From every account, Eddie Murray left a strong impression with the Orioles on Thursday when he interviewed for their vacant managerial post, but the club moved on with its search yesterday, and the whole picture began to crystallize.
The Orioles set up their next interview with bench coach Sam Perlozzo, who is believed to be Murray's primary challenger for the job.
Because of scheduling conflicts for Orioles vice presidents Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan, Perlozzo's interview won't take place until Oct. 14. That same week leading up to the World Series, the Orioles will probably interview Orioles first base coach Rick Dempsey and Milwaukee Brewers bench coach Rich Dauer.
"There could be others [to interview]," Flanagan said, without getting into specific names.
Club sources said the Orioles will likely interview Triple-A Ottawa manager Gary Allenson, but as of yesterday, that was the only other name known to be under consideration.
There has been widespread media speculation that the Orioles also were considering Boston Red Sox bench coach Jerry Narron and New York Yankees third base coach Willie Randolph. But yesterday, club sources said those names are not on a narrowing list of candidates.
Reached on his cell phone yesterday, Perlozzo said he's looking forward to telling Beattie and Flanagan what he could do if given the chance to manage the Orioles.
"I'm flattered that they're going to have me in there," he said. "I'm very close to the ballclub; I've been there for eight years. I know the players, I know the personnel, and I think I just have a head start on keeping the organization on track and taking it to the next level."
Perlozzo, 52, interviewed for the same job in 1999, before the Orioles hired Mike Hargrove, who was fired Monday. Perlozzo remained with the team, spending the 2000 season as third base coach and the next three years as bench coach.
"I thought I did an adequate job [in the 1999 interview] to be named manager," Perlozzo said. "I got stuck in a situation where Mike Hargrove became available, and with the track record he had in Cleveland, it was a pretty easy decision at that point.
"I'm going to give it another crack. I'm the same guy. I've been in the organization an extra four years, so I think I'm more prepared that way. I've been the bench coach the last three years, and I think I have a little more to give in that area [game management]. I'm a little more well-rounded."
Besides the four years he spent working under Hargrove, Perlozzo also has spent five years under Davey Johnson (two with the Orioles, three with the New York Mets), two years under former Orioles manager Ray Miller, and six years under Lou Piniella, including three in Cincinnati and three in Seattle.
Last year, Perlozzo was one of 12 candidates to interview for the Mariners' managing job. Seattle narrowed the list to four finalists and came close to hiring Perlozzo before going with Bob Melvin.
"It was a tremendous experience," Perlozzo said. "I think it was as thorough of a process as you're going to get. I could be wrong, but I think I'm very much prepared for the questions they're going to be asking me [on Oct. 14]."
NOTES: Greg Biagini, who coached for the Orioles under former manager Johnny Oates from 1992 to 1994 and later coached for the Texas Rangers, died of cancer in Oklahoma City yesterday. He was 51. ... The Orioles passed outfielder Pedro Swann, designated hitter Carlos Mendez and catcher Robert Machado through waivers and assigned them to Triple-A Ottawa.