BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The long baseball season doesn’t give players much time off, but they have plenty of extra time this year with the season in a long delay. Some Orioles players are using the time to touch base with former players.
Current players Richard Bleier, David Hess and minor leaguer Isaac Mattson have spent time video chatting with former Orioles Dick Hall, Jerry Walker and Billy Hunter. The two groups of players are separated by decades but united in a Birdland bond.
“Baltimore will always have a close spot in my heart because that’s where I broke in and my time as a player — those years got me to where I was after that,” Walker, 81, said.
Walker and Hess, 26, took time during the delayed baseball season to meet from a distance. Walker began his career as an Oriole in 1957. Sixty-one years later, Hess joined the roster.
Despite the age difference, the birds of a feather from different eras were brought together during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Any time that someone is walking the road that you’re walking right now, there’s a lot that you can look back and give a few pointers on, whether it’s experiences that they had, things they saw other people go through,” Hess said. “The thing that was really unique about Jerry is that he had a lens through multiple different angles.”
Walker was Brooks Robinson’s roommate during Walker’s four years in Baltimore. He went on to pitch for other teams and work for other clubs after his playing career ended. His time in pro baseball spanned more than 50 years.
“It’s a fun road and there’s going to be experiences that you have now that you will draw on no matter what you’re doing in life,” he said.
That advice from a league veteran is something Hess said he can draw on now and into the future.
“It may not be something that affects me so much right now, but maybe something in a couple years where that advice or that input you were given, you can kind of utilize that,” he said.