From Chapter 4:

1971-1976: The Altobelli Era


The International League was more active than the Wings in the off-season. With Philadelphia replacing Detroit as Toledo’s parent club, the National League/American League balance was thrown out of kilter. The NL affiliates outnumbered those of the AL by 5-3, forcing a re-naming of the two divisions. Instead of the former American and National labels, the league changed to Northern and Southern designations. Rochester was in the Northern, along with previous division foes Syracuse, Toledo and Pawtucket. The schedule was weighted towards division opponents, with teams playing 24 games against internal rivals, and only 18 against teams from the opposite division. The NL farm clubs also used their numerical advantage to do away with the designated hitter.

Attendance for the league in 1973 had dropped below the one million mark for the first time since WWII. One outcome of the continued turnstile decline was the shift of the Peninsula franchise to Memphis. Hoping to draw a decent crowd to its all-star game, the league offered Rochester the host role, but with the inexperience of Lippa and Barnowski, the Red Wings declined.

Manager Joe Altobelli was optimistic about his 1974 club. The only potential Red Wings leaving the organization over the winter were pitcher Herb Hutson (claimed in the draft) and infielder Junior Kennedy, who was finally traded to Cincinnati in a five-player deal. However at the outset, the third-year Rochester skipper had the difficult job of dealing with some players that were not pleased to be in a Rochester uniform.

The major problem was Royle Stillman. The enigmatic outfielder was holding out at his home in California, demanding to be optioned or traded, preferably to a Pacific Coast League team. He refused to sign a contract, despite being “pretty happy” with the Orioles’ offer of $9,500. Stillman and Altobelli did not hit it off during his rookie season in Rochester — complaints had surfaced about the outfielder’s lackadaisical play and “casual” clubhouse attitude. An unnamed teammate called Stillman a “pest” and stated that Stillman and Freddie Frazier had occupied Altobelli in keeping the peace. Stillman subsequently played first base in a few exhibition games — still without a contract — as a way to showcase his talents for a potential trade, but returned to California in mid-April.

Another disgruntled outfielder was veteran Steve Hovley, who left the O’s camp threatening to retire. He did agree to report to the Wings after his contract was sweetened. Catcher Sergio Robles likewise told Baltimore that he would not play in Rochester. He followed through on his threat and hooked up with a team in Mexico.

There were, however, some players who were happy to don the red and navy. Outfielder Tommy Shopay was back, with both an improved ankle and attitude from 1973. After considering retirement, the fan favorite was said to be happy to be in Rochester. An off-season search for a major-league job convinced him that his chances for starting the year above the Triple-A level were slim.

With Jim Fuller expected to stick with Baltimore and Stillman in limbo, a pair of recognizable faces were in competition for the third outfield job: the “born optimist” Pete Watts and Curt Motton. Motton would have further duties as player/coach, replacing Ray Miller, named as the O’s minor league pitching coach.

The familiarity ended in the infield, where three-quarters of the positions would be filled by newcomers. With Reinbach in Baltimore, Mike Fiore, back after drifting around various organizations, was slated to start at first. The keystone combination was a pair of rookies expected to make a great impact: shortstop Bobby Bailor, who had impressed during the short stint with the Wings in 1973, and his partner from Asheville, second baseman Rob Andrews. Doug DeCinces was the starting third baseman — cut by the O’s despite leading the team in average and home runs during spring training.

Jim Hutto returned, but as the starting catcher, hoping to shed the utility image that had failed to land him a major league job. He would handle a starting staff that featured a strong rotation of Wayne Garland, Dyar Miller, Paul Mitchell, Randy Stein and Bob Snyder, the sole left-hander in the group. Bill Kirkpatrick, unhappy in the Pacific Coast League, returned for his fifth season in a Red Wing uniform. Rochester filled out its bullpen late in spring training by picking up a pair of left-handers: another former Wing, Mickey Scott (discouraged with the Montreal organization; came over in a deal for John O’Donaghue) and Jerry Perkins, who came from Tidewater, along with infielder John Busco. The acquisition of Busco most likely meant the departure of Tim Nordbrook, either by trade or loan.

Altobelli’s squad, tabbed by most for second place behind Pawtucket, opened its season in Charleston, which sported a distinct Rochester look. Former General Manager Carl Steinfeldt was serving in the same capacity for the Charlies. Steve Demeter was the manager, while Lanny Frattare, a former Silver Stadium public address announcer, had become the voice of the Charlies. Tom Matchick was with Charleston as well.

