Orioles Think Tank

Orioles Coverage for the Information Age

‘Baltimore Orioles: Where Have You Gone?’

Posted by Mike on June 26, 2006

About a week ago, I received a copy of Baltimore Orioles: Where Have You Gone? from Sports Publishing.  They've asked me to do my first book review on OTT and I am more than happy to oblige.

Baltimore Orioles: Where Have You Gone? is written by long-time area sports journalist John Seidel.  The jacket of the book informs me that he has written for the Sun, MLB.com, NFL.com, ESPN The Magazine and a bunch of other places.  I will readily admit that this isn't the sort of Orioles commentary you will typically find me endorsing:  Seidel utilizes W-L records and ERA instead of WXRL and PERA.  He focuses on personalities and back-stories where I have a tendency to put statistical confirmation of production above all else.  And maybe that's exactly why I liked this book; during a period when it's almost too easy to disparage the organization, Baltimore Orioles: Where Have You Gone?was a much needed reminder of the rich history of the Orioles.

Seidel sections of the book into chapters named after the player's name he is writing about, most of which end up around 5 or 6 pages long.  The basic premise is that Seidel has selected three dozen players (plus umpire attendant extraordinaire Ernie Tyler) and tracked them to see what they've done with their lives since leaving the organization.  Some of the most interesting sections, to me anyways, came from some of the players that have since found roles within the organization.  For instance, Scott McGregor offered some insight into some of his pitching philosophies:

"I think the biggest surprise that I probably found after being out for 14 years was the same things I talked about with [Mike] Flanagan and Jim Palmer is what they're still talking about today," McGregor said.  "The game itself on the field doesn't change.  Kids are quicker, the thing I don't like is they rush them too quickly nowadays."

McGregor said he's seen a lot of things haven't changed.  He said the way pitchers are worked remains the same.  But things have changed in other ways as situational pitching has become the norm rather than the exception.

"You've got a lot more starters who don't have to go nine innings," McGregor said.  "If you've got guys out there who are qualified, they're making too much money nowadays not to use them."

Change "not to use" to "to abuse" and McGregor and I are on the same page.

You'll find some nice interviews and insight about the lives of other Oriole greats like Brooks, Cal and Flanny, but Seidel really gets creative with some of his subject choices. 

For instance, remember Dave Criscione?  Me neither.  He was a catcher in AAA Rochester who got his one and only cup-of-coffee with the 1977 Orioles.  During his brief 9 AB tenure, he hit .333/.333/.667 with a game-winning home run against the Brewers that vaulted the O's into 1st place.  Oh, and he became a father for the first time.

Seidel also manages to slip in this blurb referencing my personal favorite icon:

Interestingly, Criscione heard later that the Orioles planned to send him back after that game, but manager Earl Weaver told general manager Hank Peters something to the effect of the following, "You tell him.  He just hit a home run that won the ballgame and put us in first place."

Criscione… stayed with the team on a long road trip and went back down around August 10.

Nowadays, you can find Criscione working as a supervisor of quality control for an ink company in Dunkirk, New York.  He also coached Fredonia State's baseball team from 1980-2002.  Through it all, he has always held onto his memories with the Orioles. 

He also wrote the Orioles a very nice email thanking them after writing an article on him in a game program.  In addition. he asked if he could get a new hat, because his old one was fading out.  The team was more than happy to help him.

"There was no better place to play than Baltimore," Criscione said.

Click here to check out Baltimore Orioles: Where Have You Gone? by John Seidel. 

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2 Responses to “‘Baltimore Orioles: Where Have You Gone?’”

  1. Stu said

    Sounds interesting enough. I’ll check it out.

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