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Earl Weaver

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Earl Weaver

Earl Weaver, 1975

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Updated January 21, 2013

Vital Statistics:

Born: Aug. 14, 1930

Died: Jan, 19, 2013

Hometown: St. Louis, Mo.

Height: 5-7

Weight: 180 pounds

Family: Wife, Marianna (second wife, 49-year marriage). Son, two daughters, seven grandchildren, three great-grandchildren

Primary position: Manager

Before the bigs:

  • Signed at age 17 by his hometown St. Louis Cardinals as a second baseman, he bounced around the minor leagues for 14 seasons and never advanced beyond Double-A.
  • His best season was in 1954, when he hit .283 in 143 games for Single-A Denver in his first season in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization at age 23. He hit .278 at Double-A New Orleans the next season, but he ended up in the Baltimore Orioles organization after a poor 1956 season, and that's when he began his managerial career.
  • Managed in the Orioles system from 1957-1968 at places such as Fitzgerald (Ga.), Dublin (Ga.), Aberdeen (S.D.), Fox Cities (Wis.), Elmira (N.Y.) and Rochester (N.Y.). Compiled a record of 841-697 as a minor-league manager.
  • Became the Orioles' first-base coach in 1968, and took over as manager at age 37 halfway through that season when the Orioles fired Hank Bauer.

Career Highlights:

  • One of the greatest managers in modern history, as his Orioles teams had a winning record in every one of his seasons until his final one in 1986.
  • Won a World Series and four American League pennants, compiling a 1,480-1,060 record in 17 seasons. His .583 winning percentage was the best of any manager after 1960 who was in charge for six or more seasons.
  • The hot-tempered Weaver also was well known for being ejected from games and his arguments with umpires. He was ejected from games at least 91 times, according to an ESPN story, and was ejected from both ends of a doubleheader three times.
  • A pioneer in many aspects of baseball managing, he pioneered the use of the radar gun to track the speed of pitches, and also valued walks and on-base percentage more than managers of his day, which became the foundation for sabermetrics, which didn't come along until long after Weaver's anagerial career had ended. Managing his entire career in the American League, his teams were known for great starting pitching, and little bunting or base-stealing. His philosophy was often quoted as "pitching, defemse and the three-run homer." He also was a big believer in the platoon system and using statistics in one-on-one matchups.
  • Managed several Hall of Fame players, including Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr.
  • After leading the Orioles to a 48-34 record in the second half of the 1968 season, he led the Orioles to the American League pennant in 1969, going 109-53 before losing to the "Miracle" New York Mets in the World Series.
  • Won 108 games in 1970 on a team that had three 20-game winners (Jim Palmer, Mike Cuellar and Dave McNally) and the Orioles' second World Series title in five games over the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Won a third consecutive pennant in 1971, but the Orioles lost in a seven-game World Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. That team had four 20-game winners (Palmer, Cuellar, McNally and Pat Dobson), a record no team has achieved since then.
  • Orioles won division titles in 1973 and 1974 but lost to Oakland in the league championship series in both seasons.
  • Won another pennant in 1979, but the Orioles lost in a seven-game World Series, again to the Pirates.
  • Retired initially after the 1982 season, and the Orioles won the World Series in 1983 under Joe Altobelli. He came back to manage the team in the 1985 and 1986, and retired for good at age 55 after his only losing season in the big leagues.

After retirement:

  • Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996 by the veterans' committee.
  • Almost became the John Madden of baseball video games, as the basis of his managing was built into Earl Weaver Baseball, a groundbreaking game by Electronic Arts first developed in 1987.
  • Worked as a broadcaster for ABC between his two managerial stints, and was the lead analyst in the 1983 World Series, won by the Orioles.
  • His No. 4 was retired by the Orioles in 1982.
  • Also wrote three books on baseball.
  • Died at age 82 on a Caribbean cruise in January 2013.
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