Joe Altobelli, Manager of Orioles' 1983 World Series Team, Dies at Age 88

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMarch 3, 2021

The Baltimore Orioles logo is seen on a dugout during a baseball spring training workout Thursday, Feb. 21, 2013, in Sarasota, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

Former Major League Baseball player and manager Joe Altobelli died on Wednesday at the age of 88. 

The Rochester Red Wings announced the news, noting that Altobelli died of natural causes.

The Baltimore Orioles, who were managed by Altobelli from 1983-85, issued a statement about the Michigan native:

"The Orioles are saddened to learn of the passing of former manager Joe Altobelli, who led Baltimore to a World Series championship in 1983, his first season at the helm. A tremendous leader, Altobelli’s compassion, skill and baseball expertise contributed to the Hall of Fame careers of Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, and Cal Ripken, Jr. We send our sympathies to Altobelli’s family and many friends throughout the game."

Per Justin Murphy and Sean Lahman of the Rochester Democrat and ChronicleAltobelli's MLB career began in 1951 when he was signed as an amateur free agent by Cleveland. He appeared in 166 games with Cleveland and the Minnesota Twins over three seasons between 1955-61. 

After moving into the coaching ranks in 1966, Altobelli was hired as manager of the San Francisco Giants prior to the 1977 season. He spent three years with the organization before being fired after the 1979 campaign. 

The Orioles hired Altobelli to take over when Earl Weaver retired following the 1982 season. He led the franchise to a World Series title in his first year and went 212-167 in two-plus years before Weaver returned to manage midway through the 1985 season. 

The final game Altobelli managed came on May 21, 1991, when he served as the interim skipper for the Chicago Cubs after Don Zimmer was fired.

Per the Red Wings, who are now the Washington Nationals' Triple-A affiliate, Altobelli "filled more roles for the organization than anyone else serving as a player, coach, manager, general manager, assistant to the president and radio analyst." He spent four years as the GM following his MLB management career, helping the organization move to a new ballpark in 1997.

Altobelli was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame in 2008 and won three International League titles as a manager of the Rochester Red Wings (1971, 1976) and Columbus Clippers (1980).