Every person who gets involved in major league baseball dreams of one day being elected to the Hall of Fame taking their place among the all time greats in Cooperstown. Just last week, eight more people came one step closer to realizing that dream, and three of them have ties to the Baltimore Orioles. Davey Johnson, Hank Peters and Lou Piniella all received nominations from the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee.
Three former Orioles are under Hall of Fame consideration through one of the Era committees
You may be asking yourself, "What is the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee?" The Contemporary committee is broken up into two parts; one part considers managers, executives and umpires for Hall of Fame consideration, and the other part considers players who retired at least 15 years ago.
These two committees consider people who made contributions to baseball in 1980 or later. There is a third part of what is known as the "Era's Committee", called the Classic Baseball Era that considers people from 1979 and earlier, including the Negro Leagues.
The committee meets every year but rotates through which group receives nominations. The nominees also need to receive 75% of votes to be elected. Johnson, Peters and Piniella are three of the eight managers/executives/umpires that were nominated.
Davey Johnson began his career in major league baseball as a player, most notably with the O's. He spent eight years in Baltimore earning three of his four all-star selections, three gold gloves and won two World Series with the Birds. He split the last five years of his career between the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs. Even though Johnson was a very good player, he receives his nomination as a manager where he had an even more successful second career in the majors.
Johnson managed five major league franchises and had success with each of them. His managerial career began with the New York Mets (1984-90). His time in New York included two division titles (winning 100 or more games in both seasons), and a World Series Championship in 1986. Johnson's next job came with the Cincinnati Reds (1993-95).
In those three years he won two more division titles including a worst to first turnaround from 1993-94. After leaving Cincinnati, Johnson returned to Baltimore for the 1996 season. The O's finished second in Johnson's first season, then won the division with a wire to wire performance in 1997.
Johnson left the Orioles after having irreconcilable differences with Peter Angelos. He managed the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1999-2000, then was talked out of retirement in 2011 by the Washington Nationals. He spent three years with the Nats, winning another title in 2012, before retiring for good following the 2013 season.
Overall, Johnson won six division titles and a World Series as a manager. He was a two time manager of the year (1997, 2012). His career record of 1,372-1,071 gives him a .562 winning percentage. Johnson is one of eight managers with win Manager of the Year in both the American and National Leagues.
Hank Peters was an executive that spent 42 years in major league baseball after serving in the military during WWII. His career began with the St Louis Browns where he eventually got into the scouting department. Peters later took a similar position with the Kansas City Athletics before becoming the President of minor league baseball. The minor leagues were struggling at the time and Peters was able to turn things around. Peters knew the importance of a strong minor league system and helped lay the foundation for the minor leagues we have today.
Seeing the success that Peters had as an executive, the Orioles targeted him for their front office. Peters signed on after the 1975 season becoming the Executive Vice President and General Manager of the O's. With the start of free agency in baseball in 1976, Peters was able to make moves that kept the Orioles competitive. He acquired Orioles legends Tippy Martinez and Rick Dempsey, while improving the farm system with players like Dennis Martinez, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr.
During Peter's tenure in Baltimore the Orioles won two pennants and one World Series. Peter's time in Baltimore eventually came to an end. He became President and COO of the Cleveland Indians where he spent the last four years of his career.
The Indians did not have success in the majors during his time, but he did acquire Sandy Alomar Jr and Carlos Baerga, and drafted Jim Thome, Manny Ramirez and Charles Nagy setting the foundation for what became a formidable team in the mid 90's.
Yes, Lou Piniella has ties to the Baltimore Orioles. He made his major league debut in 1964 with the O's just one week after he turned 21. Piniella appeared in just four games with the Birds that season going 0-1 in his lone plate appearance and did not have a ball hit to him in the field, but he was there.
Piniella played parts of 18 seasons in the majors, mostly with the Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees. He was the 1969 Rookie of the Year, an all-star in 1972 and a two time World Series Champion.
Piniella gained most of his recognition as a manager in the bigs. He managed for parts on 23 seasons in the major leagues with five different teams (New York Yankees, Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Chicago Cubs). Piniella won six division titles, one pennant and on World Series.
His World Series title with the 1990 Reds and his record setting 116 win season with the 2001 Seattle Mariners were his most notable seasons. Like Johnson, Piniella also won Manager of the Year in both leagues and won three times overall (1995, 2001 with the Mariners and 2008 with the Cubs). His 1,835 wins ranks 17th all time among managers.
The Hall of Fame has some say about what team each new electee will represent. It is preferred that the electee represent the team they had the biggest impact on in the Hall of Fame. Piniella likely won't be going in as an Oriole if elected, and Johnson probably won't either since he is nominated as a manager.
Peters spent much of his career in the Orioles organization and arguably made his biggest impact with that franchise. All of these men made significant contributions to the game of baseball and are deserving of this honor. Regardless of which team they'll represent, I'll be cheering for them.
The voting will take place during winter meetings and the results will be announced on "MLB Tonight" on December 3. Those who are elected to the Hall of Fame will be announced on January 23, 2024 with the annual BBWAA class.