Hank Peters

Henry John Peters (September 16, 1924 – January 4, 2015) was an American professional baseball executive who held senior management positions for the Kansas City Athletics, Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles of Major League Baseball between 1965 and 1991. During his dozen years as general manager of the Orioles (1976–87), Baltimore won two American League pennants (in 1979 and 1983) and the 1983 World Series championship. Peters was named The Sporting News Executive of the Year after both pennant-winning seasons.

In addition, as president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues (1972–75), Peters was the chief executive of minor league baseball and helped it survive one of the worst crises in its history.[1]

The native of St. Louis, Missouri, spent more than 40 years in organized baseball.

Hank Peters
1hank peters
Peters (left) talking to
Maryland Delegate Curt Anderson
BornSeptember 16, 1924
DiedJanuary 4, 2015 (aged 90)
NationalityAmerican
OccupationMajor League Baseball executive

Baseball career

Peters served in the United States Army during World War II in the European Theater of Operations.[2] After the war, he joined the St. Louis Browns (ancestors of the modern Baltimore Orioles) after answering a newspaper advertisement, and eventually worked his way into their scouting department. When the Browns left St. Louis for Baltimore after the 1953 season, Peters stayed in the Midwest. He spent 1954 as general manager of the Burlington Bees of the Class B Illinois–Indiana–Iowa League, then joined the front office of the Kansas City Athletics, newly transplanted from Philadelphia, in 1955.[1]

Kansas City Athletics

By 1960, Peters was in charge of the Athletics' scouting and minor league system. In the autumn of that year, Charlie Finley bought the team, and Peters became farm system director of the Cincinnati Reds. But after one season in Cincinnati, Peters returned to the Athletics and Finley, where he would work for the tempestuous owner for four full seasons and hold the title of general manager during the 1965 campaign.[3] Kansas City finished last in 1965, but it possessed at the big-league level (Bert Campaneris, Dick Green and Catfish Hunter) and in its farm system (Sal Bando, Rollie Fingers, Blue Moon Odom, Gene Tenace and others) a core of players that—after the franchise moved to Oakland in 1968—would help the A's win three consecutive world championships from 1972–74.

President of minor league baseball

After leaving Finley and the Athletics, Peters joined the Indians as director of player personnel and assistant general manager working under Gabe Paul from 1966–71, but the Indians had only one successful season (1968) during that six-year time frame. He then served as the sixth president in the history of the National Association, the umbrella group that governs the minor leagues, during a critical period. The minors had been suffering from over 20 years of plunging attendance, contraction and decline, and were in danger of extinction.[1] The short-season Northern League folded after the 1971 season, and other circuits like the Class A Carolina and Western Carolinas leagues, the short-season Northwest League and the Rookie-level Pioneer League, then operating with the bare minimum of four teams,[4] were in danger of collapse.

"We had so many leagues that were in danger of going out of business," Peters said. His response was to encourage the creation of "co-op" teams that received players from multiple MLB clubs to keep the struggling leagues afloat. "I spent a lot of my time trying to convince Major League Baseball that they really needed these leagues. I’m proud that we were able to create clubs, getting two or three players from this team and a few from another team and so on, so that we could put together an unaffiliated team and each league could have at least four teams. Some of those leagues that were in trouble are now strong and prosperous."[1]

Baltimore Orioles

After Frank Cashen's resignation in 1975, the Orioles—Peters' original organization—were in need of a new general manager. Peters accepted the challenge, taking the reins in Baltimore as baseball free agency was made possible by an arbitrator's ruling dismantling the reserve clause.

