Tuesday, October 7, 2014

1978 Topps Baseball #211 - Earl Weaver

  • Earl Weaver started his minor league career in the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 1948. Weaver played in the Cardinals organization from 1948-1953 without rising above the AA level. Earl then played in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization from 1954-1956. Weaver realized he wasn't going to progress much higher as a player, so he turned to managing. 
  • In 1957 Weaver was hired to manage in the Baltimore Orioles system. Earl worked his way up the chain and was above .500 every year from 1959-1967.
  • Weaver was added to the coaching staff of the Orioles in 1968. Oriole GM Harry Dalton thought the team was under performing and it was only a matter of time before Weaver was to become the manager. Weaver became the manager after the all star break and the team finished second in the American League.
  • The Orioles ran off three great seasons in a row from 1969-1971, appearing in the World Series each year. Things came together for the team and they won over 100 games each of those seasons. Baltimore lost to the Amazin' Mets in the 1969 World Series and then beat the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970 World Series. The Orioles lost in seven games to the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1971.
  • The Orioles started to age in 1972. They still won the AL East in 1973 and 1974, but they weren't able to beat the Oakland A's in the League Championship Series. 
  • Baltimore came back to win the AL East in 1979. After beating the California Angels in the League Championship Series, the Orioles lost to the Pirates in seven games in the World Series.
  • The Orioles had one last hurrah in 1982. They had a great stretch run and finished the season tied with the Milwaukee Brewers on top of the AL East. Baltimore lost the playoff game and Weaver retired (for the first time) after the season. (It was interesting to see the article on the same page that had the Giants predicted to finish last in their division. The Giants had one of their few good seasons in that era and were alive until the final week of the season)
  • Earl worked as an announcer for ABC in 1983 and 1984 and was also a consultant for the Orioles.
  • Weaver was coaxed out of retirement in 1985 by Baltimore owner Edward Bennett Williams. The team was struggling and it was felt that Weaver could give them a shot in the arm. Baltimore played better than .500 for Weaver in 1985, but they finished last in the AL East with a 73-89 record in 1986. It was Weaver's only season below .500 in the major leagues and the first time one of his teams finished below .500 since 1957. Weaver retired (this time for good) after the 1986 season.
  • In 17 major league seasons Weaver had a record of 1553-1123 (.580) with four AL pennants and one World Championship.
  • Electronic Arts came out with Earl Weaver Baseball in 1987. I remember spending a lot of hours playing that game before I got a PC and was able to play the APBA and Strat-O-Matic computer games.
  • Earl managed the Gold Coast Suns in the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1989.
  • Weaver was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.
  • Earl had his "10 Laws of Baseball"

    • No one’s going to give a damn in July if you lost a game in March.
    • If you don’t make any promises to your players, you won’t have to break them.
    • The easiest way around the bases is with one swing of the bat.
    • Your most precious possessions on offense are your 27 outs.
    • If you play for one run, that’s all you’ll get.
    • Don’t play for one run unless you know that run will win a ballgame.
    • It’s easier to find four good starters than five.
    • The best place for a rookie pitcher is long relief.
    • The key step for an infielder is the first one—left or right—but before the ball is hit.
    • The job of arguing with the umpires belongs to the manager, because it won’t hurt the team if he gets kicked out of the game.
  • Earl died of an apparent heart attack while on an Orioles fantasy cruise on January 19, 2013.
  • Earl Weaver's SABR biography
One of Earl's infamous arguments with an umpire

Earl's farewell in 1982