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Saturday, January 19, 2013

R.I.P. the Earl of Weaver...

                                  I remember the first Earl Weaver card I had; it was a Topps 1978, which displayed every year he played up until 1977.  Earl never made it to the majors, so it just showed his minor league stats...all 13 years of them.  For some reason, baseball cards didn't show a managerial record then, which is a shame, because Earl was one of the greatest mangers ever.  Sure, we all know about the four pennants and one World championship in 1970; but did you know the Orioles never finished below third the entire time he managed from 1968-1982?  The man knew baseball, especially how to handle pitchers...in particular, the headcase known as Jim Palmer...


                   Jim Palmer...hall of fame, three time CY Young winner, underwear spokesman, apparently was a bit difficult to deal with.  Tom Boswell, who covered the Orioles writing for the Washington Post has said that "Palmer's complexes had complexes" and also that "If it weren't for Earl Weaver, Palmer wouldn't have won 50 games in the majors".  In 1971, the Orioles set a record that will probably never be broken, when four pitchers, Palmer, Mike Cuellar, Dave MacNally and Pat Dobson each won 20 games. Earl's "pitching, defense and waiting for the three run homer" strategy, may have rubbed some people the wrong way, but you can't argue with results.


            Five Hall of famers played all or a good amount of their career under Weaver; Brooks  Robinson, Frank Robinson ( no relation ),Palmer, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken, who Earl convinced to move from third to shortstop and was the manager at the beginning of his record breaking streak. Reggie Jackson also played for Earl for one year in 1976, in between his A's and Yankee years.  Reggie has said that Earl was one of the funniest men he has ever met, and had set a then record of consecutive games with at least one homer...


            Oh yeah, there was his personality...he was ejected from a then- record game 91 times (since broken by Bobby Cox ), often getting in the ump's face,  backward cap and all and screaming...he didn't do it for show, he simply didn't want his best players being thrown out.  There's an infamous "Manager's corner", an Orioles post game show, in which the host asks Earl a bunch of seemingly harmless questions, only to be met with angry, four letter responses.  I've included the audio on here.  I've also included a classic Earl ejection, which I believe happened in the first inning of the first game of 1980 (I could be wrong about the details, but it's absolutely hilarious ).


            So, R.I.P., the Earl of Weaver.  He was one of my favorites;I've even included him in one of my bits, which I'll also include, because, why not?...Every time I see the Orioles hitting coach Terry Crowley on T.V. during a game, all I can think about is... "Terry Crowley's lucky he's in fuckin' baseball, for Christ sake's...

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