Those connections were overshadowed by Wayne Garland. The Red Wing hurler pitched the first opening day no-hitter in International League history, shutting down the Charlies 5-0. It was the first no-hitter for Rochester since Greg Arnold’s seven-inning masterpiece in 1971, and the first of the nine-inning variety since Dave Vineyard in 1966. RCB President William Lang announced plans to present Garland with a $100 check at the home opener in honor of the achievement.

Rochester returned home with three wins in five games, and found that Stillman had ended his three-month holdout and would rejoin the club. Opening Day at Silver Stadium would not be completely festive, however. The pre-game ceremonies included a moment of silence for former pitcher Mark Weems, who had drowned off the coast of Venezuela on New Year’s Day.

The league had voted during the off-season to reduce its umpiring crews from three men to two (saving the league some $26,000), but it cost the Wings in the game, captured by Charleston, 8-7, in front of 6,256. The key play occurred when Rochester native Ken Kaiser, having to make the call from home plate, ruled a trap on a catch by Watts in the outfield. The non-out led to a four-run inning by the Charlies.

The loss paled in comparison to the devastating news that Morrie Silver had died. The 64-year-old baseball savior had passed away on April 26 — the day after the opener — of a massive heart attack at his retirement home in Miami Beach, Florida. He had been hospitalized since the 23rd after suffering the attack, his third. He died at 7:15 p.m., with his wife Anna B. “Bert” at his side. The game scheduled for April 29 was cancelled and the Wings announced the players would wear black armbands for the remainder of the season.

Those that offered their feelings remembered Silver not necessarily for being the savior of baseball in Rochester, but for his honesty and integrity. “He was a rare businessman, an honest man who wanted to give everybody a fair shake,” said Eleanor Heffernan, who worked beside Silver for 22 years as his bookkeeper and secretary. “Every time there was a stockholder’s meeting and someone suggested a dividend, he’d vote it down. He didn’t want to take money out of the club. He wanted it put back into the team.”

Former club president and board member Joseph T. Adams stated, “We’ve lost one of our leading community-minded citizens.... Few could match his zeal and interest in the community.” Assemblyman Raymond Lill, also a RCB board member, described him as “the heart and soul of community baseball.”

Despite being officially “retired,” Silver, the former president and general manager, as well as the largest single stockholder, had still played an integral role in running the Wings. His two previous heart attacks had kept him from actively participating in the day-to-day operation of the team, but copies of team correspondence and paperwork had routinely been sent to him in Florida. General Managers Turner and Steinfeldt would faithfully phone him with results of all Red Wing games — home or away. Important decisions would be made by phone (his bills sometimes ran into the hundreds of dollars), but Silver would not hesitate to fly into Rochester to straighten out any especially critical matters. In February, he spent time in the city to negotiate a radio package that returned the broadcasts to the more accessible AM band, and finalize a new concessions’ contract. He had planned to be present on Opening Day, and considered making an earlier appearance at Silver Stadium than his usual late-June trip.

The trauma of a family death and instability in Rochester’s front office had pushed Silver to the point that he experienced chest pains two weeks prior, when he was in the area for his mother-in-law’s funeral. With Steinfeldt’s departure, Silver knew the season would be important for the organization, and he was confident his health would allow him to see it through. The general manager’s position had never been filled; the everyday handling of the club had been left to Lang, Barnowski and Lippa. The cry for a new general manager was academic, wrote D&C baseball writer Jim Castor, because “the real general manager [Silver] had never left.” Unfortunately Silver died without naming, or recommending, a replacement.
Because of this, warned Castor, “the Red Wings are simply a ship without a rudder.” The loss of Silver, the “very lifeline” of the franchise, threw the future of the Red Wings’ organization into doubt, and “could be the beginning of the end for Red Wing baseball.” Barnowski, aware of the power struggles that could potentially develop in the vacuum created by Silver’s absence, stated, “We’ll need a lot of luck on our side to make it now.”

