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Tom Clancy was a part-owner of the Orioles

Oct 2, 2013, 4:14 PM EDT

Tom Clancy

You probably already heard the news that author Tom Clancy died Tuesday. For his sake, I hope that he had gotten to see Montana.

I wasn’t a huge Clancy fan. I read exactly one book of his mostly because I don’t go in for military/espionage/thriller stuff, generally speaking.  But any HBT reader who has been around for a while knows that I love the living heck out of the movie version of “The Hunt for Red October.” I don’t have any idea how faithful the movie is to the book, but I don’t care. The movie is awesome and it doesn’t exist if not for Clancy, so my hat will always be off to the guy. So give me a ping, Vasili. One ping only, please, in his honor.

But Clancy had a baseball connection too. He was a minority owner of the Orioles. He came in to the group back when Peter Angelos purchased the team in 1993. And it wasn’t some symbolic share. Before his divorce he was a 24 percent stakeholder. He also held the title of Orioles’ vice chairman of community projects and public affairs. The team issued a statement on his passing earlier today:

For decades, Tom Clancy entertained millions with his novels and enjoyed producing no fewer than seventeen best-sellers. He was an extraordinary storyteller who had an ability to keep readers on the edge of their seats. His passion for the military was evident in his efforts to ensure that the men and women who serve our country were properly recognized for their service and commitment.

While he achieved international acclaim as a celebrated author, Tom, a proud Baltimorean, was a devoted Marylander, a treasured friend, and a valued partner and advisor in the Orioles ownership group. He was a regular presence at Oriole Park and enjoyed talking about baseball, the ballclub and its operations.

We are deeply saddened by Tom’s passing. He will be missed but long remembered.

On behalf of the Orioles, we extend our sympathies to his family.

Same here. On a day Clancy sails into history.


  1. faiwaiz - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:15 PM


  2. pipkin42 - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    When I was younger, I really enjoyed the books. Later, I came to disagree with their politics enough to no longer be interested. He was, however, one of my gateways into a love of the study of history which I am now lucky enough to count as my career, so I suppose that doesn’t count for nothin,’ as they say.

    As I recall, the books occasionally contained references to the Orioles back when they were the only baseball team around, and as a huge Orioles fan I always got a kick out of that.

    • bigharold - Oct 2, 2013 at 9:56 PM

      I’m with you in that I liked his first 4 books but thought “Without Remorse” was a bit of a soap opera. “Cardinal of the Kremlin” was his best book and I’m amazed that “Red Storm Rising” was never turned into a movie. Also, “Hunt for the Red October was a great movie but having read the book I was disappointed.

      But, when he started talking politics, .. and I heard him essentially say crap like Ronald Reagan was solely responsible for winning the cold war, (because apparently Truman, Ike, Nixon/Ford were wussies just like Kennedy and Johnson), he lost me.

      He knew his technology and was great at integrating it into stories and characters. RIP.

      • mtr75 - Oct 3, 2013 at 12:56 PM

        Without Remorse was awesome. His books were great up until Red Rabbit. That book blew and blew hard, and the rest after it I never bothered with.

  3. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:22 PM

    ”I’m in the entertainment business, like John D. MacDonald, Jack Higgins and Freddie Forsyth. Our mission is to take people away from driving trucks or fixing toilets or whatever they do, away from their drudgery. That’s a good enough purpose for any man.”

    So shocking at only 66 years of age. He was a good man, and a big part of the community, not to even mention his enormous talent. He will be missed.

    • mtr75 - Oct 3, 2013 at 12:57 PM

      Not very shocking for a heavy smoker at 66. Most heavy smokers don’t live to a ripe old age.

  4. APBA Guy - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    On the other hand, I loved the book version of Hunt for Red October, published by the Naval Institute Press. The little details I knew from working at/with DoD (ie, Russian sea floor maps were better than ours-something we were working hard to correct at that time.) As a holder of a TS clearance I marveled at the access he had. He had just enough talent as a story teller to provide the thread to hang all those details on. But his politics…ugh. Still, 66 is awfully young these days. He will be missed by his legions of fans. RiP.

  5. dkb1968 - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:37 PM

    read he book, Craig. The movie is great, but the book is so much better. For example, from the point the Americans take over the sub the movie is practically over. In the book there are still another 250 pages. You have to read it!

    • bigharold - Oct 2, 2013 at 10:02 PM

      Exactly. The movie went from 2/3 of the way through the book to the end. I was working double shifts when the movie came out, .. , got off a midnight and had to be back at work at 8AM but I insisted on seeing the movie the first day, .. what a let down. But it is a great book and still worth the read.

