HomeMLB RumorsOrioles Owner Peter Angelos Passes Away

Orioles Owner Peter Angelos Passes Away

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Peter Angelos passed away today at age 94, as per an official statement from the Orioles and the Angelos family.  Angelos had been battling illness for the last few years and had left the public eye, and his son John took over as the Orioles’ chairman and control person in regards to official league business in 2020.

A Baltimore native, Angelos built his fortune through a renowned legal career, most notably a landmark consolidated action case in 1992 representing thousands of workers in various fields who had been exposed to asbestos over the course of their jobs.  Angelos led a group of investors that purchased the Orioles in 1993 for $173MM, and quickly established himself as something of a maverick within baseball’s ownership circles during the 1994-95 players’ strike.  Though the strike was settled before replacement players took the field for the 1995 season, Angelos’ refusal to use such players (who he viewed as scabs) drew some animosity from his fellow owners and respect from the MLBPA.

On the field, the Orioles went through plenty of ups and downs during Angelos’ tenure as owner.  There was little doubt about Angelos’ desire to win, as he immediately increased the team’s payroll and brought several big-name free agents into the fold, helping Baltimore reach the ALCS in both 1996 and 1997.  After that last ALCS appearance, however, the Orioles didn’t have another winning season until 2012, as Angelos was often accused of taking a heavy hand in baseball operations.  This manifested itself in a revolving door of managers and general managers, until things began to stabilize under Buck Showalter and executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette.  The Orioles had five seasons of .500 or better ball from 2012-16, including three postseason appearances and another trip to the ALCS in 2014.

The Orioles’ payrolls tended to fluctuate based on the team’s competitive level, and Baltimore ranked within the top ten of league spending as recently as the 2017 season.  Angelos had particular concerns about certain types of baseball-related investments, perhaps most notably a wariness about any kind of long-term guarantee to pitchers (especially pitchers with any sort of injury history).  Angelos was also famously critical of baseball’s international signing system, which resulted in the Orioles essentially sitting out for the international amateur market for several years.

John Angelos’ stewardship of the team brought about some changes to the Orioles’ business, as GM Mike Elias was given broad leeway to modernize and revamp the baseball operations department as part of a near-total rebuild.  The O’s posted losing records from 2017-21 (the latter three under Elias) before winning 83 games in 2022, and then bursting out to win 101 games and the AL East crown last season.  With an incredible core of young talent in place, the Orioles now look like World Series contenders both this season and perhaps for many years to come.

This new era of Orioles baseball will take place somewhat outside of the Angelos family, as it was announced in February that the team had been sold for $1.725 billion to a new ownership group led by David Rubenstein.  (John Angelos is still an investor in the Orioles.). The news of the sale followed years of speculation and drama about the future of the franchise, as legal and personal issues within the Angelos family and the Orioles’ expiring lease at Camden Yards in 2023 led to some concerns that the O’s could be sold or moved to another city.  As it turned out, the Orioles arranged a new lease to remain at Camden Yards for at least the next 15 years, and Rubenstein’s full purchase of the organization is expected to be approved by the league within a few weeks’ time.  Rubenstein was initially slated to take over 40 percent of the team, but now will take full ownership of the club as a result of the elder Angelos’ passing.

We at MLB Trade Rumors send our condolences to Angelos’ family, friends, and loved ones.

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