As thousands of fans were arriving for the Orioles’ FanFest celebration on Saturday morning, they were hearing the news that the team’s greatest manager, Earl Weaver died.
The 82-year-old Weaver died of an apparent heart attack on a cruise associated with the Orioles early Saturday.
Weaver, who was honored with a statue in his honor last June, was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1996.
His lifetime record was 1480-1060, and he his team won the 1970 World Series and four pennants in 1969-71 and 1979.
He managed the Orioles from 1968-1982 and again from 1985-86.
“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 h 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, Marianne, and his family.”
During their talk with the season ticket holders at FanFest, Buck Showalter, who became close to Weaver, was clearly moved at hearing the news.
“It’s a very sad day for all us,” Showalter said.
“He loved the year we were having last year. He gave some advice along the way,” Showalter said. “I think Earl would say I hope it won’t mess up FanFest.”
Duquette has long admired Weaver and has a well worn copy of his book, “Weaver on Strategy.”
“He had a clarity and vision for baseball,” he said.
Weaver moved Cal Ripken from third base to shortstop and in 1982 and was the manager when Ripken started his streak.
"Earl was such a big part of Orioles baseball and personally he was a very important part of my life and career and a great friend to our family. His passion for the game and the fire with which he managed will always be remembered by baseball fans everywhere and certainly by all of us who had the great opportunity to play for him. Earl will be missed but he can't and won't be forgotten," Ripken said.