This past week, former Baltimore Oriole manager, Earl Weaver, passed away at age 82. At the time, he was on a cruise ship that was headed back into the port of Ft. Lauderdale, after having spent a week with a bunch of Oriole fans and some former Orioles players, on an Oriole theme cruise.
Normally, I wouldn’t write a blog to remember a former baseball manager. However, for any Oriole fan, he represents everything good about the Orioles. Plus, he was especially known for taking on umpires. If you type in any “Earl Weaver” search, it will bring up several videos that show him arguing with umpires.
He did not mind adversity. In fact, he believed that it was his job to argue. He always felt that he would argue for the players so that they didn’t get thrown out of the game. As he said, “I’m only the manager”. That kind of arguing and his lack of fear always made me think that he would have been a great lawyer.
I am not going to write about his hall of fame career as a manager. There are many stories on how he managed. I remember that pitcher Jim Palmer used to humorously say that, “the only thing that Earl knew about pitching, was that he couldn’t hit it”. I could be off a bit on the quote, but one reporter asked him about what part that intellect played in managing. He replied that he was “a whole lot smarter when his players hit a three-run homer”.
Instead of focusing on his humor or how he managed or his relationship with Jim Palmer or other players at the time, I thought that I would focus on his “life thoughts”. I found them in an article in the Washington Post , written by Thomas Boswell, who knew Earl well and still writes about baseball.
The first is about growing up and leadership:
Until you’re the person that other people fall back on, until you’re the one that’s leaned on, not the person doing the leaning, you’re not an adult. You reach an age when suddenly you realize you have to be that person. Divorce did it to me. It could be elderly parents, children … anything. But one day you realize, ‘It’s me. I’ve got to be the rock.'”
Another unusual choice that Earl made was to retire at age 52. Then, he was briefly talked into managing again but quickly retired after that, and was finished entirely. No one could believe that this “ball of fire” could just leave competition behind and never come back. He explained it this way on retirement and the simple things of life:
“I know exactly what I need to live on, have since ’57. I’m always going to do the same things. I grow all my own vegetables. I stuff my own sausages. Pork shoulders will be coming on sale next month. I look for chuck roast on sale to use in stew or grind up for hamburgers,” Weaver said. “Doing that takes time and I enjoy it. I’ll have plenty [of money] to play golf every day, run out to Hialeah or the dogs, take [wife] Marianna out to dinner in Fort Lauderdale, and take a walk on the beach. . . . don’t want to spend my whole life watching the sun go down behind the left field bleachers.”
Good thoughts on life! So long Earl… you gave this Oriole fan some great memories.
For pic o’ day, here is “Delivery Dog”. What he is delivering is probably a bunch of nonsense!!!! I think that the box would really come up a bit empty.