His stay with the Baltimore Orioles has been brief -- only a half-season. But now Ernie Accorsi is about to move on to a position of high executive responsibility with the New York Giants, an organization that traditionally has made few changes within its front office.
A job of assistant to general manager George Young has been offered Accorsi and he'll accept within the next 24 hours. His appointment will mean a return to the familiar territory of the National Football League.
Although he was with the Orioles for only four months, the experience provided Accorsi with an insightful view of the "grand ol' game."
He says, "The biggest change for me was having a game every day, instead of just once a week. That's good and bad. You suffer with every defeat. In football, if you lose Sunday, you have to wait until the next Sunday to play again. Because of that, I'd say football is more emotional and baseball more of a ritual."
Still, he thoroughly welcomes the overture made to him by the Giants and the chance to join one of the prestige organizations in the NFL. The Giants have always been a first-rate operation, owned originally by Tim Mara Sr., who paid $100 for the franchise in 1925.
Its ownership is now shared by the Mara family and Bob Tisch, the hotel/theater magnate, who was enthralled with putting an expansion club in Baltimore until he got the opportunity to buy half-interest in what was his hometown team, the Giants.
Accorsi will not need to be introduced. He worked with Young and his assistant, Harry Hulmes, in the past and all three have a Baltimore background -- Young as scout and assistant coach for the Colts and Hulmes as a former publicity director and general manager of the same club. Hulmes also was associated with the Orioles' business operation in the early 1950s, giving both him and Accorsi links to both Baltimore teams.
"It's an ideal arrangement for me," Accorsi commented. "Peter Angelos knows how pleased I am at this opportunity. When I told him I was seriously considering the position, he asked I 'sleep on it' overnight and talk it over the next day. I hope I convinced him how positive I am for the chance to join the Giants. It's something I didn't solicit but which, after discussion with the Giants, I visualize as a perfect situation for the present and future."
Accorsi's main responsibilities with the Orioles were in the area of business affairs and public relations. His personality is such he is quick to make friends and has a profound understanding of sports, which makes him an ideal representative for a professional team both in meeting spectators and dealing with the media.
After being an advisor to the Maryland Stadium Authority in its pursuit of an NFL expansion team last year, and winning plaudits for a job well done, he was reported as a possible general manager for the Baltimore CFL Colts but politely declined. Shortly thereafter, a close friend in the Baltimore business community talked with Angelos and he was subsequently hired by the Orioles.
"I can't thank Peter Angelos enough," said Accorsi. "I have conveyed the depth of my gratitude and also told him of the respect I hold for him. He understands my motivation to be back in football. It's what I want to do. He is also aware of the reputation the Giants have earned over the years, rather the decades, and has extended personal and professional wishes."
Accorsi will continue to share a residence in the area with his son, Michael, but expects to join the Giants within the week. No doubt, he'll have a responsibility of monitoring the new salary cap that has been implemented in the NFL, plus working with Young and Hulmes on the various aspects of front office administration, both in a business and football way.
A native of Hershey, Pa., where the Colts and Philadelphia
Eagles trained in the past, he grew up enthralled with pro football. He later attended Wake Forest College and hoped to play college golf but it was evident the course was so crowded with the likes of Jay Sigel and Jay Haas that he couldn't compete at their level, so he decided to join a newspaper.
Ernie became a sports writer, working for the Charlotte News, the Baltimore Evening Sun and the Philadelphia Inquirer before becoming sports information director at St. Joseph's College and then joining the Penn State University athletic office. This led to a PR job with the Colts, an assistant's post on the staff of NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle and, ultimately, general manager positions with the Colts and Cleveland Browns.
"I have the highest of respect for George Young and Harry Hulmes of the Giants," Accorsi said. "I am excited and optimistic over what this represents. I feel it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Regardless of how I looked at it, I knew it was what I should do."
If Accorsi has any regrets, it's his association with the Orioles was so brief. Only last week, he was in Chicago with assistant general manager Frank Robinson, attending a meeting on next year's proposed American League schedule. Now he's bound for a different role in a game, football, to which he has devoted almost half his life and needs no introduction to its basic functions and subtleties.
And yet still a another new chapter begins for a qualified man deserving the best of what the professional sports industry has to offer.