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Associated Press
Baltimore manager Earl Weaver and outfielder Frank Robinson celebrate the Orioles winning the AL championship series Oct. 6, 1969.

Orioles’ Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver dies at 82

– Earl Weaver always was up for an argument, especially with an umpire.

At the slightest provocation, the Earl of Baltimore would spin his hat back, point his finger squarely at an ump’s chest and then fire away. The Hall of Fame manager would even tangle with his own players, if necessary.

All this from a 5-foot-6 pepperpot who hated to be doubted.

Although reviled by some, Weaver was beloved in Baltimore and remained an Oriole to the end.

The feisty Hall of Fame manager died at age 82 on a Caribbean cruise associated with the Orioles, his marketing agent said Saturday.

“Earl was a black and white manager,” former O’s ace and Hall of Fame member Jim Palmer said Saturday. “He kind of told you what your job description was going to be and kind of basically told you if you wanted to play on the Orioles, this was what you needed to do. And if you couldn’t do it, I’ll get someone else. I know that’s kind of tough love, but I don’t think anyone other than Marianna, his wife, would describe Earl as a warm and fuzzy guy.”

Weaver took the Orioles to the World Series four times over 17 seasons but won only one title, in 1970. His .583 winning percentage ranks fifth among managers who served 10 or more seasons in the 20th century.

Dick Gordon said Weaver’s wife told him that Weaver went back to his cabin after dinner and began choking between 10:30 and 11 Friday night. Gordon said a cause of death has not been determined.

Weaver will forever remain a part of Camden Yards. A statue of him was dedicated last summer in the stadium’s flag court, along with the rest of the team’s Hall of Fame members.

“Earl Weaver stands alone as the greatest manager in the history of the Orioles organization and one of the greatest in the history of baseball,” Orioles owner Peter Angelos said. “This is a sad day for everyone who knew him and for all Orioles fans. Earl made his passion for the Orioles known both on and off the field.”

Weaver was a salty-tongued manager who preferred to wait for a three-run homer rather than manufacture a run with a stolen base or a bunt.

“Earl was well known for being one of the game’s most colorful characters with a memorable wit, but he was also amongst its most loyal,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to his wife, Marianna, their family and all Orioles fans.”

Weaver had a reputation as a winner, but umpires knew him as a hothead. Weaver would often turn his hat backward and yell directly into an umpire’s face to argue a call or a rule, and after the inevitable ejection he would often kick dirt on home plate or on the umpire’s shoes.

He was ejected 91 times, including once in both games of a doubleheader.

He entered the Hall in 1996.

“When you discuss our game’s motivational masters, Earl is a part of that conversation,” Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said. “He was a proven leader in the dugout and loved being a Hall of Famer. Though small in stature, he was a giant as a manager.”

His ejections were overshadowed by his five 100-win seasons, six AL East titles and four pennants. Weaver was inducted 10 years after he managed his final game with Baltimore at the end of an ill-advised comeback.

Weaver finished with a 1,480-1,060 record. He won Manager of the Year three times.

“I had a successful career, not necessarily a Hall of Fame career, but a successful one,” he said.

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