In his maiden season, 1976, Peters acted decisively with a flurry of trades with the Athletics and New York Yankees. Although one of his acquisitions, Reggie Jackson, played only one year as an Oriole before becoming a free agent himself (and a Yankee), Peters obtained future 18-game-winner Rudy May and three cornerstones of the Orioles' 1979 and 1983 pennant-winning teams: pitchers Scott McGregor and Tippy Martinez, and catcher Rick Dempsey.[2] The Baltimore farm system also would produce Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken, Jr., future Baseball Hall of Famers, and ace starting pitcher Mike Boddicker during Peters' tenure. But following the 1983 world championship, the Orioles went into decline, and after enduring their first back-to-back losing seasons in 1986–87 in almost 30 years, Peters was fired on October 5, 1987.[3]

Cleveland Indians

Less than a month later, on November 2, 1987, he returned to the Indians as their president and chief operating officer.[3] Although the Indians never compiled a winning record during Peters' four full years in the job, he lay the foundation for the strong Cleveland teams of the 1990s, signing youngsters Jim Thome, Manny Ramírez and Charles Nagy, and trading for Sandy Alomar, Jr. and Carlos Baerga.[2] He also brought John Hart from Baltimore to the Indians' organization; as Peters' hand-picked successor[5] as the club's top baseball operations executive, Hart would lead the Indians through their period of sustained success that began with their move to Jacobs Field in 1994, including American League titles in 1995 and 1997.

Personal

Peters was married to the former Dorothy Kleimeier, with whom he had a daughter and a son, until her death in 2010.[6] He died of complications from a stroke in Boca Raton, Florida on January 4, 2015, aged 90.[7]

References

  1. ^ a b c d Minor League Baseball official website
  2. ^ a b c Weber, Bruce (January 6, 2015). "Hank Peters, 90, Dies; Built Baseball Winners in Baltimore and Cleveland". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-06-08.
  3. ^ a b c "BaseballAmerica.com: Executive Database". Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  4. ^ Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 3rd edition. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 2007
  5. ^ cleveland.com
  6. ^ "Baseball executive Hank Peters dies". ESPN.com. Associated Press. January 4, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  7. ^ Klingaman, Mike (January 4, 2015). "Hank Peters, former Orioles GM, dies at 90". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
Preceded by
Pat Friday
Kansas City Athletics General Manager
1965
Succeeded by
Ed Lopat
Preceded by
Frank Cashen
Baltimore Orioles General Manager
19751987
Succeeded by
Roland Hemond
Preceded by
Peter Bavasi
Cleveland Indians President
19871991
Succeeded by
Rick Bay
Preceded by
Spec Richardson
Harry Dalton
Sporting News Major League Baseball Executive of the Year
1979
1983
Succeeded by
Tal Smith
Dallas Green
1965 Kansas City Athletics season

The 1965 Kansas City Athletics season was the eleventh for the franchise in Kansas City and the 65th in its overall history. It involved the A's finishing 10th in the American League with a record of 59 wins and 103 losses, 43 games behind the American League Champion Minnesota Twins. The paid attendance for the season was 528,344, the lowest in the major leagues (and the lowest ever by the A's in Kansas City). The club won 59 games, their worst showing since the A's moved to Kansas City.

1966 Kansas City Athletics season

The 1966 Kansas City Athletics season was the twelfth and penultimate season in Kansas City, and the 66th in overall franchise history. It involved the A's finishing 7th in the American League with a record of 74 wins and 86 losses, 23 games behind the World Champion Baltimore Orioles. Paid attendance for the season was 773,929. The pitching staff had an earned run average of 3.56, which ranked sixth in the American League.

1977 Baltimore Orioles season

The 1977 Baltimore Orioles season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Orioles finishing second in the American League East with a record of 97 wins and 64 losses.

1983 Baltimore Orioles season

The 1983 Baltimore Orioles season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Orioles finishing 1st in the American League East with a record of 98 wins and 64 losses. The season culminated with the winning of the 1983 World Series over the Philadelphia Phillies.

1991 Cleveland Indians season

The Cleveland Indians lost 105 games in 1991, the most in franchise history.

Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame

The following is a list of all members of the Baltimore Orioles' Hall of Fame, representing the most significant contributors to the history of the Baltimore Orioles professional baseball team. The hall of fame is on display at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland.

Bobby Bonner

Robert Averill Bonner (born August 12, 1956) is a former professional baseball player and currently a Baptist missionary.

