Former Orioles, Brewers GM Harry Dalton dead at 77

Updated: October 23, 2005, 10:33 PM ET
Associated Press

CAREFREE, Ariz. -- Harry Dalton, who spent more than four decades as an executive with the Baltimore Orioles, California Angels and Milwaukee Brewers and completed one off baseball's most lopsided trades, died Sunday. He was 77.

Dalton died from complications of Parkinson's disease.

Dalton was voted into the Halls of Fame for both the Orioles and Brewers. His clubs reached the World Series five times. Baltimore won the title in 1966 and 1970, and much of its success was the result of the deal he made to bring Frank Robinson to town.

Robinson was 30 in December 1965 and at the time, the Cincinnati Reds considered him past his prime. In a deal that Lee MacPhail started before leaving Baltimore for the commissioner's office, Dalton finished off his first trade as the Orioles' GM -- he acquired Robinson from the Reds for pitchers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun and outfielder Dick Simpson.

Robinson went on to win the Triple Crown in 1966 and led the Orioles to their first World Series title. Robinson was later voted into the Hall of Fame.

"He was what I call a very good general manager," Robinson told The Associated Press on Sunday night. "Very good with the players, stayed out of our things. He let his managers run the team.

"He was just kind of a guy there. If you wanted to talk to him about any problems you had, you could talk to him. He was a very sharp baseball man," the Washington Nationals manager said.

Among Dalton's managers was Earl Weaver. Dalton promoted him to the job in the middle of the 1968 season, and Weaver launched his Hall of Fame career.

Dalton was a proponent of building a farm system, and did it by relying on scouts who were called the "Dalton Gang." Atlanta GM John Schuerholz and former Boston GM Dan Duquette were among the many young executives who learned under Dalton.

After the Orioles lost the 1971 World Series to Pittsburgh, Dalton became GM of the Angels and spent six years with them. Following the 1977 season, he moved to Milwaukee and took over the Brewers' baseball operations.

In December 1980, Dalton bolstered the Brewers by getting pitchers Rollie Fingers and Pete Vuckovich and catcher Ted Simmons in a trade with St. Louis.

During the 1982 stretch, Milwaukee traded for Don Sutton, who helped pitch Milwaukee into its only World Series. The Brewers lost in seven games to St. Louis.

"I am terribly saddened to learn of the passing of Harry Dalton," commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement from the World Series. "He was one of the great general managers of our generation. I was fortunate to have him serve as general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers from 1978 through 1991."

Dalton retired in 1994, ending a 41-year career in baseball.

After he graduated from Amherst College, Dalton served in the U.S. Air Force for three years, mostly in Korea and Japan, and was presented the Bronze Star.

Dalton is survived his wife, Patricia, three daughters and two grandchildren.


Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press

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