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You could look it up on page 37 of the fact-filled Baltimore Orioles 1975 Information Guide, under a heading that chirps for attention in oriole-orange print.
BITS ABOUT THE BIRDS
Now that's a bit about the boss Bird that may startle you if you supposed that the closest challengers to Joe McCarthy, that wire-lipped Yankee oligarch of the 1930s and '40s, had to be legendary figures like John McGraw, who ranks only fifth, or Connie Mack, who, good heavens, ranks 74th. In appraising Earl Weaver's career one should not be misled by the Orioles' sputtering start this season, but remember that Weaver managed them to a title last year after having been eight games behind as late as Aug. 29. Instead, one must concede him the encomium of Practicing Genius and wonder what clever managerial subtleties have enabled him to win better than six of every 10 major league games he has masterminded. Peer into the Oriole dugout, where in a corner, his cap perched rakishly high atop his matted McGraw-gray hair, his eyes squinting pensively, Weaver follows the arc of his pitcher's delivery.
"George," he says, leaning across a row of ballplayers to catch sight of Pitching Coach George Bamberger, "tell me, was that a curveball Cuellar threw?"
"Yeah, it was a curveball."
Weaver bolts to his feet—a pearl of brilliance at his lips? In a gravelly voice he bellows, "Cuellar! Stick that curveball up...."
That's not genius? Well, the components of genius frequently remain mysterious to lesser men. In any case, say this for Weaver—if he does not always recognize a curveball, he possesses conviction about them. "He tells us a major league pitcher should get his curveball over every time he wants to," says Pitcher Jim Palmer. "I think he actually believes it. He used to give me that stuff all the time. Now I don't listen anymore. Dave McNally, he handled Earl best. I used to make the mistake of arguing with Earl, but McNally would just nod and say, 'Mmmm.' "
Authority certainly is a quality one looks for in a manager who in three consecutive seasons—1969, '70 and '71—won more than 100 games, an accomplishment recorded by only two other clubs in history. Five-feet-eight, compact in the McCarthy-McGraw tradition, the creases of experience lining his face, Weaver at age 44 looks like a manager, although in some respects he appears quaint. His head dominates his body, possibly explaining why, in the minors, players called him Watermelon Head. His frequent trips onto the field to battle umpires are made at a gait that may best be described as an angry waddle. Hands on hips, his body swaying from the trunk up, he marches in the awkward strides of a duck trying to catch up with its flock.
Yet as Weaver intently manipulates 25 willful athletes, there surely must lie beneath his explosive temper a capacity for understanding, a requisite that in fact he could easily draw on when Cuellar, the superstitious Cuban, in Milwaukee last June to pitch the opener of a four-game series, informed Weaver that his baseball cap had been left behind in Baltimore and that its absence surely would ruin the performance he was scheduled to make the following night. At the time Cuellar had won nine games in a row, pitching as though he could win his 10th wearing a bearskin borrowed from the Buckingham Palace guard. Nonetheless, Weaver at once appreciated the gravity of the problem.