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Jerry Hoffberger and Earl Weaver watching workout. 1970
Jerry Hoffberger was principal owner the Baltimore Orioles from 1965 to 1979
Jerry Hoffberger was principal owner the Baltimore Orioles from 1965 to 1979, when he sold the club to Edward Bennett Williams for $12 million. During his tenure as owner, the team made it to the World Series five times.
Hoffberger served in the Army in Africa, France, and Italy during World War II. He returned to join his Hoffberger Brewery in 1946 and became president in 1947.
Hoffberger was a lifelong resident of Baltimore, Maryland. He was the only son of his father Samuel, a lawyer who was active in the Democratic Party and a major shareholder and board chairman of National Brewing. His grandfather Charles had been a local merchant who sold wood, coal and ice. Hoffberger attended the University of Virginia. During World War II, he served in the United States Army with the 1st Armored Division in Africa, France and Italy, where he was wounded near Lake Bracciano, northwest of Rome. Jerold Hoffberger was also involved in the Battle of Monte Cassino.
The year after the war ended, he was appointed president of the brewery by his father after the death of his predecessor, Arthur Deute. Under the younger Hoffberger's command, National's sales rose from 230,000 barrels in 1946 to 2 million in 1966.
In 1953, when the St. Louis Browns of baseball's American League wanted to move to Baltimore, the nearby Washington Senators, led by Clark Griffith, objected to the potential encroachment on their market. Hoffberger helped ease the way for the move by making his National Bohemian beer a Senators sponsor. When Browns owner Bill Veeck was all but forced to sell the team, Hoffberger and attorney Clarence Miles put together a syndicate that bought the team for $2.5 million and moved it to Baltimore as the Orioles.
Hoffberger was the largest single shareholder in the Orioles, but was initially a silent partner with Miles (1954–1955), James Keelty (1955–1960) and Joe Iglehart (1960–1965). During this time, however, he bought more and more stock until he acquired controlling interest in 1965. He immediately brought in Frank Cashen, National's advertising director, as executive vice president. Under the direction of Cashen and another Hoffberger hire, general manager Harry Dalton, the Orioles won four AL pennants and two World Series from 1966-71. As of 2010, the franchise had won only three other pennants and one World Series in a period going back to 1901.
He was a 1996 honoree into the Orioles Hall of Fame, inducted with Cal Ripken, Sr. and Billy Hunter. These three men are so well thought of in Baltimore that a crowd of 400 showed up at the luncheon at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel.
National Brewing merged with Canadian brewer Carling in 1973. Hoffberger sold his share of the Orioles to Washington, D.C. lawyer Edward Bennett Williams in 1979.
in the early 1970s, Hoffberger purchased a farm near Woodbine in Howard County, Maryland where he bred Thoroughbred horses for racing. While primarily a breeder, he did race horses on his own, notably winning the 1984 Razorback Handicap at Oaklawn Park Race Track.
Hoffberger died at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.By BR Bullpen
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