The cold, rainy spring matched the mood created by Silver’s death, and the Wings stumbled into May hovering around .500. Altobelli wasn’t worried about the lack of offense — injuries had hampered Shopay, Hovley, DeCinces and Bailor — because he hadn’t expected his team, a collection of line-drive hitters, to supply many home runs. The rash of hurts did serve to keep Nordbrook, supposed to be loaned to another Triple-A team, in a Rochester uniform. Given a reprieve, he got off to a great start, supplying unexpected offense and playing his usual superb defense. Defense and pitching were expected to carry this club and a seven-game winning streak (three by shutout) put the Wings percentage points ahead of Syracuse in first place. The two teams dueled through the end of May, alternating possession of the top spot.

Garland (despite the no-hitter, a less than sparking 2-2, 5.40) was recalled at the end of May, and injuries slowed Stein, Snyder and Perkins, but the deep pitching staff hardly missed a beat. Miller, considered one of, if not the league’s premier pitcher, rode his fastball to a 4-0 start. The righty-lefty bullpen duo of Scott and Dave Johnson sported identical pitching lines of 3-1 with four saves. A team ERA of 3.11, and hot starts by Stillman (.373), Nordbrook (.333) and Andrews (.324), helped keep the Wings near the top of the Northern Division.

Bob Sekel, a 1970 graduate of Spencerport High School, was called up from Asheville, where he was 2-3, with two saves and a 2.07 ERA. He became the first native Rochesterian to play for the Wings since Bob Keegan in ’59 and ’60. With the Wings down to eight able arms, Sekel paid immediate dividends, combining with Johnson on a one-hitter in his Triple-A debut against Syracuse.

Due to the injuries and the play of Nordbrook, Bailor was installed in center field upon his return. Another outfielder, Motton, had a memorable night on June 11 in Richmond, hitting three home runs in a 12-7, 11-inning victory over the Braves. Motton tied the game at six with a two-run shot in the seventh, temporarily broke the tie with a solo blast in the ninth, then helped win the game in the 11th with a two-run poke off the left field foul pole. He ended the night with six RBI, and the team lead in home runs with seven.

A June streak during which the Wings won 13 of 16 pushed the squad ahead of the Chiefs into first place with a 31-19 record. The pitching staff continued to amaze. Three starters were gone (Snyder and Stein injured, Garland with Baltimore) and the replacements, Sekel and Mike Willis, were doing the job fresh from Double-A. Scott and Johnson were the glue out of the bullpen, appearing in 25 and 23 games respectively, of the first 50. The resurgence of Kirkpatrick also helped. The veteran right-hander gave himself 30 days to revive his season after a June 1 start in which he failed to retire a batter. After a cortisone shot and a couple weeks’ rest for his ailing shoulder, he returned with three straight complete-game victories, including a 2-0 four-hitter in Charleston in which he retired the first 19 Charlies.

Mitchell was also hot, recovering his highly-touted curve ball and winning five straight decisions. The late-June recall of Dave Johnson again left the squad with only eight pitchers; yet Altobelli’s charges continued playing .600 ball, reaching a season-high of 16 games over .500 on June 27.

The winning ways were due to some unexpected heroes, the most obvious being Nordbrook. The turnaround from his .210 season was so complete that a rival manager was quoted as saying, “I don’t believe that’s even the same player.” Fiore was also another success story. He spent much of the early season wallowing around the .200 mark, with most of his outs long fly balls to center field. After making some adjustments, the veteran began to pull the ball, raising his batting mark 60 points and hitting six homers in the month of June. Altobelli’s platoon system was also working to perfection. Marv Galliher (platooning with Fiore at first), Watts, Motton, Shopay, Stillman, Hovley and back-up catcher Don Hickey all took turns providing clutch plays.

Four Wings (Stillman, Andrews, Nordbrook and Miller) were named to the International League all-star squad that contested the New York Mets in Richmond on July 1. Andrews and Stillman were starters and each played the entire game, but it was Nordbrook who stole the show in the 2-1 loss. The Rochester shortstop made four sensational plays in the field, which, despite two strikeouts at the plate, garnered him MVP honors.

A 42-26 mark at the all-star break was not enough to shake the Syracuse Chiefs, a mere .004 percentage points behind. The third place squad was a distant 14 1/2 games back, making it clear that, bar a miracle, it would be a two-team race for the remainder of the season. Yet despite the closely-contested race, the team’s record and the four all-stars, Silver Stadium’s turnstiles were spinning at a slower rate. A late-June game which attracted 7,397 was the largest crowd since Opening Day.

