“...Dick Gordon, Weaver’s marketing manager, led the service. The family requested he obtain a copy of Terry Cashman’s song, “The Earl of Baltimore,” to be played during the ceremony.
“Being with Earl so many years, he wouldn’t be satisfied,” Gordon said. “I could do better than that.”
He then introduced Cashman, the famed baseball songwriter, to sing his tribute to Weaver.
Brooks was the heart. Frank was the soul. McNally, Mike and Palmer were his Orioles, winning with Weaver, winning for Baltimore. The men in blue, oh he drove them wild. The fight and the fire, that leprechaun smile. We’ll always remember the Earl of Baltimore…”
I’ve read all of Weaver’s books multiple times. The thing he said he was most proud of was that none of the players he released ever came back to haunt him. That’s a manager’s attribute that doesn’t get discussed enough. Being able to separate who really can play and who can’t is the most important skill of a manager. How can a manager get the most out of his players if he isn’t a great talent evaluator?
Loud, profane, egotistical, belligerent, confrontational, Weaver never denied being any of those things, but they were merely part of the makeup of what best described the Hall-of-Fame Baltimore Orioles manager: Winner.
In baseball’s manager annals, Weaver, who piloted the Orioles to six division titles, four American League pennants, five 100-win seasons and one World Series championship from 1968-86, ranks seventh all-time in winning percentage (1,480-1,060, .583) and first among managers whose careers began after 1960.
The “Earl of Baltimore” was one of baseball’s most colorful characters, an irascible and volatile 5-foot-6 “gnome” whose arguments with umpires and even his own players, like Hall-of-Fame pitcher Jim Palmer, are the stuff of legend. Weaver’s 97 ejections rank third on the all-time list behind Bobby Cox and John McGraw and to the best of anyone’s knowledge he never apologized for any of them. When asked one time by Orioles outfielder Pat Kelly if he wanted to participate in team chapel and “walk with the lord,” Weaver famously replied: (“No thanks. I’d rather walk with the (bleeping) bases loaded.”
Bob Davidson thought he had made the correct call. In his mind, it wasn’t even debatable.
Nevertheless, after the umpire declared a runner safe on a swipe of second base during a contest at Dodger Stadium in 1984, Los Angeles skipper Tommy Lasorda stormed out of the dugout.
Davidson, then in just his third big league season, prepared for the worst. He got something different.
“All he talked about was an Italian restaurant he ate at and how the wine was bad,” Davidson said. “He said, ‘Hey, you have to throw me out, because I have 48,000 people in the ballpark.’ I remember the ‘argument’ was heated.”
A shouting match between a manager and umpire doesn’t always contain the dialogue fans envision. Umpires must wear an assortment of hats. Aside from delivering the proper calls, they often moonlight as therapists when a skipper voices his frustration about his team’s play or, in Lasorda’s case, vents about lousy Italian fare. The masked men must also perfect the art of acting, because the slightest hint of a grin or laughter can reveal the true immaterial content of the supposedly tempestuous talk.
“There have been times when I thought it was quite hysterical the way a manager was going about it and what he was doing,” said umpire Tom Hallion, who has 22 years of big league experience. “Obviously, being a professional, you can’t show those emotions out on the field. You have to stand there and argue back at them, or take it like it’s a serious matter.”
As Lasorda spouted off about tortellini and vermicelli, crew chief John Kibler joined the huddle to listen to the skipper’s gripe.
“Kibler had to put his hand over his mouth, because he started laughing and that would give it away,” Davidson said.