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Rick Down, who coached Orioles to their greatest power season ever, dies at 68

Rick Down, who coached Orioles to their greatest power season ever, dies at 68

If you want to pinpoint the season when the Orioles began their obsessive love affair with the home run, it might be 1996, when Rick Down arrived to become the hitting coach and the star-studded O’s set the then-major league single-season homer record with 257 home runs.

Down, who died last weekend at 68 after a long illness, was a square-jawed, no-nonsense guy who served in that role for three seasons and was a big part of the club’s consecutive trips to the American League Championship Series in ‘96 and 1997.

He was one of those guys who never quite got over the top in the minor leagues, an outfielder who came up through the Montreal Expos system at a time when they had an...

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