One of the best pitching coaches in Orioles history and one of only 20 men to manage the club, Ray Miller died Tuesday at age 76.
The Takoma Park native had three different stints as Baltimore’s pitching coach, overseeing Hall of Famers and 20-game winners while helping the Orioles to three playoff appearances, the 1979 American League pennant, and the 1983 World Series championship. Miller also served as manager of the Orioles from 1998-99, compiling a 157-167 record and overseeing the club when Cal Ripken decided to end his incredible record streak of 2,632 consecutive games played late in the 1998 season.
“Work fast, change speeds, throw strikes” was Miller’s coaching mantra that has long been repeated in Baltimore baseball history.
“His legacy will forever be enshrined in our organization’s history, having guided some of the greatest Orioles pitchers including Jim Palmer, Mike Flanagan, Scott McGregor, Steve Stone, and Mike Boddicker,” the Orioles said in a released statement. “We send our deepest condolences to his beloved family and his many friends throughout our great game.”
Upon finishing his minor league playing career, Miller began coaching at Triple-A Rochester in the mid-1970s and became the Orioles pitching coach in 1978, serving under managers Earl Weaver and Joe Altobelli until becoming manager of the Minnesota Twins during the 1985 season. Miller was dismissed by the Twins in 1986 and then spent a decade as the pitching coach of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Returning to the Orioles as Davey Johnson’s pitching coach in 1997, Miller turned around a staff that improved its ERA from an ugly 5.14 in 1996 to 3.91, which was second best in the AL. That improvement helped the Orioles win their first AL East championship in 14 years, but Johnson resigned after the season over a dispute with club owner Peter Angelos, who then appointed Miller has the new manager. Miller found difficulty transitioning to that role and lasted only two seasons, but he returned for a final stint as Orioles pitching coach under Lee Mazzilli from 2004-05.
In 2010, Miller was elected to the Orioles Hall of Fame where he joined George Bamberger, his original predecessor as Baltimore’s pitching coach.