Thursday, August 14, 2008


Today is Earl Weaver's 78th birthday. For a Baltimore born baseball fan, being a baseball fan was never more fun than from 1968-1982 when the Earl of Baltimore commanded the Orioles to one World Championship, four World Series, and six Playoff appearances.

Weaver did a remarkable job providing instant on the job training for umpires with whom he disagreed and maintained a comical war of words with his most dependable future hall-of-fame pitcher, Jim Palmer.

During his tenure, he had the honor of writing hall of fame players Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, and even Reggie Jackson for one season. Though the Orioles had a wealth of All-Stars, it was Weaver's genius on using role players and effective platoons to keep the Orioles in contention through the whole period.

Tragically, his tenure ended in what amounted to a sudden death playoff for the Eastern Division championship where the Milwaukee Brewers were in town tied for first place with one game to go. In a classic rivalry between Jim Palmer and Don Sutton, the Brewers prevailed. Earl's last team would remain intact in 1983 to win it all beating the Philadelphia Phillies in five games to be World Champions. On that fateful Sunday, however, in October, 1982, despite the Orioles loss, a packed Memorial Stadium lingered shouting cheers and saluting the feisty firebreathing little general with a heart of gold.

Weaver was coaxed out of retirement in 1985 and managed the team for the entire 1986. The once great Orioles were in decline. The results were an ugly footnote to a brilliant career.

Happy in retirement in Florida, the Earl remains as sharp as ever knowledgeable of today's world of baseball while still following his beloved Orioles and local Marlins. In an interview with Tom Davis on MASN, Earl critiqued the curent Orioles seeing the hard work that remains but praising the efforts of Andy McPhail and Dave Trembley stewarding the rebuilding process so far.

Jim Palmer surely sends his love.

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