Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver died earlier today --- he was 82. According to reports, he was on a cruise in the Caribbean when he suffered a heart attack. He was pronounced dead at about 2 a.m. this morning.
Weaver spent his entire 17-year career as manager of the Baltimore Orioles, and became a beloved figure within the organization as well as the community.
“What a great, great baseball man and a legend in Baltimore,” said Orioles GM Dan Duquette (via ESPN.com). “He leaves a terrific legacy of winning baseball with the Orioles and we’re so thankful to have him with the Orioles and grateful for his contributions. Sad to go, but he has a legacy which will live on.”
Weaver was known for his fiery personality, getting into numerous confrontations with players as well as umpires – he was ejected 98 times during his big-league career. However his combative nature was heavily outweighed by his on-field accomplishments.
He led the Orioles to six AL East titles (including five 100-win seasons), four American League pennants and a World Series championship over the Cincinnati Reds in 1970. He registered nearly 1,500 wins in his career with a .583 winning percentage.
Weaver revolutionized the game, introducing radar guns to clock pitchers during 1975 Spring Training.
He was also known for his staunch disbelief in bunting an manufacturing runs through steals and hit-and-runs. His philosophy included just three things: pitching, defense, and the three-run homer.
ESPN baseball analyst Tim Kurkjian referred to Weaver as one of the three greatest managers of all-time on this morning’s edition of Sportscenter.
“[Weaver] won 90 or more games 11 times, he won 100 games three years in a row, 1969 through ’79 he averaged 106 games won per year,” said Kurkjian.
He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in by the Veterans Committee in 1996.
Earl Weaver was small in stature, but what he lacked in size he made up for with heart and leadership. He left an indelible impression on coaches, players and fans and will truly be missed.