    • bigbuffguy95 - Oct 3, 2013 at 4:02 PM

      Actually, I think The Hunt for Red October is one of the better examples of a movie that was better than the book. Don’t get me wrong. The book is still very good. But it also has these long detours to random fighter pilots and other extraneous characters that I just didn’t care about. As a result, this but a damper on the propulsive nature of the plot that drove the movie forward at a breakneck pace. The adaptation wisely removed these characters to focus almost exclusively on the Red October, the USS Dallas and Jack Ryan.

  6. sdelmonte - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:47 PM

    With you on Red October, Craig. Never read the book, love the film. Got to see if it’s still streaming somewhere. Also loved a fairly primitive text-oriented naval warfare game based on his early books that had a lot of fun facts about the US and USSR’s ships.

    Will note that we’ve gotten the “Hunt for October” slogan indirectly from him as well. But it’s not exactly a great slogan, is it?

  7. Bob Loblaw - Oct 2, 2013 at 4:55 PM

    A sad day losing both a great author and an even greater American. RIP Mr. Clancy…I loved both your books and your politics.

  8. sportsdrenched - Oct 2, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    Back in my teenage days my Dad tossed me a copy of Patriot Games and said I should try it. You have to understand reading a novel isn’t exactly on a male adolescent’s to do list. Grudgingly I read it and it sucked me in. After that I learned that reading could be a great form of entertainment. That and the girl I was after at the time was an avid reader and I was trying to impress her.

    Anyway, Tom Clancy got me started on my life long reading hobby. Before I had kids I could knock out a novel a week. I’ve read most of Clancy’s stuff. Sum of All Fears is my favorite. I haven’t picked up his latest stuff where Jack Jr is the protagonist but I probably will at some point.

    I echo some of the other thoughts here. Books > Movies, and since my politics have changed over the years I probably would not enjoy some of the political overtones now as much as I did when I read the books the first time.

    • umrguy42 - Oct 2, 2013 at 7:19 PM

      I hate to say it, but other than *maybe* Teeth of the Tiger, I wouldn’t bother with the Jack Jr stuff or more recent. Definitely more ghost written, and poor quality. (ToT has enough fun moments for me to overcome some of the glaring flaws and continuity issues. But it’s basically total revenge fantasy.)

      • sportsdrenched - Oct 3, 2013 at 10:06 AM

        So you’re saying it’s more like an Op-Center, Splinter Cell Series only in the Jack Ryan World? If that’s the case I may pass. I read the first two Op-Center books and quit after that.

      • umrguy42 - Oct 3, 2013 at 10:48 AM

        I don’t even know if I read the Op Center books, so I couldn’t say. All I know is, I think it was Dead or Alive was the last Jack Jr one I read, and I thought it was so bad, I explicitly put “don’t get me the new Clancy book” on the next year’s Christmas list, because I’m sure it was more of the same.

  9. onbucky96 - Oct 2, 2013 at 6:45 PM

    By far the best Tom Clancy novel IMO is Without Remorse. Its the story of John Kelly who becomes John Clark. Not for your kids, lots of murder, sex, drugs, war, and yes, Orioles vs Pirates.

  10. umrguy42 - Oct 2, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    Craig, the movie’s not a bad adaptation of the book. Probably like Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings – like 80% or better faithful, but some glaring differences.

    Waaaaay more faithful than all the other movie adaptations put together, I think.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Oct 2, 2013 at 7:45 PM

      For those who’ve read it, does it go into the russian characters back stories a little more? Having only watched the movie, the reasons for defecting seemed a bit of a stretch (wife dies, thats it?)

      • courageousdeer - Oct 2, 2013 at 9:05 PM

        Yes, it does. Well worth the read. Like most good novels made into movies, there are some scenes and crucial details that don’t translate well to film (do they still use film?).

  11. chill1184 - Oct 2, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    Worst adaptation had to be the “Sum of All Fears”, so far from the book it was obnoxious

  12. azvikefan - Oct 2, 2013 at 8:36 PM

    If my memory serves me right, Clancy was trying to buy the Minnesota Vikings in the mid 90’s but I think the NFL turned him down. Red McCombs ended up buying them. I’ve read most of the early Clancy which I will say were all excellent. And I love the politics.

  13. gloccamorra - Oct 3, 2013 at 1:07 AM

    The Orioles connection was a surprise. I know there were other authors/actors/show-biz types who owned a piece of ballclubs – Danny Kaye and the Seattle Pilots, Bob Hope and the Cleveland Indians – but I wonder how many others NOW own a piece of MLB teams? We need an investigative reporter on this, it’s too sad to find out in an obituary.

  14. liquidgrammar - Oct 3, 2013 at 6:30 PM

    That was an awesome tribute, Calcaterra!

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