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RIP Earl Weaver


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I will order Weaver on Strategy: The Classic Work on the Art of Managing a Baseball Team on Amazon today. The best manager in the history of the game. I was 6 when the O's swept Koufax and Drysdale and the Dodgers in 1966. Weaver wasn''t yet their manager, but I became a diehard MLB fan and Orioles fan right then. I adopted the Brewers after moving to Wisconsin and listening to Uecker on the radio, but the Orioles will always be "my team". The organization owes their successes to the Earl of Baltimore. RIP.



From Dan Agoniste. http://danagonistes.blogspot.com/2005/04/wisdom-of-weaver.html

Weaver's First Law: No one's going to give a damn in July if you lost a game in March

Excellent point of course. However, for a young team I think there is a bit of confidence that can be gained by playing well in Spring Training. I think what Weaver had in mind is managing to win games in March versus using those games as a tool for player evaluation.



Weaver's Second Law: If you don't make any promises to your players you won't have to break them

Weaver mentions that ideally he wouldn't have to talk to any of his players all season. He also notes that players, for example relief pitchers, who have to be told what their "role" is just don't get it. When asked such a question he would often retort "Your role is to warmup when I tell you and come in the game and pitch when I tell you."



Weaver's Third Law: The easiest way around the bases is with one swing of the bat Can't argue with that logic. In other words power and speed are not equals.



Weaver's Fourth Law: Your most precious possessions on offense are your twenty-seven outs

Weaver was ahead of his time in understanding the importance of not giving away outs. He says it makes no sense to bunt early in the game since you're giving away an out in a situation where a single run is not crucial. The opportunity cost of giving away outs early always exceeds the benefit.



Weaver's Fifth Law: If you play for one run, that's all you'll get

A corollary to the fourth law.



Weaver's Sixth Law: Don't play for one run unless you know that run will win a ballgame

The reason for the fifth law. Dusty Baker should learn this one.



Weaver's Seventh Law: It's easier to find four good starters than five

Once again, impecable logic. I've written before about the long awaited return of the four-man rotation. Craig Wright wrote about this topic at length in The Diamond Appraised in the late 1980s and others have shown that it is not the four-man rotation that increases the risk of injury but rather heavy pitch count games, especially at young ages. Someday, someone will try it and it'll be successful.



Weaver's Eighth Law: The best place for a rookie pitcher is in long relief

Not too much to say about this one. The idea is to not put too much pressure on a rookie and let them develop a bit before relying on them.



Weaver's Ninth Law: The key step for an infielder is the first one - left or right - but before the ball is hit

Weaver talks a bit about defense and cites Al Bumbry as an example of a player who learned how to do this.



Weaver's Tenth Law: The job of arguing with the umpire belongs to the manager, because it won't hurt the team if he gets thrown out of the game

Well, on this score Weaver did his job.

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He's probably my favorite manager of all time. That standing ovation and the crowd chanting his name after the last game of the 82 season vs the Milwaukee Brewers that lasted 15 minutes says it all. Rest in peace, Earl. Man we just lost a great baseball mind.
Robin Yount - “But what I'd really like to tell you is I never dreamed of being in the Hall of Fame. Standing here with all these great players was beyond any of my dreams.”
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"The thing that surprised me most in baseball is the amount of integrity that most umpires have. It actually took me a while to believe what a good game they'd give you the next night after a blow-up." (Earl Weaver)


"The job of arguing with the umpire belongs to the manager, because it won't hurt the team if he gets thrown out of the game." (Earl Weaver)


"You know Earl. He's not happy unless he's not happy." (Elrod Hendricks on Earl Weaver)

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What a great manager and a colorful character. With his 'wait for the three-run homer' approach, he was a forefather of the modern school of baseball strategy. Hard to believe that it was over 30 years ago when he first retired from the Orioles after the game 162 against the Brewers. He was only 52 at the time, but seemed a lot older to me for whatever reason. Baseball lost a lot of history in the past 24 hours.
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Weaver was a truly great manager. He had great talent and knew how to handle it. He was crusty for sure, and not all that likeable (he really softened his image with his later TV work), but a brilliant baseball mind, well ahead of his peers and not afraid to go against conventional wisdom of the day.
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