The Orioles’ video tribute to Earl Weaver

The Orioles honored Earl Weaver at Camden Yards on Saturday, playing the video below, among other tributes. And while the Orioles might not be a D.C. sports news story anymore — or it’s debatable, anyhow — Earl Weaver sure is. He was a face of the team during the years when many Washingtonians rooted for Baltimore, and his (first) retirement in 1982 was above-the-fold Washington Post news, as seen here.

 

In fact, in case you can’t read the text above, here’s how Kindred’s story began.

Whistling, stomping their feet, clapping their hands, waving towels and pennants and brooms from the kitchen pantry, maybe 50,000 people stood in a ballyard at dusk today and called in one voice ‘We want Earl…We want Earl.

The Orioles lost today, 10-2. They lost to Milwaukee in a game for the American League East championship. They had won four straight games when a single defeat meant the end. But now in the dusk, they had lost the season’s last game without ever being in it.

And the 50,000 faithful, wanting their Orioles for a curtain call so they could thank them properly, saw a little fellow wearing No. 4 pop up the dugout steps. Earl Weaver, the manager, is No. 4 in your program, No. 1 in Baltimore’s heart. Only 52 but (he says) worn out by 35 years in baseball, he’s retiring now (for how long, no one knows). Over 14 seasons, the wizened gnome/genius made the Orioles big winners, and this was his last game.

“Weaver 4 President,” a banner said.

“Thanks Earl,” another said.

His baseball cap in his right hand, his left hand held high in thanks, Weaver stood 30 feet in front of the Orioles’ dugout. He lifted his face to the upper deck. He turned to the right field seats. He blew kisses around the ballyard….

Weaver disappeared into the dugout at 6:26 p.m. They played “Auld Lang Syne” at 6:33. But at 6:42, here came Weaver back ont the field, now in a sweat shirt, now blowing two-handed kisses to the faithful.

And record this: the last, delightful thing Earl Weaver did on the field on his last day as Baltimore’s manager was, laughing all the while, twist his body into Hagy-esque shapes to lead the 50,000 in chanting, ‘O-R-I-O-L-E-S.’

So anyhow, the video above is worth watching if you lived through those years, or even if you didn’t.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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