Baseball lost two of its inner-circle Hall of Famers over the weekend, when both Stan Musial and Earl Weaver passed away.
I’m too young to remember Stan Musial. To me, he’s always been a revered name with ridiculously awesome statistics on the back of his baseball card.
Earl Weaver, however, is another story.
I saw Weaver blow-ups on TV when I was a kid, and I saw him bring his Baltimore Orioles into Oakland in the mid-1980s, when he made his ill-advised managerial comeback. But most of what I know about Weaver comes from books written by an umpire.
American League umpire Ron Luciano wrote a series of funny and entertaining books in the 1980s, and I gobbled them all up as a teenager. In these books, he discussed his career-long feud with Weaver, which started in the low minor leagues and continued in the majors.
If I didn’t have about 15 books in my “To Read Pile,” I would go back and re-read the first Luciano book. I wonder if it is still fun, as an adult 28 years later.
Weaver himself has a must-read book: his 1984 book Weaver On Strategy is generally considered to be the most important book ever written by a manager. In it he discusses many of the strategic ploys he developed. The book has riveting sections on his scouting reports and his in-game maneuvering.
If you love baseball, you can knock out a big chunk of the off-season reading Earl Weaver related stuff.
- Weaver is believed to have the record for most times ejected. His Retrosheet page has a list of his ejections with a brief explanation of the reason why. My favorite is “shredded rulebook.”
- The Sports Illustrated vault has Tom Verducci’s 2009 feature on Weaver, this is tremendous.
- The SABR biography of Weaver runs through some of the strategies he developed, some of which were banned, and many of which are still used today. The piece also has the background stories behind the widely viewed (and profane) Weaver YouTube videos.
- Former general manager Dan Evans remembers his first meeting with Weaver.
- Here is a 4-minute clip from a 1990 documentary with footage of Stan Musial’s final at-bat. It’s fun to watch if you can get past the schmaltzy musical score.
- The St. Louis Dispatch had a big story on Musial, and here is his New York Times obituary.
- Grant Brisbee is like most of us, in that he never saw Musial play. So instead, he wrote about the numbers.
Non Musial/Weaver Links:
- Take a deep breath, Mariners fans. ESPN says that the M’s opportunity to contend will come in 2016 (ESPN Insider access needed).
- Greg Johns has a piece on Justin Smoak‘s off-season.
- Larry Stone has a blog post on the Mariners current payroll. Allegedly, they still have money to spend.
- PCL news: the Memphis newspaper has a story on some of the Redbirds prospects trying to crack the St. Louis roster.
- Washington Huskies play-by-play announcer Bob Rondeau is this year’s winner of the Keith Jackson Award.
We should have some Rainiers-related news later this week. The Mariners hold their annual Pre-Spring Training Media event on Wednesday, and some good tidbits usually come out of this. Unfortunately I will miss it for the first time in years due to a scheduling conflict (a Rainiers speaking engagement), but the team will have somebody there to get some info. The plan is for that to be the next blog update, probably on Thursday.