NORTH REDINGTON BEACH, Fla. -- George Bamberger, a former major league pitcher who became a coach and managed Milwaukee's "Bambi's Bombers" teams in the late 1970s, died of cancer at home Sunday night. He was 80.
"He was perfect for Milwaukee," said baseball commissioner Bud Selig, whose family has controlled the team since 1970. "He'd get to the ballpark early, see people tailgating, and he'd stop and have a beer with them. He was really a beloved figure here." Mr. Bamberger was the Baltimore Orioles' pitching coach from 1968 to 1977, helping produce American League Cy Young Award winners four times with Jim Palmer and Mike Cuellar and pitchers who won 20 or more games 18 times.
After the 1977 season, Selig hired Harry Dalton as Milwaukee's general manager and Dalton hired Mr. Bamberger as his manager. He led the team to 93-69 record in 1978 and 95-66 the following year.
A heart ailment that required bypass surgery after the season limited Mr. Bamberger to 92 games in 1980.
"He taught me a lot," Selig said. "There's nobody who knew pitching like he did. He believed pitchers should throw more. He didn't like the five-day rotation."
Mr. Bamberger came out of retirement to manage the Mets in 1982 and part of 1983 before returning to manage the Brewers in 1985 and 1986. He had 458-to-478 record as a major league manager, including 377-351 with the Brewers.
Mr. Bamberger was a right-handed pitcher who spent most of his playing career in the minor leagues, including 15 years at Triple-A. He won 213 games in the minors from 1946 to 1963, but never had a decision and compiled a 9.42 ERA in 10 major league games over 14 1-3 innings with the New York Giants in 1951 and 1952 and Orioles in 1959.
While baseball reference books list Mr. Bamberger's birth date as Aug. 1, 1925, his daughter, Lori Bailey, said her father was born in 1923 in
Staten Island, N.Y. He served in the Army during World War II.
In 1979, Mr. Bamberger moved from Baltimore to Redington Beach.
He leaves his wife of 53 years, Wilma; three daughters; five grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.