BALTIMORE (March 19, 2018) — On Thursday, Richie Bancells — Orioles Hall of Famer and longtime head athletic trainer — threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the opening day game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) March 29, 2018
Bancells, who spent 41 years with the Baltimore Orioles and the last 30 as the organization’s head athletic trainer, threw a strike to Orioles All-Star outfielder Adam Jones prior Thursday’s opening day game against the Minnesota Twins.
As just one of only three head athletic trainers in Baltimore Orioles history during the time he held the position, Bancells tended to the medical needs of players like Cal Ripken Jr. and the aforementioned Jones, who praised Richie for his integrity, work ethic and overall commitment to the health of the organization and the players in his care.
Ironically, for more than 40 years, Oriole fans and players feared the sight of halted play and an appearance by Richie Bancells on the playing field, as it usually signified an injury. But today was different. Today, Bancells, who retired after the 2017 season, took the field on opening day to a roaring cheer and a standing ovation from the Baltimore fans who honored his career achievements with the club.
About Richie’s ceremonial first pitch, President of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society Mark O’Neal said, “Richie Bancells is the first athletic trainer to throw out an opening day first pitch. I am sure every member of PBATS, both past and present, is bursting with pride and could not be happier for Richie, Carol and his family.” O’Neal continued, “A friend, mentor and one of the finest men to ever set foot on a baseball field, Richie has left an incredible mark on baseball, the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society and everyone who has ever had the pleasure to know him. Congratulations!”
The Orioles also honored Bancells in 2011 with the Herb Armstrong Award that recognizes non-uniformed club personnel for their significant contributions to the club, community and baseball. Bancells was inducted into the Maryland Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame in 2008.
Bancells first job with the club was as an assistant trainer with the Single-A Miami Orioles in 1977. He became the Orioles Major League assistant trainer in 1984 under Ralph Salvon and became the head athletic trainer in 1988. Following in Richie’s footsteps will be former assistant Brian Ebel, who replaced Bancells at the start of the 2018 season to become just the fourth head athletic trainer in team history.