Saturday, May 31, 2014

Earl Weaver (#516)

Here is long-time Orioles' skipper Earl Weaver. Weaver never played in the big leagues, but had a long career as a minor-league 2nd baseman with the Cardinals (1948-53), Pirates (1954-56), and Orioles (1957-60).

He eased into managing during his final seasons as a player (1956-59), then was a full-time manager in the Orioles' chain from 1961 to 1967.

Earl took over the reins in Baltimore midway through the 1968 season, replacing Hank Bauer. The Orioles had won the World Series in 1966, but struggled for the next 2 seasons, mostly because of injuries to their starting pitchers.

The O's returned to glory in Earl's first full season, winning the AL Pennant in 3 straight years (1969-71), and winning it all in 1970. Earl also guided the team to the 1979 pennant, but narrowly missed the 1983 World Championship, as his 1st tenure as manager ended after the 1982 season.

Weaver returned to the skipper's chair for most of 1985 and all of 1986, before retiring again. Earl was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.

Weaver passed away on January 19, 2013 (the same day as Stan Musial's passing) while on an Orioles' cruise in the Caribbean. He was 82.  Fellow blogger John Hogan from the "Cards That Never Were" blog marked the occasion with a custom 1968 card of Weaver.

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