Peter G. Angelos, Owner of the Baltimore Orioles, Dies at 94


Peter G. Angelos, the longtime owner of the Baltimore Orioles who built a fortune as a class-action lawyer, died on Saturday. He was 94.

His death was confirmed in a statement from his family that was posted on the team’s social media account, which said that Mr. Angelos had “passed away quietly.” No cause was given, though the statement acknowledged that he had been ill for several years.

Mr. Angelos’s death came as his family awaited approval by Major League Baseball owners to sell the team — valued, along with its assets, at $1.725 billion, according to The Baltimore Sun — to David Rubenstein, the president of Inner Harbor Sports.

The sale was approved on March 20 by the Maryland Stadium Authority board, which was required under the terms of the team’s lease for ownership to be transferred.

As the owner of the Orioles, Mr. Angelos, who grew up in Baltimore, endeared himself to fans by investing in free agents to bolster the team.

“Peter Angelos was a true Baltimorean,” Brandon M. Scott, the city’s mayor, said on social media. “His impact on Baltimore & Baltimoreans will live for generations.”

In recent years, as Mr. Angelos’s health declined, decision-making about the team’s prospects fell to his family.

A shrewd owner and businessman, Mr. Angelos began to make a name for himself in Baltimore as a member of the City Council from 1959-63, before making an unsuccessful bid for mayor.

He went on to focus on law, and, during the 1980s, he worked on a class-action lawsuit put forward by steel and shipyard workers who claimed to have suffered from mesothelioma, a form of cancer linked to exposure to asbestos.

The case was settled in the 1990s for more than $1 billion, according to The Washington Post.

Mr. Angelos used some of his earnings to then buy the Orioles in 1993 for $173 million, which at the time was the highest amount ever paid for a professional sports team in the United States.

The core motivation to purchase the club, according to his website, was “so the team could stay in Baltimore and once again enjoy local ownership.”

Throughout his tenure, Mr. Angelos oversaw some of the lowest moments in the franchise’s history, including a stretch of 14 consecutive losing seasons.

But there were also moments of optimism and sound judgment; for instance, Mr. Angelos urged the manager Buck Showalter to join the team in 2010, and, in 2012, the Orioles made a playoff run.

Mr. Angelos could be known to spend freely to keep talent within the ball club, which garnered respect and paid some dividends. In 2014, the Orioles won the American League East for the first time in 17 years.

George Angelos was born in Pittsburgh on July 4, 1929, to Greek immigrants, according to an ESPN profile. After Mr. Angelos recovered from appendicitis at a young age, his mother changed his name to Peter, dedicating his soul to the Virgin Mary.

He graduated from Eastern College of Commerce and Law and the University of Baltimore School of Law, according to his firm’s website. Throughout his career, he worked on lawsuits that successfully recovered billions of dollars from the tobacco industry.

His father owned a tavern, and he instilled in his son a work ethic that lasted throughout his life.

“He never took a vacation, and I’ve taken only a few in my life,” Mr. Angelos, referring to his father, told The Los Angeles Times in 1995. “What do I do? I do what my old man did. I work.”


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