Fiery Orioles manager Earl Weaver dead at 82

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Fiery Orioles manager Earl Weaver dead at 82

BALTIMORE (AP) Loved in Baltimore long after he ended his Hall of Fame career, Earl Weaver remained an Oriole to the end.

The notoriously peppery Hall of Fame manager died at age 82 on a Caribbean cruise associated with the Orioles, his marketing agent said Saturday.

The Duke of Earl, as he was affectionately known in Baltimore, took the Orioles to the World Series four times over 17 seasons but won only one title, in 1970. His .583 winning percentage ranks fifth among managers who served 10 or more seasons in the 20th century.

Dick Gordon said Weaver's wife told him that Weaver went back to his cabin after dinner and began choking between 10:30 and 11 Friday night. Gordon said a cause of death has not been determined.

``It's a sad day. Earl was a terrific manager,'' Vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. ``The simplicity and clarity of his leadership and his passion for baseball was unmatched. He's a treasure for the Orioles. He leaves a terrific legacy of winning baseball with the Orioles and we're so grateful for his contribution. He has a legacy that will live on,''

Weaver will forever remain a part of Camden Yards. A statue of him was dedicated last summer in the stadium's flag court, along with the rest of the team's Hall of Fame members.

``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 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.''

Weaver was a salty-tongued manager who preferred to wait for a three-run homer rather than manufacture a run with a stolen base or a bunt. While some baseball purists argued that strategy, no one could dispute the results.

``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,'' Commissioner Bud Selig said. ``On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to his wife, Marianne, their family and all Orioles fans.''

Weaver had a reputation as a winner, but umpires knew him as a hothead. Weaver would often turn his hat backward and yell directly into an umpire's face to argue a call or a rule, and after the inevitable ejection he would more often than not kick dirt on home plate or on the umpire's shoes.

``He was an intense competitor and smart as a whip when it comes to figuring out ways to beat you,'' said Davey Johnson, who played under Weaver in the minor leagues and with the Orioles from 1965 to 1972.

He was ejected 91 times, including once in both games of a doubleheader.

Asked once if his reputation might have harmed his chances to gain entry into the Hall of Fame, Weaver admitted, ``It probably hurt me.''

Not for long. He entered the hall in 1996.

``When you discuss our game's motivational masters, Earl is a part of that conversation,'' Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said. ``He was a proven leader in the dugout and loved being a Hall of Famer. Though small in stature, he was a giant as a manager.''

His ejections were overshadowed by his five 100-win seasons, six AL East titles and four pennants. Weaver was inducted 10 years after he managed his final game with Baltimore at the end of an ill-advised comeback.

In 1985, the Orioles' owner at the time, Edward B. Williams, coaxed Weaver away from golf to take over a struggling squad. Weaver donned his uniform No. 4, which had already been retired by the team, and tried to breathe some life into the listless Orioles.

Baltimore went 53-52 over the last half of the 1985 season, but finished seventh in 1986 with a 73-89 record. It was Weaver's only losing season as a major-league manager, and he retired for good after that.

``If I hadn't come back,'' Weaver said after his final game, ``I would be home thinking what it would have been like to manage again. I found out it's work.''

Weaver finished with a 1,480-1,060 record. He won Manager of the Year three times.

``I had a successful career, not necessarily a Hall of Fame career, but a successful one,'' he said.

Weaver came to the Orioles as a first base coach in 1968, took over as manager on July 11 and went on to become the winningest manager in the history of the franchise.

``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,'' Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken said. ``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.''

He knew almost everything about the game. He was also a great judge of human character, and that's one of the main reasons why he was loved by a vast majority of his players even though he often rode them mercilessly from spring training into October.

``His bark was worse than his bite, but you had to know him and kind of grow up with him, and then you loved him like a father,'' Johnson said. ``He was a used-car salesman in the minor leagues during the offseason, so he learned a lot of ways to sell you on just about anything.''

Pat Dobson, who pitched two seasons under Weaver, said, ``Certainly, the years I played for him were the two most enjoyable years I've had.''

During games Weaver smoked cigarettes in the tunnel leading to the dugout and he never kicked the habit. He suffered a mild heart attack in August 1998, and the Orioles' manager at the time, Ray Miller, wondered aloud how his mentor was holding up.

``I wouldn't want to talk to him if he hasn't had a cigarette in 10 days,'' Miller joked. ``They've probably got him tied to a chair.''

Weaver was a brilliant manager, but he never made it to the majors as a player. He finally quit after spending 13 years as a second baseman in the St. Louis organization.

``He talked about how he could drive in 100 runs a year, score 100 runs and never make an error,'' Johnson said. ``He said he never got to the big leagues because the Cardinals had too many good players in front of him.''

Jones leads off, Orioles break four-game losing streak

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Jones leads off, Orioles break four-game losing streak

CLEVELAND—Do the Orioles have a new leadoff hitter? For at least a few days, it’s Adam Jones. 

After four straight losses, and a boatload of strikeouts, manager Buck Showalter decided to bat Jones in the leadoff spot. 

Jones, who had been in a 3-for-39 slump, had three hits in five at-bats as the Orioles beat the Cleveland Indians 6-4 before 21,054 at Progressive Field on Friday night. 

Showalter says that it’s more than likely he’ll bat Jones in the leadoff spot again Saturday. For his first time there since May 10, 2010, Jones did well. 

“The problem when you do something like that, as a manager, what are you going to do tomorrow if he’s 0-for-5 with five punchouts? Where are you going? You always try to leave yourself a little bit of wiggle room,” Showalter said. 

When he was asked if he had made a decision on Saturday, Showalter deflected the question. 

