Earl Weaver, one of the most popular managers in Orioles history and the man who led his team to four World Series appearances and one championship, died Jan. 18 at the age of 82.

Weaver was beloved by Orioles fans for his feisty nature and success. He managed the Orioles from midway through the 1968 season until the end of 1982. Weaver came back during the 1985 season and ran the team until the end of 1986 before retiring for good.

The Orioles made the World Series in 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1979 under Weaver. They won it in 1970, taking five games to beat the Reds. But they dropped seven-game battles with the Pirates in 1971 and 1979, after holding leads of 2-1 during the first one and 3-1 during the second.

“Earl Weaver stands alone as the greatest manager in the history of the Orioles organization and one of the greatest in the history of baseball,” Orioles owner Peter Angelos said in a statement. “This is a sad day for everyone who knew him and for all Orioles fans. Earl made his passion for the Orioles known both on and off the field.”

Weaver finished his career with a record of 1,480-1,060. In the end, his teams won the American League East title six times and were always in the hunt.

But one reason the Baltimore fans loved Weaver so much was that he wasn’t afraid to battle for his team. Some of his arguments with umpires such as Ron Luciano were legendary and would have been even more famous in the video world of today. According to an ESPN article from 2003, Luciano ejected Weaver eight times in the majors and during four straight games in the minors.

“He was ejected in the World Series,” Jim Caple wrote in the article. “He was ejected from both ends of a doubleheader — three times. He was ejected before a game started — twice. … He once tore up the rule book and scattered its pages on the field. He once faked a heart attack. He once ripped up second base and carried it into the dugout.”

Weaver seemed surprised that the fans still had such strong feelings for him when the Orioles unveiled a statue of No. 4 before a game in 2012. He thanked the Angelos family, the Orioles and his former players — while also talking about how much he taught them.

Posted Jan. 19, 2013

Jeff Seidel

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