Len Johnston to receive Herb Armstrong Award
The Orioles will host their annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony this Saturday, August 7, prior to their game against the Chicago White Sox at Camden Yards. This year, the club will induct former pitching coach Ray Miller and manager Johnny Oates. Longtime baseball operations employee and current coordinator of operations at Bluefield, Len Johnston, will receive the Herb Armstrong Award given to non-uniformed personnel who have made significant contributions to the ballclub and the game of baseball.
“Work fast, change speeds, throw strikes” was the mantra of Ray Miller, who served all or part of 11 seasons during three different tenures as Orioles pitching coach (1978-85, 1997, 2004-05). He also spent the 1998 and 1999 seasons as the manager of the Orioles. Miller coached five different 20-game winners and two Cy Young Award winners with the Orioles. He was regarded as the pre-eminent pitching coach of his time with the Orioles and Pirates. From ‘78-‘85, the Orioles had the league’s second-best ERA, and he helped lower the 2004 team’s ERA more than a full run after taking over in late June.
Johnny Oates became only the third man to post a winning record while managing the Orioles for at least three full seasons. He had a 291-270 record in three and a half seasons as Orioles manager (1991-94). Oates guided the O’s to an 89-73 record in his first full season and then to an 85-77 mark in 1993, earning Manager of the Year honors from The Sporting News and serving as a coach for the American League All-Star team. He went on to manage Texas for six-plus seasons, including the Rangers’ first three post-season trips. A catcher, Oates began an 11-year playing career with the Orioles in 1970, later playing for four other big league clubs. He became Orioles first base coach in 1988 and served in that role until being named manager during the 1991 season. Diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor shortly after his tenure as Rangers’ manager, Oates passed away on December 24, 2004 at the age of 58.
For more than three decades, Len Johnston has served in the Orioles’ player development department as a scout, coach, manager, and camp coordinator, among other assignments. He joined the organization in 1976 as manager at Class-A Miami, having already played, coached and managed in the minor leagues for 24 years at that point. He oversaw the Orioles’ minor league and extended spring training camps for more than 20 years. Johnston was honored with the Cal Ripken Sr. Player Development Award in 2006 and has been instrumental in the on- and off-field education of every player who came through the Orioles farm system for more than 30 years.
In addition to the induction ceremony on Saturday, the Orioles and Oriole Advocates will also host a Hall of Fame Luncheon on Friday, August 6, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on the sixth floor of the Warehouse at Camden Yards. Tickets to the 2010 Hall of Fame Luncheon are $50 each. For more information or to order tickets, call 410-466-8242.