The big problem in Baltimore is creeping Yankeeism. Williams, the renowned attorney, is a tough, impatient, tremendously competitive owner who seems to admire the way George Steinbrenner seeks results. He once called the Yankee organization the best in baseball and has reportedly said that Martin, an acquaintance, is the type of manager he would like. It's no secret that Williams doesn't get along with Peters, a proven but conservative baseball man.
Williams is simply not cut from traditional Oriole cloth. Last year he called Altobelli a "cement head" and let the manager twist in the wind while he wooed Weaver back with a $500,000 offer. Williams griped about the farm system, the deficiencies of which, he says, forced him to spend $12 million on free agents. Nonetheless, despite all the talk about Martin, insiders say Williams might yet grant Peters one (last?) request and go with the sentimental choice, longtime third base coach Cal Ripken Sr.
"He [ Ripken] has given 30 years to this organization," says Dempsey. "To give it to anyone else just wouldn't seem fair." There is also this to consider: Cal Ripken Jr. has one year remaining on his contract, and if his father doesn't get the manager's job, the All-Star shortstop will probably go elsewhere.
When Weaver saw Jim Palmer last week in the Oriole dugout, he asked his former pitcher and adversary, "Are you here to drop off your resume?" Actually, Palmer says he would consider returning to the O's as pitching coach for Ripken.
And then there's the rather important matter of Murray, in many ways the heart of the team. Williams disturbed the Orioles' nest last month by telling reporters that Murray—who's hitting .303 but has only 14 homers—is having a bad year and should consider an off-season conditioning program. Murray, hypersensitive to criticism, reacted strongly. Already upset at his treatment by media and fans and at the team's handling of his various ankle, groin and hamstring injuries, he went to Peters and asked to be traded.
"Eddie doesn't want to be part of a Yankee organization," says one Oriole source. "He doesn't want to be in a situation where people are sniping or hollering at one another." Fortunately, the Orioles haven't come to that—yet.