Aggressive play like that might impress the manager of a fourth-place team, but under Weaver it usually means that the star will be back in the next day.
"We're winning, that's the only good thing about sitting on the bench here," said Motton. "It's a little easier to take because you know we're gonna make some extra money in the playoffs and the Series at the end of the year."
The man mostly responsible for the Oriole system is Jim McLaughlin, who was the only member of the front office to transfer with the team when it moved to Baltimore from St. Louis in 1954. It was he who hired the inexperienced Dalton fresh out of the Air Force after graduating from Amherst, and it was he who, during a brief stay with the Cincinnati Reds, signed Johnny Bench, Wayne Simpson, Bernie Carbo and Hal McRae, all of whom have played important roles in the Reds' season-long pennant drive. Back with the Orioles as head of minor league business operations, McLaughlin attributes the team's success to group scouting. "We don't just use scouts to double-check each other." he says, "but we send each out with a definite purpose. I remember when we signed Powell, we had four scouts there, each with a different job."
The Powell signing was typical of Baltimore's thoroughness. Almost every team in the majors wanted him until the end of his senior year in high school when he played in a state tournament and failed to hit. Only the Orioles and one other team remained interested.
"We never hesitated," says McLaughlin. "He just had a bad series like any player. We never doubted that he was a good prospect."
Rettenmund, the best new product of the system, is also one of its more surprised recruits. "I didn't contribute to a single one of the 109 games we won last season," he said last week. "Then on top of that I had an awful winter in the Puerto Rican league. I hit .146. I began to question my ability to play in the big leagues."
Rettenmund changed his stance slightly in spring training, and when Blair was injured by a pitched ball he got his chance to play regularly. He has rarely been out of the lineup since.
"I still don't consider myself anything but a utility outfielder," Rettenmund says. With utilitymen like Rettenmund around, Omar Aparicio can begin to dream of wearing his new tailcoat. It was made specially for last year's World Series cork popping, which never came off. Aparicio, in fact, might one day have to sew leather patches on the elbows. That or buy a new tailcoat with his champagne earnings.