The Wings were knocked out of first for a day after the break, but went on to win seven of their first 11 second-half games, one a wild 18-10 slugfest at Toledo in which Hutto hit two home runs. The streak gave the Wings their largest lead of the season — two games. Pitcher Larry McCall (8-5 at Asheville) was added to the staff, and a familiar face reluctantly came from Baltimore. Mike Reinbach had been demoted in early June, but refused to report. He would have to take a salary cut from $15,000 to $8,800 and with no offer to renegotiate he packed and went home to San Diego. Three weeks later he decided to show, but still bitter. Not only was his salary cut almost in half, he remained only 30 days short of qualifying for a $5,000 bonus.

A critical three-game sweep at home versus the Chiefs opened the lead to four games and was Altobelli 300th victory in his Rochester managerial career. It made the popular skipper third on the Wings all-time list, behind Clyde King and Billy Southworth. A week later the Wings had a five-game series with the Chiefs, the first three at Red Wing Stadium. Rochester took three one-run victories on its home turf (5-4, 1-0 and 3-2) and then bounced the Chiefs twice at MacArthur Stadium (8-6, 7-0). The sweep gave the Wings seven consecutive wins over their nearest rivals and pushed their lead to 7 1/2 games. Two days later, when the parent New York Yankees called up six Syracuse players, the race seemed, for all intents and purposes, to be over.

Not even roster shifts slowed Alto’s squad. Watts was traded to Richmond (his hometown) for left-hander Mike McQueen. Motton was sent up to Baltimore, with Jim Fuller coming down in his place. The slugger responded with 16 hits, including eight doubles and four home runs, in his first 13 games for Rochester. Right-handed hurler Bob Babcock was signed after being cut by Memphis, with outfielder Hovley released after Reinbach took his slot in the lineup. Reliever Johnson came back down from the O’s and McCall returned to Asheville.

Snyder came back from his back problems and won three games in nine days. Willis was virtually unhittable, winning eight straight decisions after his May 29 recall. Fellow rookie Gary Robson topped both with a perfect game in the nightcap of a doubleheader versus Charleston. He struck out 11 in the game, completing a sweep of matching 2-0 wins in front of a season-high 10,272. It was the fourth no-hit game in the league that season, and curiously enough the Wings were involved in all four. Garland and Robson had turned the trick for the Wings, while no-hitters had been thrown against the Wings on June 7 by Tidewater pitching and on July 21 by Pawtucket. Only Garland’s was a full nine innings; the other three were in doubleheader games.

A torrid six-week stretch from mid-July to August saw the Red Wings win 26 of 41 games and open up a 12-game lead on Syracuse. The strong play also keyed a resurgence in attendance. On Aug. 29, A Mitchell three-hit shutout against Syracuse at home fittingly clinched the Northern Division title with 12 games left.

Three consecutive losses in the regular season’s meaningless final days matched the longest losing streak of the season. (The games were meaningless except for reliever Scott. His hopes of finishing with a sub-1.00 ERA were apparently squashed with three games left in the season. However his wife Linda discovered a mistake made by the official scorer in a late-season game at Syracuse and had the statistic corrected. Scott then pitched three scoreless frames in the season finale to finish with an ERA of 0.99 for 91 innings.)

Altobelli’s squad ended the regular season with an 88-56 regular season mark. They were not, however, the favorite for the pennant-deciding series with Southern Division champion Memphis. The Blues nosed out the Wings for the league’s best record and had won 11 of the 18 games between the two clubs, including 10 of the last 12. Furthermore, the Wings lost Fuller and Johnson to recall, and pitchers Miller and Willis had both slumped in the season’s final month. Miller finished at 12-8, losing six straight attempts at win number 13, while Willis failed to win in his last seven starts.

The series began in Rochester, with Miller on the mound for the Wings. The Blues hammered three home runs in a 5-2 victory. The most noise made by any Red Wing was Galliher, upset because he didn’t make his usual platoon start. Given a chance the next night, the first baseman helped even the series with two RBI in a 5-3 Rochester victory. Mitchell got credit for the win, staked to a 5-0 lead before the Blues put three up in the eighth to make it interesting. Bad news for the Wings was the absence of catcher Hutto. He was unable to play due to a bruised shoulder, suffered in an Game One home plate collision with his Memphis counterpart, Gary Carter.

