- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2005

BALTIMORE — As a reward for guiding the Baltimore Orioles through the most tumultuous two-month stretch in franchise history, Sam Perlozzo had the “interim” label removed from his job title yesterday and signed a three-contract as manager.

Perlozzo takes control of a team that has suffered through eight straight losing seasons, the longest such run since the Orioles moved from St. Louis in 1954.

“We’re going to go at it as hard as we can, and as long as we can, until we get a winner on this field,” he said, speaking within the warehouse that sits behind Baltimore’s home stadium. “I look for that to happen sooner than later.”

Perlozzo was promoted from bench coach to interim manager on Aug. 4, taking over for Lee Mazzilli after the Orioles lost 16 of 18 to sink into fourth place in the American League East.

Perlozzo’s job went far beyond filling out the lineup card, giving signs to base runners and summoning pitchers from the bullpen. He also had to serve as the voice of the organization as the Orioles endured the steroid suspension of Rafael Palmeiro, the termination of the contract of pitcher Sidney Ponson after two drunk driving arrests, and injuries to Sammy Sosa and Brian Roberts.

Though his 23-32 record was not spectacular, Perlozzo’s levelheaded approach under extreme conditions enabled him to retain the job.

“I think we made the determination late in the season,” said Mike Flanagan, who was promoted to executive vice president on Tuesday. “There’s an old expression: Rough seas make a great sea captain. I think we got to see the best of Sam in a very difficult time, and frankly, I was very impressed the way he handled the club on the field and in the clubhouse.”

Flanagan and Perlozzo will work together to end the Orioles’ record run of sub-.500 seasons. Perlozzo has endured every one of them; he spent five years as third base coach before becoming bench coach in 2001 under Mike Hargrove.

After Hargrove was fired in October 2003, Perlozzo interviewed for the job. He was spurned in favor of Mazzilli, and although Perlozzo was extremely disappointed, he dutifully continued to serve in his capacity as bench coach.

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