COMMENTARY | As a man living in Maryland outside of Washington, D.C., I grew up loving the Baltimore Orioles.
I've always tried to take the time to follow up on the current roster and events, but I also love to read up on the past and learn about some of the men who have donned a Baltimore uniform.
Every Orioles fan knows these first names: Frank, Brooks, Cal, Eddie, Jim and Earl. They are all Hall of Famers, immortals in the city of Baltimore.
On Saturday, we lost one of them.
Former Orioles manager and National Baseball Hall of Fame member Earl Weaver passed away at the age of 82 on Jan. 18. He suffered a heart attack while on a cruise sponsored by the Baltimore Orioles.
Over the weekend, the sports world celebrated the life of Weaver through various articles, on radio, on web videos, and news on television. There's a common theme that was heard from anyone who knew Weaver over the weekend: He was a progressive, brilliant manager who got the most out of his players — whether they were stars or role players — and won.
Weaver won the Word Series in 1970 as the Orioles defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates; his teams won 100 games three consecutive years, won four American League pennants (1969-71, 1979), and used the mantra of "pitching, defense, and the three-run homer" to succeed in baseball.
His managerial record in his 17-year major-league career — all with the Orioles (1968-82, 1985-86) — is 1,480-1,060.
Of course, Weaver — a small, sometimes profane man who stood at 5-foot-7 — also became a legend for his notorious and fiery arguments with umpires. He was ejected from 91 games in his career. Only John McGraw of the New York Giants and Bobby Cox of the Atlanta Braves were thrown out of more contests.
Growing up as a kid, I learned whom Weaver was, and not only what he represented with the city of Baltimore but also in the world of baseball.
Even though I did not know Earl Weaver, it feels as if I did.
He seemed to come off as a simple, lunch-pail type that fit a gritty, industrial city region like Baltimore. Obviously, he was far more complicated than that.
I do not have any recollection of him managing since I was born in the late-1970s and was in elementary school when he retired. However, I knew that Weaver had a connection to Baltimore that only few personalities ever have earned.
It is a mixture of sports, winning, and perhaps most noteworthy, a desire to do extraordinary things and loyalty to the same place.