Peter G. Angelos passes at 94: His death divides the city.

While he saved the Orioles from potentially leaving the city and refusing to put replacement players on the field, he was constantly berated for failing to put competitive teams on the field despite having the money to do so.

Peter Angelos has died at the age of 94, he was a union-side and personal-injury attorney, politician, jurist, political strategist, and owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

Peter Angelos was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1929 to John and Frances Angelos, who were Greek immigrants from Menetes, Karpathos. His father John (Whom his Greek name was Ioannis), owned a local tavern. He moved to Highlandtown, Baltimore, Maryland in 1932

He graduated from Patterson Park High School and attended the University of Baltimore where he earned his bachleor’s in law, taking night classes and working in his father’s tavern. He graduated and passed the bar at the age of 31. He opened an office that specialized in liability cases on a contingency basis. In one of his first large scale cases that was “partially settled”, he earned a record $330,000,000 payday. From 1959-1963, he served on the Baltimore City Council for the 3rd District. He attempted to run for Mayor of Baltimore in 1967.

In 1993, Peter Angelos bought the Baltimore Orioles from Eli Jacobs for a record $173,000,000 in cash. A union side attorney and a political activist in his own right, he built a very successful firm that specialized in personal injury cases and won $4.8 billion for people in these court cases. His biggest win was a $4.5 billion settlement against Phillip Morris USA, a tobacco giant and won money ($1.2 billion) through asbestos cases in steelworks, shipbuilders, and manufacturing facility workers. He won nearly $28 billion in compensation in personal injury cases, acting in close to 300 cases. He was also very active in the Democratic Party of Maryland, appearing at many fundraisers for Democratic politicians.

During the Major League Baseball strike, he used his union side powers to refuse replacement players from being used during the 1995 season because Cal Ripken Junior was 122 games from breaking the consecutive games record. This won him general favor amongst the Orioles fans because he was taking up for the fans over profits. He was hailed as a champion of the worker as his fellow owners wanted to oust him because he wouldn’t use the said replacement players. He also was instrumental in bringing in a 2-game series with the Cuban National Team in both Cuba and Baltimore. It was the first such game in Cuba since 1959.

However, fans were tiring of him when he brazenly took a more hands-on approach to the team as he outright refused to sign top free agents to long term deals. Fans were displeased that he would not take a more vested interest in working with agents on top-dollar deals. Scott Boras and Peter Angelos in general had a pretty mutual hate as Boras constantly clashed with him over deals including an infamous spat regarding Aaron Sele. The final straw was when Mike Mussina was lowballed for $78 million and he bolted to the Yankees for $88.5 million

In 1993, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers facing down certain relocation to a new area, he clashed with Jack Kent Cooke over bringing a team to Baltimore, calling him a “carpetbagger”. Cooke planned to move the Washington Redskins to a new stadium in Laurel, Maryland to cool interest in Baltimore. While he had a $200,000,000 deal in place to buy the team, it ultimately went to the late Malcolm Glazer. Angelos and William Donald Schaefer were so incensed that he said if Paul Taglibue were to ever come to an Orioles game, they would announce over the PA system where he was sitting.

He had an extremely intense dislike for Steve Bisciotti, owner of the Ravens, thanks to his success. Bisciotti and Angelos clashed on several occasions including the expansion of the Baltimore sports complex. A notable example was the Ravens having the chance to host the NFL’s annual kickoff game after winning Super Bowl XLVII. Bisciotti and the Angelos family got in a very bad shouting match to which Bisciotti said: “He’s angry over my success but the Ravens should be able to play the NFL’s first game at home.”

He feuded with many sports’ ownership families including Jerry Jones, The Rooney Family, The Estate of Jack Kent Cooke, McClatchy, Snyder amongst others.
He profited more money from the Orioles than any other owner in professional baseball due to his cheap ways. Attendance dwindled from 1998 to 2011 due to his refusal to spend on teams. Anger amongst the Orioles fans was that he wasn’t taking risks and chances as nothing was done without his approval. He made some changes in 2005 when he signed Miguel Tejada and Javy Lopez to long-term deals but nothing came out of it.

What fans say:

“Personally, you see both sides of the story of what he did for the community but at the same time, you only wish he could’ve gotten a world series championship,”

“Orioles fans are probably going to be on the fence about what he did for the team,”

“He was a successful lawyer, just not a successful owner, he did the right thing in 1995 with refusing to throw a team of replacement players on the field.”

“I never knew about the fact that he tried to buy the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.”

“The failure of Angelos to put forth competitive teams on the field, damaged the product of the Baltimore Orioles for years on end. He didn’t meet with players, coaches, anyone. He only cared about himself and the money he made.”

“Angelos was just another Marge Schott. While I wish peace for him and his family, he was a cheap owner who just didn’t like putting competitive teams on the field. He only cared about his money and how much can he profit off them.”

Peter Angelos was charitable off of the field as he donated to the Greek Orthodox Churches and the Cathedral of the Annunciation. He was University of Baltimore’s biggest donor at a cool $5 million and then additional $30 million from 2010-2013. During one very hot summer in 2010, Angelos donated $300,000 to keep city pools open during Baltimore’s budget crises.

Maryland Sports Blog sends our condolences to the Angelos family and hopes the family finds peace during this tough time.

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Joshua Leuschner

Orioles/Ravens/Capitals/Terrapins/Inter Miami CF fan. Runs a podcast who tells it like it is (I-95 East Coast Sports Podcast) and loves sports, sports betting (responsibly of course), and finding arcane statistics in professional sports. He is also a devoted classic cartoon enthusiast (1930s rubberhose and 1940s-1960s silver/golden age animation), video game player, Enya enthusiast, devotee of classical music (Mozart, Sibelius, Beethoven, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, Prokofiev, and others), Hair/Classic/80s Rock fan, beer connoisseur, gym goer, former Slow Pitch Softball Player, and traveler.

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