The buzz around baseball is that by hiring Pat Gillick, the Orioles made a brilliant move.
"Pat Gillick is the stroke of genius that sets the tone for many years of future success in Baltimore," said agent Jeff Moorad, who represents Orioles outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds.
And hiring Gillick may help them land Alomar, the Toronto Blue Jays' coveted free-agent second baseman whom Gillick traded for in December 1990.
"The fact that he had experience with Pat Gillick and Pat Gillick knows him, I would expect that to be a plus," said John Boggs, Alomar's San Diego-based marketing agent. "Whether he goes with Baltimore over other clubs, there's a lot of other factors. But Pat Gillick brings nothing but positives to the organization."
Roland Hemond, Orioles general manager from 1988 to 1995, had nothing but kind words for his successor.
"His record speaks for itself," Hemond said. "He's an outstanding baseball person and a great guy."
Hemond heard the news while at the offices of the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he is the director of player personnel. He said his former organization picked a good baseball man.
"I'm proud to see the Orioles get someone of his ability and his caliber," Hemond said. "I think he will be a great asset to the organization."
Doug Melvin, a former assistant Orioles general manager, seemed Hemond's heir apparent before taking the Texas Rangers' GM job after the 1994 season. Melvin owes the start of his professional baseball career to Gillick.
Gillick, then the farm director for the New York Yankees, signed Melvin in 1975 as a walk-on minor-league pitcher. When Melvin eventually went from aspiring player to aspiring general manager, he had found a role model.
"People who have wanted to become general managers have wanted to be Pat Gillick," Melvin said. "He's someone I always looked up to once I decided to get into this management side."
One of Gillick's close friends, Houston Astros president Tal Smith, said he knew Gillick needed to to return to the game, but did not know how. At one time, Gillick had been rumored to be a candidate for baseball's next commissioner. "I knew he wanted to get back, but I didn't think it would be as the general manager of a baseball team," Smith said.
Agents who negotiate with Gillick said they are pleased by his return because they respect his baseball knowledge and his people skills.
One of Moorad's Toronto clients, outfielder Shawn Green, said every time Green sees Gillick, Gillick asks about his father, his mother, his sister and his high school baseball coach. By name.
Two years ago, when Gillick was pursuing another Moorad client, former Orioles closer Gregg Olson, Gillick surprised Olson by meeting him at the Atlanta airport. Then he flew with Olson to Birmingham, Ala., and sat in on Olson's examination by Dr. James Andrews.
Gillick made a reputation by turning Toronto club into a two-time World Series winner. The World Series part sounded good to Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro, who heard the news last night on ESPN.
"That was a great move," Palmeiro said from his Texas home. "I know he's worked for the Blue Jays and built the teams that won two championships. That's only going to help."
Ron Shapiro, Cal Ripken's Baltimore-based agent, said the nonstop shortstop also is pleased with the decision to hire Gillick.
"I've talked to several players about it," Shapiro said. "Anyone of Cal's caliber who's been in the game as long as Cal's been in the game would applaud the hiring of Pat Gillick to run the ball team he knows and loves."
Moorad said Orioles fans already should be cheering.
"It's a perfect fit for Baltimore," he said. "Pat's the prototype general manager. He finds every edge, he makes use of every edge, and his success speaks for itself."