I was sorry to hear of Earl Weaver’s passing today. I have written about him before. He was a big coaching figure in my childhood. Both my father and my brother regarded him as the brilliant manager of their beloved Baltimore Orioles. As a result I read his book which I found incredibly valuable despite the fact that I coach an entirely different sport.
Paul White writes in USA Today about his great abilities as an innovator as well as his strong personality.”The lasting visions of Earl Weaver always will include an irate man with hat askew, kicking dirt and screaming at an umpire. But the Hall of Fame manager was more innovator than instigator.”
The Washington Post’s Bart Barnes weighs in on Weaver describing his tremendous winning records, his ability to manage players and the tremendous toll that coaching took on the man.
Allen St John from Forbes adds a tribute to Weaver which addresses the difference between the man and the myth. “We tend to think of Weaver as an old guy, and, indeed, he was the prototype for the grizzled manager in Bull Durham. But Weaver was only 37 years old when he got his first managerial job–only five years older than his star player Frank Robinson. He was only 55 years old when he retired in 1982.”
The Baltimore Sun sums up his career nicely, “Weaver piloted the Orioles from 1968 to 1982, and in 1985-86, earning nicknames like “the little genius” and “the Earl of Baltimore.” Weaver’s teams won 1,480 games and lost 1,060, and his lifetime winning percentage (.583) ranks ninth all-time and fifth among managers in the modern era who managed 10 years or more. Five times, Baltimore won at least 100 games for Weaver, who stood 5-feet-7 but was a legend to his players.
“Having Earl gives us a four-game lead on everybody,” pitcher Sammy Stewart once said.”