Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Frank Robinson, 2012 Topps Gypsy Queen Mini #255

The Orioles - and baseball at large - lost a great man last week when Hall of Fame executive Lee MacPhail passed away at age 95. Younger Baltimore fans may be more familiar with Lee's son Andy, who served as the O's GM from 2007-2011. But the elder MacPhail put his mark on Charm City as the team's general manager from 1959-1965, also serving as club president for much of his tenure. Lee came to the Orioles after nearly a decade as a top personnel man with the Yankees, which worked out pretty well for all involved. But the powerful New Yorkers were already winners. In just a few years in Baltimore, MacPhail worked with manager Paul Richards to build a winner practically from the ground up. Amateur free agents signed and developed under his watch included Boog Powell, Dave McNally, Jim Palmer, Davey Johnson, and Mark Belanger, just to name a few. Paul Blair was drafted out of the Mets' system. Veterans like Stu Miller, Dick Hall, and Luis Aparicio were picked up in savvy trades. Throughout the early 1960s, the Birds were up-and-comers in the American League.

Then, in December 1965, MacPhail arranged the finishing touch just as he was heading out the door. Tabbed for a job in Major League Baseball's front office as an assistant to new commissioner Spike Eckert, Lee informed new O's GM Harry Dalton (who had been promoted from within the organization) that the framework was in place for a trade that would bring the Reds' slugging outfielder Frank Robinson to the Orioles in exchange for three players (say it with me now): Jack Baldschun, Dick Simpson, and Milt Pappas. Dalton wisely signed off on the deal, and the glory years of Baltimore baseball had arrived.

Lee MacPhail furthered his imprint on the game of baseball in the decades that followed, returning to the Yankees as general manager from 1967-1973 and serving as President of the American League from 1974-1983. He will certainly be missed.

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