With the passing of Earl Weaver on Friday, baseball lost one of its most irascible—and best—managers. Not only was he tossed from a record 91 games, but he inspired then-Yankees manager Billy Martin to threaten that “the next time one of our guys is deliberately thrown at, I’m going to deck Earl at home.”
But the classically gruff exterior obscured a real genius for maximizing the potential of a 25-man roster. Earl Weaver was moneyball decades before “Moneyball” existed.
Take it from Orioles manager Earl Weaver, who, upon visiting the mound to talk to pitcher Ross Grimsley during a bases-loaded situation, offered a simple suggestion: “If you know how to cheat, this would be a good time to start.”
Orioles skipper Earl Weaver was once sitting in the dugout when one of his pitchers gave up a home run. As the batter rounded third, he looked toward the Orioles bench, made eye contact with the manager and extended his middle finger. “What the hell was that?” a befuddled Weaver asked Billy Hunter, one of his coaches. Hunter knew exactly what the hell that was. “You didn’t select him for the All-Star Game,” he said.