He was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the third round of the 1976 MLB Draft. He played parts of four seasons in Major League Baseball, from 1980 and 1983, all for the Baltimore Orioles, primarily as a shortstop. Beginning on the evening of April 18, 1981, he had 12 at-bats in the longest professional baseball game ever played, 33 innings, between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings. Bonner was called up by the Orioles' in May 1981 to replace an injured Lenn Sakata. Orioles' general manager Hank Peters and Tom Giordano chose to call him up over Cal Ripken, Jr., the choice of Earl Weaver and the Orioles' coaching staff. Weaver remarked in an interview, "Bonner can play and our minor league people know what they're doing. But it seems to me if we need a guy like Ripken, who can hit the ball out of the park, he deserves a chance. Our main need is freakin' runs, and don't let anybody kid you." Bonner hit .296 in 1981, but was sent down after nine games at the end of May and made only one more appearance in 1981, on September 15.After retiring from baseball after the 1984 season, he became a missionary in Zambia, serving there for twenty-six years. Upon returning to the United States, he started International African Missions, an organization focused on getting missionaries and nationals help in all African countries.He is married to Becky.

Dan O'Brien Sr.

Daniel F. O'Brien Sr. (March 26, 1929 – January 16, 2017) was an American front office executive in Major League (MLB) and minor league baseball who served as the general manager of three American League West Division teams. He was the father of Dan O'Brien Jr., a former MLB general manager and scouting director.

Jimmy Williams (coach)

James Bernard Williams (May 15, 1926 – June 6, 2016) was a Canadian outfielder, coach and manager in minor league baseball and coach in Major League Baseball. A Toronto native, Williams threw and batted right-handed, stood 5 feet 10 inches (1.78 m) tall and weighed 180 pounds (82 kg). He is a member of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Williams graduated from De La Salle College School, where he played varsity baseball, hockey (as a right wing), football and lacrosse.

John Hart (baseball)

John Henry Hart (born July 21, 1948) is an American former Major League Baseball executive who served as the general manager of the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers and president of baseball operations for the Atlanta Braves. He also was the interim field manager of the Indians in 1989, third-base coach of the Baltimore Orioles in 1988, and a studio analyst for the MLB Network.

List of Cleveland Indians owners and executives

.

Mark Shapiro (sports executive)

Mark Shapiro (; born April 3, 1967) is a Canadian-American professional baseball executive, currently working as the president and CEO of the Toronto Blue Jays of Major League Baseball (MLB). He previously worked with the Cleveland Indians from 1991 to 2015, beginning in player development and ending as team president.

Phil Piton

Phillip P. Piton (January 14, 1903 – January 23, 1983) was an American baseball executive, whose most significant role was as president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues from 1964 through 1971. He was born in Columbus, Ohio.

Roland Hemond

Roland Hemond (born October 26, 1929 in Central Falls, Rhode Island) is a longtime executive in Major League Baseball who in 2007 returned to the Arizona Diamondbacks as special assistant to the president. His previous positions include stints as scouting director of the California Angels, general manager of both the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles, senior executive vice president of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and executive advisor to the general manager of the White Sox (2001–07).

Smuggler's Gold (film)

Smuggler's Gold is a 1951 American adventure film directed by William Berke and starring Cameron Mitchell, Amanda Blake and Carl Benton Reid.

Sporting News Executive of the Year Award

The Sporting News Executive of the Year Award was established in 1936 by Sporting News and is given annually to one executive — including general managers — in Major League Baseball.

Listed below in chronological order are the baseball executives chosen as recipients of the TSN Executive of the Year Award.

The Bamboo Saucer

The Bamboo Saucer is a 1968 science fiction film about competing American and Russian teams that discover a flying saucer in Communist China. The film was re-released at 90 minutes in 1969 under title Collision Course.

This was the final film of actors Dan Duryea and Nan Leslie.

Philadelphia Athletics (190154)
Kansas City Athletics (195567)
Oakland Athletics (1968present)

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