For many, the lasting image of Earl Weaver will be that of a fiery, short man kicking dirt and spewing his displeasure at an umpire. Weaver's personality — described as "combative," "irascible" and also "caring" — carried from his childhood to a lengthy stint in the minor leagues and then through a Hall of Fame managerial career with the Orioles and beyond.
A timeline of Weaver's life:
1930: Earl Sydney Weaver is born Aug. 14 in St. Louis. Raised in a tough section of the city, Weaver's pugnacious personality developed early. "I got in a lot of fights as a kid, and because I had some baseball ability, I was always playing with guys three or four years older," Weaver told The Sun in 1996. "So whenever I got in a fight, I got beat up."
1948: Weaver is signed by the St. Louis Cardinals. The light-hitting second baseman never rose higher than Double-A, but eventually transitioned into managing at the minor league level. He joined the Orioles organization in 1957.
1968: After more than 11 years working in their minor league system, Weaver is promoted to the Orioles' first base coach heading into the 1968 season. By midseason he replaces Hank Bauer as manager, making his debut July 11. "So now another guy joins the sleepless nights brigade and Bauer gets a paid vacation," Evening Sun columnist Phil Jackman wrote at the time. "It's a good life, but short." Under Weaver, the Orioles finish the season 48-34.
1969: The Orioles go 109-53 and win the American League pennant. They lose to the New York Mets in the World Series in five games. "The only thing I'm unhappy about as far as the whole year is concerned is that we didn't beat the Mets in the World Series," Weaver said.
1970: Weaver's Orioles go 108-54 and win the franchise's second World Series title, defeating the Cincinnati Reds in five games. Among those to congratulate the team in the clubhouse was Reds manager Sparky Anderson, who, according to The Sun, rushed in and proclaimed, "I hope Earl Weaver gets the credit he deserves now!" Weaver didn't win the first of his three AL Manager of the Year awards until 1973 (the others came in 1977 and 1979).
1979: The Orioles go 102-57 and win their fourth AL pennant under Weaver but drop the World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates in seven games. The Orioles held a 3-1 lead in the series before dropping the final three games. "I don't know why they didn't make the World Series three out of five," Weaver said after the Game 7 loss.
1982: Weaver retires after the Orioles fall, 10-2, to the Milwaukee Brewers on the final day of the season, a game that decided the Eastern Division title. "The one thing we [he and his wife, Marianna] don't want to do is leave Baltimore," he told The Sun days later as he packed up his desk and locker at Memorial Stadium.
1983: Between his stints as Orioles manager, Weaver works as a color commentator for ABC. He was on the call during the 1983 World Series, when the Orioles defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in five games.
1985: In June, Weaver returns as Orioles manager, replacing the man who replaced him, Joe Altobelli (Cal Ripken, Sr. served one game as manager in between). "He was special, but I didn't realize it until he was gone," catcher Rick Dempsey said of Weaver after it was announced he was returning. "No one knew what he did for us until we didn't have him anymore." The team goes 52-52 with Weaver back in the dugout that season, finishing in third place.
1986: The Orioles go 73-89 and finish seventh, Weaver's only losing season in the majors and his last before retiring again. "Nobody likes to finish last, but I'm glad I came back," he said at the time. "I don't regret it."
1996: On Aug. 4, Weaver is inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. "I have a tremendous feeling of humility, and this comes from the fact that I am standing in front of the greatest baseball players and baseball people who ever lived," Weaver said. "From the time I was real young right to this day, these were the people I looked up to, idolized and worshiped. How could any baseball fan not be humbled to be included in this group of gentlemen? Believe me, it's overwhelming."
1998: Weaver spends about a week in the hospital in August after a heart attack. It leads him to quit smoking, which he discussed with The Sun the following month. "When you get up to two packs a day, it's not enjoyable," Weaver said. "I'm just happy I quit. The house smells better, the stains are off my fingers and I've saved about 80 bucks."
2012: On June 30, a sculpture of Weaver is unveiled beyond the center field fence at Camden Yards. The 5-foot-7 Weaver jokes about the statue's 7-foot height. "Even LeBron [James] will have to look up to [the statue]," he said. "I guess there will be a lot of kids looking up at me, too, and saying, 'Who is this?' I just hope their dads and grandfathers have the statistics to show why I'm standing there."
2013: On Jan. 18, Weaver dies while on a baseball-themed cruise in the Caribbean. "There weren't any gray areas with Earl," Hall of Famer pitcher Jim Palmer said Saturday morning. "Earl was going to tell you what he expected and there wasn't a lot of room for error with him. Earl was about winning and that was what he did."
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