Carter caused even more damage in Game Three. Considered a “hot dog” by the Rochester faithful, the Blues catcher was booed whenever he was on the field. He made the home fans grit their teeth with a triple, single, home run and six RBI in a 6-4 Memphis win. The series also started to emotionally simmer — Reinbach and the Memphis second baseman squared off after the Rochester outfielder went in hard trying to break up a double play. The Wings lost another regular when Nordbrook was called up after the game, due to an injury to Bobby Grich. Shortstop Kiko Garcia was called up from Asheville and inserted into the starting lineup.

Down 2-1 and reduced to 20 players, the Wings traveled to Blues’ Stadium. Fiore was out with extracted molars, Hutto unable to play, Nordbrook was in Baltimore (but sitting while Grich played) and Garcia didn’t make the game in time. Nonetheless the Wings prevailed behind the pitching of Kirkpatrick and Scott, with a ninth-inning double by DeCinces providing the margin in the 3-2 win. The series was knotted at 2-2.

Game Five was all Dyar Miller. He went the route in a 2-0 shutout, allowing only five hits and striking out 11. The Wings got another sterling pitching performance the next evening, this by Mitchell, a 3-1 win that clinched the series and the Wings’ 15th IL pennant, four games to two. Down 2-1, three straight impressive mound outings, by Kirkpatrick, Miller and Mitchel,l advanced the Wings to the Governors’ Cup final against rival Syracuse.

The series opened at Silver, and the Chiefs quickly let it be known that the Red Wings’ 17-7 edge in the regular season meant nothing. Rochester trailed 5-1 going into the eighth before rallying to tie the game, but the Chiefs piled on six runs in the 13th inning to take Game One, 11-5. Rochester had a chance to end the game in the 10th, with bases loaded and one out, but couldn’t push across the winning tally.

In the second game, it was the Red Wings’ turn to blow a big lead. Rochester jumped out to a 6-1 lead, and ahead 6-3 in the seventh, turned the ball over to the usually imperturbable Scott. He proceeded to give up seven hits and seven earned runs over the final 2 1/3 innings of the10-6 Syracuse triumph. After surrendering only 10 earned runs in 91 regular-season innings, Scott had allowed nine earned runs in only 7 1/3 playoff innings. To make matters worse, after the game DeCinces was recalled to Baltimore, prompting Altobelli to move Bailor to third, and the newcomer Garcia at short.

A loss in Syracuse would put the Wings in a precarious position, but after a rainout, the hurlers again came through. Miller and Mitchell both threw complete games, Miller winning 5-2, and Mitchell 6-1, the latter triumph despite three errors by shortstop Garcia. The series shifted back to Rochester, where any momentum the Red Wings had accumulated went by the wayside in a 8-1 romp by the Chiefs. Numerous defensive lapses, and the ejection of Altobelli in the third inning did little to convince the 3,596 on hand that the Wings had returned to their dominance of Syracuse. After a 48-24 home mark in the regular season, including 10 wins in 12 games against the Chiefs, the Wings were 1-5 at Silver in the playoffs, and one loss from elimination.

Another rainout gave Altobelli’s charges a chance to regroup. The old hand Kirkpatrick once again responded, notching his 10th straight win stretching back to the regular season, a complete-game 6-2 victory at MacArthur Stadium. Reinbach had two hits and two RBI, and made a crucial diving catch with two on in the fourth inning. Recalls and injuries forced Altobelli to use an all-lefty outfield (Shopay, Reinbach and Stillman) against the southpaw Chief starter. The series was knotted at 3-3, with the visiting team the victor in all six contests.

The omens were not good for Rochester, with the decisive contest at Silver, but Dyar Miller continued his post-season brilliance. The Wings put two on the board in the first, and pushed across a pair of insurance runs in the eighth on a two-run home run by Reinbach, en route to a 5-1 Governors’ Cup clinching triumph. Miller and Scott combined on a six-hitter (Miller’s third playoff win), with Scott getting his only save of the post-season, after leading the league with 17 during the regular season. It was the seventh Governors’ Cup championship for the franchise.

It was also a marvelous victory for the team concept, and for those who espoused the merits of pitching and defense. The post-season comebacks symbolized the squad’s depth and unity. After Hutto's injury in the first playoff game, back-up Hickey caught the next 12 contests and batted .400 in the final series. Reinbach had two homers and 11 RBI in the post-season. And few could forget the critical pitching performance by Dyar Miller and Bill Kirkpatrick, helping to bring their team back from deficits in both playoff rounds.

