The colorful and occasionally outrageous man who believed three-run home runs, reliable up-the-middle defense and effective starting pitching were the essential ingredients of successful baseball has died. Earl Weaver, the Earl of Baltimore, passed away early Saturday morning while on an Orioles fantasy cruise in the Caribbean. Death, apparently caused by a heart attack, came at age 82 for the most successful manager in the history of the Orioles, a man who never played in the big leagues but directed several of the elite teams of the past 45 years.
Weaver was a little man -- 5-foot-7 in spikes -- with a big big league resumé that earned him a place in the Hall of Fame in 1996. His Orioles teams -- he managed for no other club -- produced a .583 winning percentage and 1,480 victories, the 22nd highest total in history, in 17 seasons. They won four American League pennants and the 1970 World Series in a sequence of 11 seasons that began in 1969. His teams won six AL East championships, 219 games from 1969-70 and at least 100 games five times.
"Earl Weaver was a brilliant baseball man, a true tactician in the dugout and one of the key figures in the rich history of the Baltimore Orioles, the club he led to four American League pennants and the 1970 World Series championship," Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement released by MLB. "Having known Earl throughout my entire career in the game, I have many fond memories of the Orioles and the Brewers squaring off as American League East rivals. Earl's managerial style proved visionary, as many people in the game adopted his strategy and techniques years later.
"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. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to his wife, Marianna, their family and all Orioles fans."
His winning percentage is the ninth highest all-time and third highest among men who managed at least 2,500 games. And his victory total ranks third, behind Joe McCarthy and Jim Leyland, among managers who never played in the big leagues. Every manager whose teams produced more victories managed at least 288 more games than Weaver.
Read more: Orioles Hall of Fame skipper Earl Weaver passes away at 82 | MLB.com: News