Earl Weaver, who managed the Baltimore Orioles through the most successful period in the club's history, died Friday night at the age of 82.
WNST Radio in Baltimore and the New York Daily News were the first to report Weaver's death. The Orioles confirmed the news shortly before 10 a.m. Saturday, saying that Weaver had suffered an apparent heart attack while on an Orioles fantasy cruise in the Caribbean.
"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 in a statement.
"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. On behalf of the Orioles, I extend my condolences to his wife, Marianna, and to his family."
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley issued a statement of his own, calling Weaver "a beloved Baltimore legend."
"Though we will miss him dearly," O'Malley's statement said in part, "he will always be remembered for his passion for baseball and his spirited dedication to the Orioles and the City of Baltimore."
A lifelong minor-leaguer as a player, Weaver took the helm of the Orioles midway through the 1968 season after a season-and-a-half as the club's first base coach. Over the next 14 seasons, Weaver led Baltimore to six 100-win seasons, six American League Eastern Division titles, four American League pennants, and a World Series title in 1970. Along the way, the Orioles developed a regional following and became D.C.'s de facto baseball team between the departure of the Senators in 1971 and the arrival of the Nationals in 2005.
After spending two years out of the dugout as a consultant to the Orioles and a broadcaster for ABC, Weaver returned as Orioles manager in the middle of the 1985 season. In his final season, 1986, Baltimore finished 73-89, Weaver's only losing campaign.
Strategically, Weaver was best known for forgoing common baseball tactics like the sacrifice bunt, stolen base, and hit-and-run. "If you play for one run, that's all you'll get," was a saying commonly attributed to him.
Emotionally, Weaver set a new standard for umpire arguments, as he was ejected from over 90 games over the course of his managerial career. Common features of Weaver's temper tantrums were kicking dirt, turning his hat backward to get as close to an umpire as possible without making contact, and ample use of profanity.
Weaver was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. He finished his career with a record of 1,480 wins and 1,060 losses (.583 winning percentage).