I have the unfortunate task of passing along some sad news. The Orioles lost another member of their family when former outfielder Curt Motton died last night at age 69.
Only a year ago, Motton appeared to be in good health. Friends were shocked when he was diagnosed with stomach cancer, and his courageous battle ended last night.
Motton played eight seasons in the majors, seven of them with the Orioles. He was a part of the 1969, '70 and '71 World Series teams.
Motton also served as a coach under Frank Robinson, and he later scouted for the Orioles.
"He was just one of the nicest guys you ever wanted to meet," said former Orioles pitcher and current MASN broadcaster Dave Johnson. "His nickname was 'Cuz.' He treated you like family. A super guy."
"I just saw a guy in the store a few days ago and he was so nice, so friendly, and I thought to myself, 'Man, he reminds me of Curt Motton,'" said hitting coach Terry Crowley.
"Cuz was at the top of the list for teammates. We had similar roles. He was basically the right-handed pinch-hitter and I was basically the left-handed pinch-hitter. And we won the Series together in '70.
"He was a really good player. Terrific minor league numbers. And like so many of us, when he got to the big leagues with the Orioles, the starting lineup was basically an All-Star team. There was no free agency and positions were pretty much locked down. But he always did a good job. Sometimes, with a guy like that, you wonder what he could have done if he was on a team that wasn't that good and he could have played more.
"He could tell it like it was, too. That was one of the things I liked most about him. Pure honesty. An honest, honest soul. A great guy. And as honest and pure a person as you'd ever want to know."
I met Motton during his time as a scout, and I completely understand what Crowley and Johnson are saying. Everybody loved the man. And he remained close to the organization through the years by making various appearances and participating in clinics, even as his health was failing.
Motton's passing comes five months before the Orioles hold a reunion for the '70 world championship team. We've also lost Elrod Hendricks, Johnny Oates, Dave McNally, Mark Belanger, Mo Drabowsky, Chico Salmon, Roger Freed, Jim Hardin, Marcelino Lopez and coaches George Bamberger and George Staller.
Click here to read about Motton's heroics in Game 2 of the 1969 ALCS.
Update: Visitation will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 27 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Vaughn Greene Funeral Home in Randallstown. A wake for family and friends will be held on Thursday, Jan. 28 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., with a service to follow, at Vaughn Greene. The place of internment is to be determined.