An Earl gets knighted Weaver in Hall of Fame: Time has burnished accomplishments of Orioles' former manager.

March 09, 1996

IN A SENSE, we are all Jim Palmer.

During his playing days with the Baltimore Orioles, the Hall of Fame pitcher's arguments with Earl Weaver were legend. Mr. Weaver described them as occasionally bordering on "violent." But when ample time elapsed to consider Mr. Weaver himself as a candidate for induction to the baseball shrine in upstate New York, Mr. Palmer penned a hearty endorsement for his former boss. Like an adult who comes to value his parents' guidance in ways he couldn't appreciate as an adolescent, so had Mr. Palmer come to understand the fiery brillance of Earl Weaver.

Baltimoreans, too, may have taken Mr. Weaver for granted back xTC in the days when they considered 90-win seasons and American League pennants their birthright. Wander the desert for a while, as the home nine has done for a decade or so now, and those milk-and-honey seasons seem all the sweeter, however. The ovation that cascaded upon the retiring manager after a valiant last-gasp attempt to gain a playoff berth in 1982 was a sign of how much the "Earl of Baltimore" had come to mean to Orioles' fans. Years later, the roar that welcomed his appearances at festivities to close Memorial Stadium in 1991 and to celebrate Cal Ripken Jr.'s consecutive games record last summer were further evidence of how the O's faithful had come to realize the grandeur of this brash elfin man who kicked dirt on umpires and led one of professional sport's rare dynasties.

Hundreds are expected to travel to Cooperstown, N.Y., the first weekend of August, as many did for Mr. Palmer and Brooks and Frank Robinson and local Negro League star Leon Day when they were inducted into the Hall of Fame. They will make the pilgrimage to cheer Mr. Weaver, as well as the memory of "Foxy" Ned Hanlon, a legendary Orioles manager of the late 19th century who is regarded as a pioneer of modern baseball strategy. In both instances, the inductions certify contributions that weren't amply appreciated before. No doubt Mr. Palmer would concur.

Pub Date: 3/09/96

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