Grover's birthday

Actually, this blog entry is brought to you by the letter H, for "Hargrove."

I'm sending out warm birthday wishes to former Orioles manager Mike Hargrove, who turned 61 today.

Grover managed the Orioles for four seasons after guiding the Indians to five consecutive AL Central titles and two appearances in the World Series.

If I'm Hargrove, I'm not taking Jose Mesa's calls.

Hargrove never really had the personnel in Baltimore to compete against the heavyweights in the AL East, and a series of bad trades at the 2000 non-waiver deadline set the club back for years.

Where have you gone, Luis Rivera? Give our regards to Jose Leon and Jason Lakman. Same with Fernando Lunar and Mike Nussbeck if they're around.

Nobody's bragging about the '99 draft, either. Seven of the first 50 picks and...why even go there anymore?

Hargrove compiled a 275-372 record with the Orioles before being let go following the 2003 season. The reporters covering the team gathered in his office at Yankee Stadium after the final game, knowing that he wouldn't return in 2004. We hung back after members of the New York media walked out the door, a potentially awkward moment, and the first words out of Hargrove's mouth were, "You guys are the best."

His teams weren't even close, but it wasn't all his fault. Not by a long shot.

The biggest knock on Hargrove was his stubborn loyalty to the veterans. You can check the rosters during his four seasons and try to come up with a better solution.

If you're curious, here's the box score from his final game.

At last check, Hargrove was still managing the Liberal BeeJays, a semi-professional team in Liberal, Kansas that used to employ him as a player in 1972.

Hargrove left the Mariners after 2 ½ seasons, citing burnout, but wants to get back into the majors. If he can't find a managing job, and I never hear his name attached to one, he'd settle for a scouting role.

I hope he gets another chance, but in the meantime, Happy Birthday Grover.

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