Twist and Shout

Twist and Shout
Life is never straight (Joey Kulkin photo)

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Vignettes from Vermont: Earl Weaver Dead at 82 (NSFW)

Earl Weaver arguing with home plate ump Marty Springstead
on 7-13-74. Read the USA Today story HERE

"On my tombstone just write,
The sorest loser who ever lived."

BENNINGTON -- The eloquent obituaries and stories will roll in throughout the weekend and into the week, and every last one of those obituaries and stories about Earl Weaver will talk about how goddamn crazy the silver fox became while he screamed at umpires.

Earl Weaver died Saturday on a cruise sponsored by the Baltimore Orioles, the team he managed from 1968 to 1986. His record alone puts him in rarefied air: 1,480 wins (1,060 losses) and never a losing record. Four pennants and the 1970 World Series title with a pitching staff that featured Palmer (20-10), Cuellar (24-8) and McNally (24-9).

From 1969 to 1971 the Orioles won 109, 108 and 101 games a season. Two other years ('79 and '80) they won 102 and 100 games. The Orioles under Weaver won the American League East 6 times and finished second 7 times. Only twice did the Orioles under Weaver finish 4th or worse -- in '78 with a 90-71 record and during the strike season of '81 (second half, 28-23 record after going 31-23 in the first half).

O's fans were spoiled rotten during the Earl Weaver era (HERE). But not only for the wins.

The Hall of Famer (elected in '96 by the Veterans Committee) went to the Great Beyond with two pieces of baseball to his credit: the quote about 3-run homers -- "the key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals and 3-run home runs" (more quotes HERE) -- and that maniacal screaming at umps that got him thrown out of 94 games.

The eloquent obituaries and stories will roll in throughout the weekend and into the week. Until then, these videos illustrate Earl Weaver for today's baseball fans who missed out.

Stats you might not read in those stories include those from his playing days in the minors (Triple-A, Double-A, Single-A, B, C and D): 14 years, 1,431 games, 1,320 hits, 226 doubles, 21 triples, 38 homers, .267 average. And his overall coaching record (minors included): 2,355 wins, 1,827 losses.

UPDATE: Orioles fan Jeff Burd of wrote a wonderful retrospective HERE.

It goes without saying, but just in case, this is NSFW: