In the midst of all the silliness that’s going on in the world of sports (Lance Armstrong, Manti Te’o), we learn of the passing of one of the greatest managers in the history of baseball, Earl Weaver. He died Friday at the age of 82.
Throughout the 1970′s, Earl guided the Baltimore Orioles to four World Series, winning one in 1970, and constantly having them in contention for the postseason in the American League East. Between 1973 and 1976, I can recall some of the most intense games for Boston Red Sox were against the Orioles. At the time, the New York Yankees were in a downward spiral and the O’s were the team to beat the AL East.
He had two tenures managing the O’s, from 1968 through 1982 and again between 1985 and 1986. He only had one losing season in his career.
Weaver was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame for his stellar managerial career.
Earl was certainly known for having salty language. He certainly could swear on a dime as evidenced in one of my all-time favorite tapes, a prank Manager’s Corner that never aired, but was circulated for years in radio circles. This was done in 1982 as Earl recorded his pregame segment with then-Orioles broadcaster Tom Marr. It’s so funny. And yes, it’s Not Safe For Work.
I’m still laughing over this. I used to have a copy of this tape. I don’t know where it is now, but I used to listen to it constantly. Back in 2008, Rick Maese, then of the Baltimore Sun (now he’s with the Washington Post), looked into how the tape came to light.
Of course, Weaver was well known for his umpire spats. He was ejected 98 times during his career including from both ends of a doubleheader. And while he had a fiery temper, Weaver’s arguments were certainly entertaining like this one with umpire Bill Haller. Again, Not Safe For Work.
In this video from 1982, Weaver had already announced his retirement from the O’s. This marked his last game of his first tenure, a loss to the Milwaukee Brewers in the last game of the season. The Brewers won to go to the American League Championship Series against the California Angels. Weaver was emotional. ABC Sports broadcast the game and the great Howard Cosell was at the mic to describe the scene.
In between his two managerial stints for the Orioles, Weaver joined ABC to become an analyst on Monday Night Baseball and joined Al Michaels and Howard Cosell in the broadcast booth. In fact, Weaver was in the booth calling his old Orioles team win the 1983 World Series for ABC as SportsRantz recalls. Weaver remained with ABC the following season as part of the “B” team with Don Drysdale, then rejoined the Orioles in 1985.
Following his last stint with the Orioles, Weaver did not venture back into broadcasting, choosing to attend various team events even to his dying day. Weaver died on an Orioles-themed cruise.
Weaver was beloved by Orioles fans and remained popular in retirement. He will be missed by baseball fans all over.