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Wednesday, December 22
Thrift replaces Wren in O's front office

Associated Press

BALTIMORE -- Syd Thrift, who helped make the Pittsburgh Pirates a contender a decade ago, has been given the chance to duplicate that feat with the Baltimore Orioles.

Thrift, nominally in charge of the front office, was given the title of vice president of baseball operations on Wednesday. He fills the role formerly held by Frank Wren, fired as general manager in October.

After firing Wren, Orioles owner Peter Angelos decided to abolish the position of general manager, taking a more active role himself. Thrift, who had been the Orioles' director of player personnel, then assumed the responsibility of overhauling a team that finished 79-83 last season.

"This formalizes the way the organization has been operating since the end of the last baseball season," Angelos said. "Nothing really is different. Syd will work with me on the baseball side, just as Joe Foss, as vice chairman does on the business and finance issues. John Angelos, as executive vice president, will provide input into both the baseball and business sides of the organization, working with Joe and Syd."

Thrift joined the Orioles in October 1994 as director of player development and remained in that position until November 1998, when he was named director of player personnel.

He was general manager of the Pirates from 1985 through 1988 and was instrumental in helping Pittsburgh become a contender in the late '80s. He also served as assistant general manager of the Chicago Cubs from 1991 to 1994.

Thrift will be aided by Ann Lange, a longtime Orioles employee who had been serving as administrative assistant for the player development staff. Lange was promoted Wednesday to executive assistant to the vice president of baseball operations.

Lange was an administrative assistant on the business side of the team for 13 years before moving over to player development in 1996.

Also Wednesday, the Orioles promoted Bill Stetka to director of public relations.

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