If there is one guy who knows how to win and manage games for the Baltimore Orioles, Earl Weaver is that man.
Earl Weaver managed the Orioles for 17 seasons, compiling a record of 1480-1060, while bringing the club one World Series title in 1970 and four AL pennants.
He was later inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996 by the Veterans Committee.
And even at the age of 80, the most successful skipper in the history of the franchise has still been a presence around Buck Showalter’s Oriole clubhouse, as he did with the team visiting their team complex in Sarasota.
Weaver joined former player and manager Frank Robinson to the list of Orioles of the past visiting the team of today to offer some guidance.
And he joined Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” this week to tell Drew and Glenn that he likes what he sees out of the Orioles and that they are in good hands with Buck Showalter’s first spring training moving along smoothly.
“Spring training is when you have to get [everything] done, and he’s business-like about it,” Weaver said of Showalter. “You’ve got to get your rundown plays all set, you’ve got to get your cut-off plays all set, and any pickup plays you might have because once the seaosn starts your not going to have time to do that.”
And while Weaver was there in Florida with the team, he did make sure to keep his distance and let Showalter run things-even when Buck did ask for his advice.
Especially with it being Showalter’s first spring training with the Orioles after his short season-ending stint replacing the likes of Dave Trembley and Juan Samuel.
You only have one chance to make a first impression.
“Once you go out of spring training most of the teaching is done, that’s when you have to rely on all the plays and plans that you had made in spring training to come true,” Weaver said.
But all-in-all, Weaver did say winning hangs on the players to soak in what the manager has put in place for them at the start of the season.
“No matter how much you instruct, no matter how much players know where they’re supposed to be at what time…they still have to execute,” Weaver said of the team. “So, along with eveything else you have to find the players that can execute, because if they can’t-no matter how much instructions you give them-its not going to help.”
And Weaver said from his previous encounters with Showalter and from what he saw out of him recently, he knows that Buck is the right man when it comes to evaluating the talent he has to put on the field and making those personnel decisions.
“Right now Buck’s getting familiar with everybody in the organization,” Weaver said. “I think they brought in some 70 players, I think he’s getting an idea of who he’s going to be able to lean on and to bring up from the minor leagues once after the season starts.”
One of the brightest spots on the team has been the performance this spring training of starting pitcher Zach Britton, the 23-year old lefty starting pitcher and former third round pick by the Baltimore Orioles.
In 14 innings pitched this spring training, Britton is 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA. He has allowed one hit an inning while walking four and striking out nine opposing batters.
And given injuries and inconsistent pitching performances from the likes of Justin Duchscherer, Brad Bergensen, and Jake Arrieta, it might be hard to leave Britton off the parent club’s rotation.
Weaver wouldn’t blink twice about getting Britton to Baltimore as quickly as possible.
“As far as that thing is concerned about bringing the player or keeping the player down to keep them an extra year, I don’t go for that,” Weaver said.
Weaver said he wouldn’t have bought into holding longtime Oriole great Eddie Murray for a year or two in 1977, which Earl said would have cost him wins.
And what happened with Murray? He won the American League Rookie of the Year batting .283 27 home runs, and 88 RBIs.
Weaver said he hasn’t seen much of Britton yet, but from what he has seen and heard from him, he knows he can compete for Buck Showalter the same way Eddie Murray produced for him.
“If they leave him down there and he’s capable of pitching in the big leagues, you could be talking .500,” he said. “Maybe it would be a case of missing the playoffs in his 8 or ten starts…but any win that you can get is very important.”
WNST thanks Earl Weaver for joining us from sunny Florida to talk some Orioles! We wish him continued health as we get closer and closer to Opening Day! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!
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