Loaded with bonus players and aging cast-offs—at least one from every other team in the American League—the Orioles will earn Paul Richards a handful of votes as Manager of the Year if they can beat their seventh-place finish of 1955. With a who's-on-first-second-and-third type of lineup, Richards hopes to get by with a lot of switching, testing and platooning against left-and right-handed pitching. The quasi-regulars range in age from Bonus Baby Wayne Causey, 19, all the way up to Veteran Dave Philley, 35. Willy Miranda is a fine defensive ballplayer at short, and the defense in general looks fair, leaving only two large problems: pitching and punch. No pitcher on the roster has ever won more than 15 games in the major leagues; Gus Triandos' 1955 output of 12 home runs is a Baltimore record. The Orioles, it appears, are still building.
7 WILLY MIRANDA, SHORTSTOP: A little switch-hitter with a mere .255 average, Miranda manages to hold up his end with a magician's touch at short. As a Yankee, he was not big enough to bench Rizzuto, but has become a big leaguer at Baltimore.
11 GUS TRIANDOS, FIRST BASE: Big and slow afoot but the best long-range hitter on the ball club, Triandos is one of the few Orioles that other major league teams would like to have. Fair defensively at first and a good catcher.
17 BILL WIGHT, PITCHER: This experienced left-hander is playing with his sixth American League team and appears ready for his best season. He is steady and has excellent control.
22 HAL SMITH, CATCHER: Like other members of the Oriole "big four," Smith once belonged to the Yankees. A fine young handler of pitchers, he should also hit well in his second major league season despite a weakness on inside pitches. May give way to Triandos against right-handers.
Looking just as good as Wight in spring training are three other veteran pitchers, all right-handers, who will probably round out the starting staff: Ray Moore, Jim Wilson, Erv Palica. Harry Dorish and George Zuverink are in relief. Causey will play against right-handers, alternating with aging Fred Marsh at third, while Bobby Adams (see below) appears set at second. Philley, a switch-hitting .299 batsman last year, is a fixture in one outfield spot; the others will be handled by a platoon which includes Chuck Diering, Jim Dyck, Dave Pope and Rookie Tito Francona. Bobby Hale, a .357 hitter in 67 games last year, has shown it was no fluke with his spring performance and will spell Triandos at first. Another first-base candidate, powerful Bob Boyd, who can really move, may go to the outfield.
NEWCOMERS TO WATCH
5 BOBBY ADAMS, SECOND BASE: A consistent .275 hitter who came to the Orioles from the White Sox, Adams should form a strong double-play combination with Miranda.
39 DON FERRARESE, PITCHER: Looks like a 160-pound Bobby Shantz, a catlike fielder and good hitter. Has a sharp left-handed curve, sizzling speed—and trouble with control. A strikeout sensation last year in the minors.
44 TITO FRANCONA, OUTFIELD: The power-hitting sensation of spring camp, he wasn't even on Oriole roster in March. Has apparently won outfield job and can also play first base.
Young pitchers Mel Held and Bob Harrison looked fine in minors during 1955, may get chance to start.
BOARD OF STRATEGY
12 PAUL RICHARDS, MANAGER: A Serious, exacting field boss who also doubles as general manager of the Orioles, Richards is famed as a baseball strategist, leaves much of the tactical work to his coaches. Once a catcher, he handles pitchers well, did a top job for the White Sox before going to Baltimore.
Coaches are ex-Cardinal Ace HARRY BRECHEEN (31), who works with pitchers; LUM HARRIS (26) and AL VINCENT (30), who handle coaching lines.
44 TITO FRANCONA