Friends gather to say goodbye to Orioles GM Roland Hemond

RUTH'S CHRIS Steak House on Water Street was the scene of a gala going-away party for former Orioles's GM Roland Hemond, who is heading to Phoenix, to help the Arizona Diamondbacks put a team together for 1998.

The party was given by his friends, Steve de Castro, owner of Ruth's Chris; and attorney Dick Gordon and his wife, Gloria. Hemond, who came with his son and daughter-in-law, Jay and Sharon, was bid a fond farewell by Merleand Elrod Hendricks, O's bullpen coach; Syd Thrift, O's director of player development; Don Buford, assistant director player development; Curt Motton special scout; Matt Slater, scouting administrator; Fred and Pat Uhlman, special assistant to GM; Maria and Harold Baines, Orioles designated hitter; Richie and Carol Bancells, he's head trainer; Jamie and Jean Reed, he's an O's trainer; Lenny and Sue Gordon, he's a mortgage banker; Bernhard Kloppenburg, ARAMARK executive; Steve Geppi, Diamond Comics Distributors and part owner of the Orioles; Mike Whipple, GM Sheraton Inner Harbor; and Phil Itzoe, O's traveling secretary.


Mr. and Mrs. David Burdette arrived with a special poem. Also there were two of Hemond's former Coast Guard buddies and their wives -- Mr. and Mrs. Hank Rogers and Mr. and Mrs. Bob Yuhas. Others at the party were Dr. and Mrs. Charles Silverstein; Frank Sliwka, founder of the Tops in Sports Banquet; Icy and Michael Kanfer, he's CFO for a candy and tobacco distributor and she's an attorney; and Robert Saunders, he's a Josten's VP.

The biggest surprise was an appearance by Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr, from Eugene, Ore., a lifelong hero of Hemond's. Frank Robinson, assistant general manager, was the last scheduled speaker, but Hemond got in the last word. "Roland," Robinson said, "it's been wonderful to work with you and some of your knowledge has certainly rubbed off on me. I want you to know that I really, really love you." Hemond replied, "Frank, you can have my job, but you can't have my Bud Light!"


To finance cancer research

Local and national celebrities were at the Omni Hotel recently to play a role in raising money for pediatric cancer research. The occasion was the third annual Pediatric Oncology Friends All-Star benefit dinner dance and auction. The group is made up of volunteers, many of whom have had children treated and cured of cancer at Hopkins.

Enough cannot be said for "Homicide" stars like Isabella Hofman and Richard Belzer and his wife Harlee McBride. They were joined by Callie Khouri,"Thelma and Louise" and "Something to Talk About" screenwriter; and Irene Bedard, best-known as the voice and likeness of "Pocahantas."

It was great to see novelist Tom Clancy arrive with his wife, Wanda, and two of their children.

Local celebs who pitched in to help were WQSR's Rouse and Company, that wild and wacky radio morning team made up of Steve Rouse, Linda Sherman and Tom Davis, with Bonnie Becker on his arm; Channel 13's Marty Bass; and Channel 2's Scott Garceau and Orioles Mike Flanagan, Elrod Hendricks, Don Buford. O's owner Peter Angelos was a no-show because of a labor dispute at the Omni, which has informational picket lines outside.

One highlight was a delightful performance by Children Around the World, a group that I first heard perform during the Pope's visit to Baltimore.

For two years, the Lasky Family Foundation has sponsored this event. I chatted with Mike Lasky, founder and chairman of Inphomation Communications, who is interested in pediatric oncology because his brother, died of melanoma and he once had melanoma.

I enjoyed meeting Dr. Curt Civin and his wife, Nancy, he's the director of the Oncology Center; Friends chair Ginny Mitchell, one of the center's most active volunteers since her son died 13 years ago from cancer; and event chair Kathy Kastan.