If there is a coach on the current Oriole staff who signifies a return to the vaunted “Oriole Way,” that coach would be John Shelby (Terry Crowley would also qualify). Shelby was drafted by the Orioles in the first round back in 1977 and made his major league debut in 1981 with the team. He also was a member of the 1983 World Series Championship team. So it’s certain he was schooled in what once was, and may be again, the organizational mantra.
Shelby spent parts of 11 seasons in the Orioles organization, and was then traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1987. The next year, he was on another World Series champion, as the underdog Dodgers beat the favored Oakland A’s. After being released from the Dodgers, he finished his career with the Detroit Tigers.
Once out of baseball, he began managing in the minor leagues. He was a manager for five years, one with an independent club and four years in the Dodgers organization. While his managerial record was under .500, he no doubt put to use some of the principles he learned from his days with the Orioles. Upon leaving the Dodgers, he spent time coaching in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, where he served in the roles he now occupies with the Orioles.
Since joining the Orioles coaching staff in 2007, Shelby has been the first base coach and also works with the outfielders, much as he did in his other coaching stops. The work that Shelby has done with the outfielders is evident, particularly with Adam Jones and Nick Markakis. Markakis is always among the league leaders in assists and Jones is improving each year (though some think he plays a bit too shallow). It will be interesting to see what he does with Nolan Reimold and the reserves.
If returning to the Oriole Way is what the organization wants to do, it certainly can’t hurt to have John Shelby on the coaching staff. However, fans are wanting to see some results on the major league field, beginning this season.