“I hadn’t gotten that far. It’s been a while. Can I just kind of suck this one in a little. No, more than likely. I gave him four options today. Of course, I had already made out the lineup. We both picked the right one,” he said. 

In the previous three games, the Orioles struck out 52 times, and it was a relief to see only six K’s on the team’s scorecard. 

The Orioles’ first four-game losing streak of the season is over. 

“Well, the thing we’ve been focusing on the last four games is Ws and Ls,” Showalter said. “Everything else is, we’re trying to get to an end game of winning a game with the Orioles having more runs than they’ve got after nine innings.”

The Orioles (27-19) scored three runs in the first when Jones led off with a single up the middle. Hyun Soo Kim was hit by a Trevor Bauer pitch. Manny Machado’s single to center scored Jones. Chris Davis walked to load the bases. 

After Mark Trumbo and Nolan Reimold struck out, Jonathan Schoop’s single scored Kim and Machado to give Mike Wright a 3-0 cushion before he faced a batter. 

Wright gave up a run in the second on back-to-back doubles by Jose Ramirez and Juan Uribe. Mike Napoli hit a long home run, his ninth, in the fourth. 

Machado led off the fifth with a double to center, but he unwisely tried to make it a triple when the ball escaped Rajai Davis. Davis’ throw nabbed Machado, and Reimold’s single was wasted. 

Wright didn’t make it out of the fifth. Chris Gimenez began the inning with a walk, Davis singled, and Carlos Santana walked to load the bases with none out. After Jason Kipnis struck out, Francisco Lindor’s fly to right scored Gimenez to tie the game at 3, and Dylan Bundy replaced Wright. 

“It was terrible. When you score three in the first, you should shut out, shut out, shut out, every inning after that. I should never walk anybody. I should continue to be aggressive,” Wright said. 

Bundy (1-1) got four outs for his first major league win, nearly three years after his June 2013 Tommy John surgery. 

“It’s taken four years I guess to get to that point, but it’s still exciting. I actually didn’t know I got the win until some of the teammates told me in the clubhouse, so it was fun,” Bundy said. 

In the seventh, Machado doubled and scored when Davis doubled. Trumbo hit an opposite field home run to right off Zach McAllister (2-2), and the Orioles had a 6-3 lead. 

Brad Brach pitched a scoreless seventh, but Lindor led off the eighth with his fourth home run off Darren O’Day to cut the lead to 6-4. 

After the home run, Napoli walked, Ramirez doubled, and Uribe struck out. Lonnie Chisenhall was walked intentionally to load the bases, and Gimenez hit a ball that looked as if it was going to right field, but Schoop snared it, and threw to Machado to begin the artful double play that ended the eighth for Cleveland (25-21).

Zach Britton earned his 13th save with a scoreless ninth. 

The losing streak is over, and mass strikeouts were averted. 

“We’re not afraid to strike out. They’re going to come. More than that, it was some of the pitches we took and gave ourselves another chance to get a better pitch to hit, and I think when we did get something to work with, we put it in play and found some holes, too,” Trumbo said. 

NOTES: Machado has 19 doubles. … O’Day has allowed four home runs so far this season, one below his total for the entire 2016 season. … Ubaldo Jimenez (2-5, 6.04) faces Danny Salazar (4-3, 2.32) on Saturday afternoon at 4:10 p.m. 

RELATED: SHOWALTER NOT SURE HOW LONG HARDY WILL BE OUT

Showalter not sure how long Hardy will be out

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Showalter not sure how long Hardy will be out

CLEVELAND—J.J. Hardy has been in Sarasota, Fla. working on the rehabilitation of his fractured left foot for a week. It’s not known how long he’ll be there. 

Manager Buck Showalter said that when the Orioles left for their road trip, it was his hope that Hardy would return from Sarasota to meet the team on Monday when they begin a nine-day homestand. 

“I think this weekend will tell whether he’s going to stay there longer or come on back,” Showalter said. 

“I spoke to him yesterday, and he hopes that it will happen soon.” 

Hardy was in a boot after he fractured the bone in his foot on May 1. 

“When you start walking around it some, you get some soreness there. Those muscles, the ligaments and tendons have to start firing again. The first time, he was a little sore about three or four days ago,” Showalter said. “I think this weekend he’s probably going to try walking around and see if that has changed.” 

If he has no pain or soreness, he’ll be able to begin baseball activities, and those can be done with the Orioles rather than Sarasota.

“We miss him. He’s great to have around. I know he wants to reconnect with our team,” Showalter said. 

The Orioles are 13-9 when Hardy starts at shortstop and 13-9 when Machado does. Paul Janish started one game, which the Orioles lost. 

Showalter didn't want to be too predictable with Jones

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Showalter didn't want to be too predictable with Jones

CLEVELAND—Buck Showalter said he had four options with Adam Jones. He could have kept him in the heart of the order, moved him down, given him a day off or put the slumping center fielder in the leadoff spot.

That’s what Showalter did. 

“I talked to him a little bit,” Showalter said.

He wanted to break up Jones, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo up since each was scuffling. 

“It’s the first time it’s really happened with all three of them,” Showalter said. “Right now, everybody’s having those challenges.” 

Showalter joked about the move. 

“I don’t want to get too predictable. Like my sister used to say, it’s great to be organized and prepared, but every once in a while, you have to be a little spontaneous. Of course, she lives a little different lifestyle than I do.” 

NOTES: Yovani Gallardo, who has been on the disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis, will throw a simulated game late Saturday morning. Showalter isn’t sure how long he’ll throw or if there’s going to be another simulated game or if Gallardo will go next to a rehab start. … T.J. McFarland, who is on the minor league disabled list with a left knee, threw a two inning simulated game at Norfolk.