FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- There isn't any question in the Orioles' camp that Earl Weaver should be elected to the Hall of Fame when the Veterans Committee votes this afternoon.
The former Orioles manager is on the ballot's "short list" in his first year of eligibility after retiring following the 1986 season.
The Veterans Committee, which oversees the election of all non-playing personnel as well as players who have been out of the game for more than 23 years, meets today in Tampa. It may elect as many as two new Hall of Fame members, but no more than one from each of the playing and non-playing categories.
"If any manager deserves to be in -- he [Weaver] should go in," said John Oates, the current Orioles manager. "My one regret is that I didn't have the opportunity to play for him more than I did.
"There's a right way to play and, in my opinion, a wrong way to play," said Oates, who played only one full season (1972) under ** Weaver, but was in the major-league training camp three times. "He did it the right way.
"We have tried to pattern our spring training after the camps he ran 15 years ago," said Oates. "His record speaks for itself -- that's the bottom line."
Weaver's winning percentage (.583, 1,480-1,060) ranks as the sixth best all-time. His five 100-win seasons ties him for second on the all-time list with Joe McCarthy, behind only Connie Mack, who had six such years in more than 50 years of managing.
Weaver's teams won three straight pennants (1969-71), four overall and in one stretch (1969-74) won five division titles in six years. He still holds the record for most games managed (22) and won (15) in the American League Championship Series. The team won the World Series.
"He definitely deserves to be there," said Jim Palmer, himself a Hall of Famer and a pre-game visitor here last night. "They say it's tough for a first-timer to get past that committee, but if he doesn't get in this year, it's just a matter of time in my opinion."
Rookie right-hander Mike Mussina achieved a spring training rarity when he blanked the Yankees for four innings here last night.
The outing gave Mussina the equivalent of a cumulative no-hitter. In three outings, covering nine innings, Mussina has yet to allow a hit. He has allowed only two base runners, via walks in his second outing.
Mussina has struck out 10 in the nine innings he's worked, four last night, three of them on called third strikes.
Mussina's effort last night lowered the earned run average of Orioles' starting pitchers to 0.82 after 11 games. In that span the starters have yielded only three earned runs -- every other team in baseball has at least one starter who has allowed as many, or more.
Another win for O's
The Orioles ran their exhibition record to 8-3 with last night's 5-0 win over the Yankees. Jose Mesa joined Mussina with four shutout innings and Jim Poole made his preseason debut by pitching a scoreless ninth.
Mike Devereaux, playing for the first time in four days, doubled in a pair of first-inning runs against Melido Perez. Bill Ripken had two doubles and scored two runs, and Cal Ripken, Joe Orsulak and Glenn Davis each had an RBI, the latter's coming on a booming double to the left-center field fence.
All but Horn
With Poole having made his debut, every Oriole except designated hitter Sam Horn has seen action in the 11 exhibition games.