A quick post to note the passing Earl Weaver, long-time Orioles manager and one of the great characters in the game. Weaver passed away over the weekend at the age of 82.
The tagline of this blog (located at the top left of the page) has always been an Earl Weaver quote related to pitching:
“… the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same – pitching.”
Weaver may have been remembered for his antics on the field and legendary rages against umpires, but he was also a pitching strategy pioneer. As is noted in the link above, Weaver was one of the first managers to track pitcher-hitter matchups as a method of managing his bullpen. He may have advocated the 3-run homer as the best offensive strategy, but he definitely advanced pitching strategy during his career.
Former Oriole Ken Dixon is a player in the local DCMSBL league and pitched for Weaver in the mid 80s. We asked him once at a golf event what his favorite memory of Weaver was and he told the following story (paraphrased from memory): Dixon said he was pitching in a game one day and was really struggling. Weaver was fuming at him in between innings, and when he got into another jam Weaver came out to the mound to (as Dixon thought) remove him from the game. Instead, Weaver arrived at the mound and was so furious with the situation he just cursed and carried on like a crazy uncle, never really talking directly to Dixon. Eventually, he left the mound without really saying anything of substance to Dixon (or taking him out).