All the attention focused on pitching and defense, but overlooked was the fact that this was a strong and balanced offensive team. Rochester ranked among the league leaders in runs and batting average. Tom Shopay led the Red Wings at .313, while Rob Andrews was quietly the team’s most consistent hitter, with a .304 average and team-leading 84 runs. Royle Stillman hit .295, and while Tim Nordbrook tailed off to .288, his play in the first half kept the squad on pace with Syracuse until it could pull away. Doug DeCinces had a team-leading 66 RBI, along with 11 home runs and a .282 average. Old vets Mike Fiore and Jim Hutto shared the team lead with 15 home runs. Three-quarters of the infield — Andrews, Nordbrook and DeCinces — were named to the post-season all-star squad, Andrews a unanimous selection. Joe Altobelli’s brilliant managing job was recognized by his selection as The Sporting News minor league manager of the year.

Perhaps the lack of a dominant offensive player was the reason the offensive contribution was minimized — or maybe it was because the pitching was so brilliant. Dyar Miller (12-8), Paul Mitchell (14-6, led league in winning percentage) and Bill Kirkpatrick (15-7, led league in wins) were the staff anchors, all with earned run averages under three for a staff that had a team mark of 3.07. Kirkpatrick joined the trio of infielders on the All-Star team. Mike Willis went 9-4 after his recall and topped the rotation with a 2.65 ERA. Reliever Mickey Scott had a dominating year, his 8-2 record accompanying 17 saves and an 0.99 ERA. Bob Sekel, Bob Snyder, and Gary Robson were all important and versatile performers, pitching equally well in starting and bullpen roles.

Final attendance was 272,869, including playoffs, down from the year before, but with less dates. The figure nonetheless once again lapped the International League field and was the second highest mark in the entire minors behind Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League. It was the 17th time in the past 18 seasons that the Wings led the IL in attendance.

A resolution of the perceived front-office instability was reached when the Wings finally chose a general manager. Because the duo of Ed Barnowski and Sam Lippa worked so well together (a profit of $60,919 would be announced), the board had been in little hurry to make a decision during the season. Uncertainty was the rule prior to the announcement, however, as many different scenarios had been floated over the summer. Despite the attention on who would get the GM’s job — Barnowski or Lippa, both of whom wanted the position — the key to the front-office structure rested on the future of President/Treasurer Bill Lang. Rumors of his resignation were a constant. He had been bothered by what he considered negative press treatment, and also felt the president shouldn’t serve in two jobs, as he did. The general manager controversy also rankled him — in September he scolded board members for leaks to the press about the situation.

But with the season’s end, the board finally moved. In October, Ed Barnowski was named Carl Steinfeldt’s successor, almost one year to the day that Steinfeldt had resigned. The 31-year-old Barnowski first joined the Wings as Steinfeldt’s assistant in December, 1972. Although Barnowski was in line to replace his former mentor, the board gave little thought to promoting him at that time, as he was still seen as having too little experience. Lippa, who had worked on equal terms with Barnowski, was also bumped up in title, moving from business manager to assistant general manager.

The unusual working arrangement had apparently done little damage to the health of RCB, despite its nay-sayers. In December, the Wings were announced as the first recipient of the John H. Johnson President’s Trophy, awarded by the ruling arm of the minor leagues, the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues. The trophy recognized Rochester for “outstanding club operations” during the 1974 season. President Lang was unable to accept the trophy, presented at the NAPBL’s banquet in New Orleans, but said its receipt was, for RCB, “our finest hour.”

For Lang it was the capstone to his tenure as RCB’s president. In January, he did indeed announce his retirement after seven years. There was no clear consensus as to his heir apparent, and after several individuals were considered, Vincent J. Stanley emerged as the next head of Rochester Community Baseball. Morrie Silver’s widow, Anna Silver was a candidate, but instead settled on becoming the first woman ever named to the Executive Committee. Stanley had served seven years on the board of directors, including five as vice president. He owned a household appliance business and was known for his quiet, efficient, low-key management style.

(Prior to the annual shareholders meeting came the curious news that a unnamed resident of Florida, one of “fairly substantial influence,” had made a bid of $5 per share of Rochester Community Baseball Inc. stock, which, at that time, had an approximate value of $3 a share. Local stockbrokers predicted that it would take at least $15 per share to create enough interest in selling. It would require 21,000 shares to own a controlling interest in RCB, but most of those were in small blocks, as the top 10 largest holders of stock controlled only about 10,000 shares between them.)

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