after the 2000 season. Although the Griffeys have expressed a desire to work together, Griffey Jr. recently answered such rumors by pointing out, "We're not joined at the hip."
McRae last managed in the major leagues with the Kansas City Royals in the early 1990s, but he posted winning seasons in four of his five seasons there. He is not believed to have interviewed elsewhere.
Little, 49, was high on the list of former Orioles general manager Frank Wren, who was fired unexpectedly after the season. He is a veteran of 16 seasons of managing in the minor leagues, compiling a 1,054-903 career record (.539 winning percentage).
Little reportedly will interview with the Brewers next week.
Foley, who has 10 years of minor league managing experience on his resume, first interviewed with Angelos last Saturday, and returned yesterday to meet with the full search committee, including Executive Vice President John Angelos, chairman's representative Louis Angelos, director of player personnel Syd Thrift, director of scouting Tony DeMacio and director of player development Tom Trebelhorn.
"I feel good about it," Foley said earlier this week. "I'd like to manage this ballclub."
Earlier this week, the Orioles interviewed former Indians manager Mike Hargrove, former Cubs manager Jim Riggleman, Dodgers bullpen coach Rick Dempsey and Orioles third-base coach Sam Perlozzo.
The Orioles likely will not name their new manager until after the World Series. They have asked the Atlanta Braves for permission to interview hitting coach Don Baylor, a former Oriole. The Braves have asked that interested teams wait until after the World Series.