“I became an optimist when I discovered that I wasn’t going to win any more games by being anything else.”
Earl Sidney Weaver was born on this day in St. Louis, Missouri in 1930. He is 82 years old.
Weaver managed the Baltimore Orioles from 1968-1982 and again from 1985-1986. He became a Hall of Famer a decade later.
He played second base for 13 years in the minor leagues, then he managed for another dozen years in the minors before making it to the Show as a first-base coach for the Orioles in 1968. He took over as Manager in July of that season.
He wore #4 on his Oriole’s jersey and had a .583 winning record while managing the club. The team won 6 American League East titles, had 5 100+ win seasons, won 4 A.L. pennants, and won the 1970 World Series under his leadership.
Weaver didn’t want to bunt or sacrifice to advance a runner, according Hall of Fame player Frank Robinson, “He didn’t even have a hit and run sign…” Earl was all about the three run home run.
He pioneered the use of radar guns to track fast balls in 1975’s Spring Training season (according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.)
He was famous for his heated arguments with umpires that often ended with the manager kicking Memorial Stadium’s infield dirt at the official. Weaver was tossed from 91 regular season games.
Locals also remember the “Tomato Wars” he had with groundskeeper Pat Santarone. Santarone had a patch of plants in the left field foul area, Weaver grew his maters at home. The two argued (good naturedly) for 17 years over who had the best tomatoes in Baltimore.
After he left the O’s he worked as broadcaster for ABC television providing color commentary during the 1983-84 baseball seasons. He also did Manager’s Corner with Tom Marr while he was with the O’s (some times to very colorful effect.)
He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. A bronze statue of the manager was erected at Camden Yards (the “new” home of the Orioles) in June of this year. At seven feet the statue towers over the real life Weaver, who is only 5’7″. Weaver quipped “I guess there will be a lot of kids looking up at me…saying, ‘who is this?'”