Every week during the pandemic, Stan “The Fan” Charles and former Orioles pitcher Ross Grimsley have been catching up with former Orioles greats.
Here’s some of what they’ve had to say. Check out the complete interviews and other conversations at PressBoxOnline.com.
Former Orioles pitcher Scott McGregor on playing high school baseball with George Brett in Southern California:
“I had a better average. He gave me kudos when he went into the Hall of Fame. They were interviewing him. They said, ‘Hey, when you were in high school, did you ever think this would happen?‘ He goes, ‘Hell no, they all came to see Scott McGregor.’ I went, ‘Yes!’ We had a great high school team, obviously. … We won the state championship in ’71. Out of 12 guys, I think about seven or eight of them were drafted. It was a hotbed of baseball and that’s what we grew up doing and took off from there.”
Former Orioles outfielder Mike Devereaux on the outfield defense of the 1989 “Why Not?” Orioles:
“The pitchers, they got on the hill, they threw strikes, so we were always on our toes. And we made it a point to try not to let anything fall. We understood that we were not a power team, we weren’t going to go out there and beat guys at the plate hitting home runs and all that, but we understood that, ‘Hey, let’s stop them from scoring. Let’s not allow them to get hits.’ And with that said, that made the pitchers have more confidence in themselves, so the pitchers threw great, they were always around the plate, there wasn’t a lot of walks, there wasn’t a lot of pitching around guys unless they really, really had to. So we were always ready to play, and that made it one of the most fun seasons I’ve ever had.”
Former Orioles first baseman Jim Gentile on hitting back-to-back grand slams on consecutive pitches at Minnesota on May 9, 1961:
“Well, let’s see, it’s been so long I guess it doesn’t matter. The night before, I was out until 6 in the morning. I had played at St. Paul, and there’s three brothers there that own six bars that I was real friendly with. We went to dinner and went and had a few drinks and everything and they let me out at the hotel at 6 in the morning. I went in and I took a shower and shaved and I thought, ‘Ohhh.’ We got on the bus, we got out there to the ballpark and I started to think, ‘Geez, I don’t know if I can handle it today. I’m not sure.’ I don’t know what the temperature was, but it was just chilly enough to wake you up and make you feel good. And I said, ‘Well, I’ll give it a try.’ And I’m glad I did. But I didn’t play the next day. That’s the funny part. I didn’t play the next day.”
Former Orioles slugger Boog Powell on how he got into cooking and Boog’s BBQ:
“I’ve always kind of enjoyed cooking. My mother passed away when I was 11 years old and I had two younger brothers and a lot of the responsibilities of the family fell on me. And I cooked, you know, little things and my grandmother would come by every now and then and she would help. And we had other people coming by and I just sort of picked it up as time went on. We were always outside and we cooked outside a lot, so therefore my love for barbeque.”
Former Orioles outfielder Ken Singleton on his on-base percentage:
“I’ve always felt that if the pitch was actually too hard to hit and swing at, it was probably going to be a ball. And it’s hard enough to hit the strikes, so why are you going to swing out of the strike zone? For a hitter, you want to get ahead on the count. You want it to be 2-0 and 3-1. That way, the pitcher has more of a chance to throw the ball toward the middle of the plate and you’ve got a chance to do some real damage. … I led the National League in ’73 in on-base percentage, it wasn’t even a negotiation point in my next contract because nobody knew what on-base percentage was. But when I came to Baltimore, Earl Weaver knew what it was. … In my first year that I got to Baltimore, Earl told me, ‘You’re going to lead off.’ And I said, ‘What?’ I had never led off a game in my life. And I said, ‘Earl, I don’t steal bases.’ He said, ‘That’s not what it’s about.’ He said, ‘It’s about getting ON base.’ So that year I walked 118 times, it’s still the Orioles record for a season.”
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles