The organization began to operate normally with MacPhail in charge, Hamper said.

Richards continued to have a profound effect. To make sure his "way" of playing was taught throughout the system, he brought the Orioles' many minor league managers, including Earl Weaver, to the major league spring training camp. His way matured into a philosophy Weaver espoused for years as the Oriole Way.

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As a manager, Richards led the Orioles to their first .500 season in 1957, manipulating veterans such as catcher Gus Triandos, shortstop Willy Miranda, relief pitcher George Zuverink and third baseman George Kell, a future Hall of Famer who mentored Brooks Robinson.

Taciturn and unpredictable in the dugout, Richards intimidated the players but earned their respect.

"It looked like he had a headache about half the time because he was thinking so much about moves," said Fred Marsh, an infielder in 1955-56. "He was a very good manager, but he was tough on you. I was supposed to be a good bunter, and he sent me up one time to sacrifice and I popped up. When I got back to the bench, all he said was, 'I thought you could bunt.'"

Richards and MacPhail decided to go with younger players in 1959, and the Orioles' "Kiddie Corps" contended for the American League pennant in 1960 on the arms of Pappas and fellow pitchers Chuck Estrada, Jack Fisher and Steve Barber. The Orioles were in first place with 22 games to go before being swept by the Yankees in a New York showdown.

That year, as Triandos struggled to catch Hoyt Wilhelm's knuckleballs, Richards designed a large "pizza plate" of a glove for the catcher. Opponents objected. Richards responded by making it smaller, but the idea of the oversized catcher's mitt had been born.

Off the field, Richards' continuing feud with McLaughlin divided the organization and forced MacPhail to make a choice. McLaughlin was fired in 1960, replaced by Dalton.

Then, near the end of the 1961 season, Richards also departed to run Houston's expansion team.

He left the Orioles with a winning team and a well-stocked minor league system, quite an accomplishment given where he had started in 1954. Before leaving, he told reporters he hoped to be remembered when the Orioles won their first pennant.

They won the World Series five years later.

Richards never won a pennant in Chicago, Baltimore or Houston, but he helped lay a winning foundation in all three places. He died in 1986 at age 77.

"In all my years in baseball, I never knew anyone who knew more about the game," Brooks Robinson said.

But Hamper and Dalton say Richards should be lauded as much for his "reckless" spending as his teaching.

"Before he got here, the organizational mentality was not of championship caliber," Hamper said. "We could have just gone along like that and never done anything and never gotten any better. Richards got us going."