Much anticipation but little unusual accompanied the four-week process that brought Mike Hargrove to Baltimore on Wednesday afternoon as the Orioles' new manager.
Hargrove possessed the most distinguished resume of nine candidates to interview with the Orioles' five-man advisory committee. His selection surprised few and, judging by the unscientific forum of talk radio, pleased many who had lamented the team's performance the past two seasons.
The least ordinary aspect of Hargrove's hiring remains the composition of his coaching staff, still incomplete but potentially including as many as three men who interviewed for the Orioles' managerial vacancy.
Hargrove contacted third base coach Sam Perlozzo and bench coach Eddie Murray late Wednesday to offer positions on his staff. A third runner-up, first base coach Marv Foley, has not been contacted but could be retained or asked to return to manage Triple-A Rochester.
Foley's contract is unique among last season's coaches because it does not expire until the end of December. The contracts of Perlozzo, Murray and bullpen coach Elrod Hendricks expired Monday.
Hendricks said he had not been contacted by Hargrove or club officials. Having spent the past 22 seasons in an Orioles uniform, Hendricks is expected to be retained.
"I still have to wait and hear what they have to say. Nothing is ever etched in stone," Hendricks said. "I don't know who've they've called or who has been selected out of the group or who they've asked back."
Hargrove's staff apparently will be a mix of personal preference and organizational continuity. He will search out his own pitching coach and bring at least one other coach with him, while majority owner Peter Angelos asked that a number of holdover coaches be given the opportunity to stay.
On Wednesday, Hargrove expressed no reservations with the arrangement, including the prospect of retaining coaches who aspired to the same job.
"I want people working for me who want to manage. I don't want them wanting my job," Hargrove said. "I want people with ambition. I don't want people who are just happy to be here."
Before going on vacation, Hargrove phoned hitting coach Terry Crowley yesterday morning. Though Crowley already had been assured of his return by club officials, he said he was happy to hear from the new manager.
"It's nice to have things start to settle down," Crowley said. "There were a lot of good candidates for the job. I think the fact that Mike had experience and did so well in Cleveland made the difference.
"I'm looking forward to working for him. He's familiar with my work; I'm familiar with him."
Club sources said that Hargrove's search for a pitching coach might include an interview of incumbent Bruce Kison, whose contract runs through next season. If Hargrove looks elsewhere, Kison will be offered the chance to remain in the organization, sources said.
Perlozzo, the team's third base coach the past four seasons, nearly overcame a lack of major-league managerial experience to win the Orioles' top job, according to sources familiar with Angelos' thinking.
Before returning as a coach, Perlozzo said he needed to hear Hargrove express a desire for him to stay.
"I told him that Peter had assured me of a position but that I wanted to hear it from him," Perlozzo said. "He said he thought I did an outstanding job at third and that he was looking forward to working with me. That's what I wanted to hear."
Whether Perlozzo will remain third base coach is less clear. Hargrove is believed to be interested in hiring Jeff Newman, a longtime major-league catcher who worked the third base box during Har- grove's last eight seasons with the Indians and has since received his release in Cleveland.
If Newman is hired, he or Perlozzo likely will be the team's bench coach, which would also mean a change in Murray's duties. Perlozzo has served as a third base coach for the past 13 seasons, a major-league high.
"My heart's here. My kids are here. My daughter's at Towson [University]. Unless things are really out of kilter, I enjoy being here. This is the right thing for me -- to be here," said Perlozzo, who lives in Cumberland.
Perlozzo, 48, had never before been granted an interview for a major-league managerial opening. Though admittedly disappointed in coming so close to realizing a career dream, Perlozzo called his experience with Angelos "outstanding."
"For me, it went well beyond what I had expected a month ago, but it didn't surprise me somebody would like what I offered. What surprised me is I got the chance, and once I got the chance it didn't surprise me that I made a strong impression," Perlozzo said.
"I wanted the opportunity to go through the process. I was given ample opportunity to do that. I'm thankful for that. I think I learned a lot. It's a positive. And I still get to be where I wanted to be."
Perlozzo insisted it would not be awkward working in Hargrove's dugout.
"This guy has won five division titles," he said. "I certainly can't dispute that or be upset about that. If it was someone with lesser credentials, it would have been a different story. But I'm looking forward to this and the opportunity to learn from Mike."