Hall of fame manager Earl Weaver passed away early Saturday morning after suffering an apparent heart attack while traveling on an Orioles fantasy cruise. He was 82.
Weaver, who spent his entire 17-year managerial career with the Orioles, led Baltimore to six division titles, four American League pennants and one World Series championship during two stints as the club's skipper from 1968-82 and '85-86.
Baltimore finished in first or second in the AL East in all but three seasons during his initial 15-year reign, helping Weaver post a .583 (1,480-1,060) career winning percentage. That mark is good for seventh all-time among managers, and first for all post-1960 skippers.
"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 chairman of the board and CEO Peter G. Angelos said in a statement released by the team.
"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."
Known as the Duke of Earl, Weaver's unique managing philosophy famously consisted of "pitching, defense and the three-run homer." The outspoken skipper often elected to pass on trying to push just one run across through the use of small ball, instead going for the big inning.
Weaver was also one of the first managers to rely heavily on statistics for creating positive hitting and pitching matchups for his club. Weaver had notebooks full of hitting and pitching splits as well as head-to-head matchups, which he often referred to in setting his lineups, using his bullpen and selecting pinch-hitters.
The outspoken Weaver first started his coaching career in the Orioles' farm system in 1957 and eventually worked his way up to managing the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings in 1966. In '68, he was promoted to the big league club, assuming the role of first-base coach for the Orioles.
On July 11 of that same year, he replaced Hank Bauer as manager and started one of the more impressive managerial runs not only in franchise history, but also in the history of the Major Leagues.
The fiery St. Louis native was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996, and he was further honored by the Orioles last year with a seven-foot statue outside of Camden Yards. A number of his former players, including fellow Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer and Cal Ermer Jr.
---- Source: MLB.com