Earl Weaver died last Saturday. He was 82 years old. The long-time manager of the Baltimore Orioles was known for his temper, especially as he applied it to umpires. When he spoke at his induction into the Hall of Fame in 1996, he demonstrated that he could find a laugh at his own expense.
“Now it’s time to recognize a group of baseball people that very seldom receive credit for a job well done,” Weaver said. “This group being the umpires of the American and National Leagues.”
Weaver’s contempt for umpires was matched only by their contempt for him…at least when he was calling into question their integrity or kicking dirt on their pants. But his teams posted winning records in all but one of his 18 seasons at the helm, and he was never dull, which helps to explain why he was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1996.
Also on Saturday, another Hall of Famer passed away.
“Only once did they ever boo him in St. Louis,” wrote W.C. Heinz, the Stan Musial of sports writers, about the Stan Musial of baseball on the day of Musial’s last game in September of 1963. Heinz went on. “On August 22, 1956, against Brooklyn, he made two errors and wound up hitless for the second straight night. They booed him when he stepped to the plate in the eighth inning, but the boos were gradually drowned out by the cheers.”
“It was the worst game I ever played,” Musial said later.
The next day ten fans bough space in the St. Louis press and apologized.
Stan Musial died on Saturday evening at the age of 92.George Vecsey, author of Stan Musial: An American Life, joined Bill Littlefield to discuss Musial’s legacy and his deep ties to the city of St. Louis.
“Everybody understood that if there was ever a perfect man for a town it was Stan Musial and St. Louis,” Vecsey said. “He was just the most beloved person in the town.”
According to Vecsey, Musial never carried an air of celebrity, despite being a household name.
“He had this aura of being so normal,” Vecsey said. “When I started to add up the stories and the way he lived he was a very fine person.”