Earl Weaver wrapped up his Major League Baseball managing career in 1986, when I was just 7-years old and barely wise enough to know why that old man was screaming at the umpire and being ejected from the game. I do know that he was a St. Louis guy, which makes it somewhat endearing that he spent his post-playing days managing the team that was once the St. Louis Browns, but it was only thanks to this Internet and YouTube era that I’ve truly been able to appreciate the man who still leads all American League managers with 94 ejections. May that record stand long and proud.
Weaver passed away last night at the age of 82. His marketing agent announced that Weaver collapsed on a cruise that was sponsored by the Baltimore Orioles; however, the cause of death is yet unknown. All I can hope for is that he got to give the cruise director hell. “You call that a deluxe seafood buffet,” he’d shout before throwing first base into the ocean, I like to imagine.
Weaver actually helped me appreciate baseball in a more unusual way, certainly one that he probably would have hated, in that Earl Weaver Baseball was the first computer game that I can remember owning and playing. It was a maddening, frustrating experience in hand-eye coordination, as everything that was produced by that floppy disk made me furious. But it taught me a lot about baseball and the guys who played it for so many years, so Earl Weaver will always hold a special place in my heart for that.
Fortunately, this YouTube era indeed allows us to remember that Weaver was a grizzled, old school manager who didn’t give a damn. He was brash and unapologetic, and that’s why so many people loved him. And it’s that brash and unapologetic attitude that gave us his unaired edition of Manager’s Corner, in which he answered fan questions with more curse words than I ever knew existed.
Thanks for all the laughs and home runs, Earl.