Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cement Head? Actually, Altobelli will be Cast in Bronze

The Rochester Red Wings have announced they will honor former Orioles manager Joe Altobelli - the man owner Edward Bennett Williams once dubbed "cement head" - with a statute outside the team's stadium.

I profiled Altobelli for a Flashback Friday in June and learned more about his Rochester connection.

Here's an excerpt:
He managed a 1971 Rochester Red Wings team that included Mike Ferraro, Johnny Oates, Don Baylor, and Ray Miller, each of whom would likewise manage in the majors.

He instructed the youthful iterations of Cal Ripken Jr., Don Mattingly, and Mark Grace on how to play the game.

His stories of mentoring Steve Dalkowski, a pitcher who threw as hard as he partied, provided screenwriter and director Ron Shelton with the grist for the Bull Durham characters Crash Davis and Nuke NaNoosh.

His jersey was the first of two that have been retired in Rochester, where is known as "Mr. Rochester."

In 2008, he was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame.

But Baltimore fans know him best as the manager of the last Orioles team to win the World Series.


As a minor league manager, Alto finished in first place six times in 12 seasons. From 1971 to 1976, he led the Rochester Red Wings, then an O's affiliate, to a 502-350 (.589) record, two Governors Cup titles, four pennants, and one Junior World Series.

Following his retirement from the game, Altobelli filled every available role for the Red Wings except - as noted by The Baltimore Sun - the mascot's position, which he left to his grandchildren. Altobelli moved into Rochester's broadcast booth in 1996 and remained there through last year. The 2009 season is the first since 1950 that Altobelli has spent away from organized baseball.

Read the full post.


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