|Earl Weaver (cbsnews.com)|
After a short stint with the Knoxville Smokies, the Orioles hired Weaver as the manager of their Fitzgerald club in 1957, moving him around the minors until 1968 when he was brought up to the majors as the Orioles' first-base coach. In what was a glimpse of things to come, Weaver racked up 841 wins and 697 defeats and three championships as a minor league manager.
He didn’t stay at the first base coach job very long. By July, he was the man in charge of the Orioles and his success in the minors transferred to the majors as the Orioles won six Eastern Division titles, four AL pennants, and the 1970 World Series. In addition to this fete, Weaver and his Orioles won 100+ games in five separate seasons (1969, 1970, 1971, 1979, and 1980).
As if the call challenges weren’t enough, Weaver had to add insult to injury with his biting sense of humor towards the abilities of the umpires. When one umpire offered to lend him his rule book, Weaver told him he would get his own because he couldn’t read Braille. Thrown out of game for smoking a cigarette in the dugout, Weaver got tossed the next day for approaching the same umpire with a candy cigarette dangling from his mouth. And his barbs weren’t only directed towards the umpires. In his famous battles with Hall of Fame pitcher, Jim Palmer, Weaver is quoted as saying he gave Palmer “more chances than my ex-wife.”
Despite his belief that his antics on the field would hurt his chances at being nominated to the Baseball Hall of Fame, Weaver was inducted in 1996. His #4 Orioles jersey was retired on September 19, 1982. Weaver died earlier today at the age of 82.
In an October 6, 1982 Washington Post interview, Weaver said, “On my tombstone, just write ‘The sorest loser who ever lived.’” And I hope they remember to add one of the greatest baseball managers ever.
copyright 2013 Korinne M Jackman ALL RIGHTS RESERVED