- Voice of EaglesRichard Deitsch | December 03, 2001
- Blaine LacherChristian Stone | April 11, 1994
- MAKE WAY FOR THE SULTAN OF SWIPESRon Fimrite | August 22, 1977
Three months later my crew had Baltimore for the first time that season. I was prepared to be on my best behavior, but I could afford to—Bill Haller was angry. Weaver had questioned his honesty by saying he shouldn't be allowed to work Detroit Tiger games because his brother was catching for the Tigers—and the league actually removed Bill from our crew every time we had Detroit.
For the first game of this Oriole series I was at second and Haller was at third. I had a close play at second that went against Baltimore, and even before I took my thumb down I knew Weaver would want to discuss it. Sure enough, I looked up and saw him coming toward me. Even before he reached me he had grabbed his hat and thrown it on the ground, and I knew he was going to go. But as I flexed my thumb I spotted Haller racing toward me from third. "I got him!" he was screaming gleefully. "Lemme, lemme." I stepped aside and let Haller tell Weaver how much he had appreciated his remarks about the Tiger games.
While Haller was giving him explicit directions to the clubhouse, I looked wistfully at Weaver's cap lying on the ground and nostalgically remembered the night in 1973 that 6'1" umpire Don Denkinger had eased over to Weaver's cap while I was arguing with him and first stepped on it with the very sharp golf cleats on his right shoe, and then the very sharp golf cleats on his left shoe, and then started twisting back and forth, back and forth.
Subsequently, upon arriving in Anaheim for a series with Baltimore, I had announced a press conference at which I would make a formal apology for my ill-considered remarks in spring training. Before the game a group of writers, Weaver and Dick Butler, the American League supervisor of umpires, squeezed into the umpires' dressing room.
My press conference began well. "To start with, I've got a big mouth and I said a lot of dumb things. Everyone makes mistakes, and I guess I'm at the top of the ladder when it comes to saying dumb things.
"It was just a dumb, stupid statement that should never have been printed.... Earl and his players are professionals—they know I'm not going to do anything intentionally to hurt them. I like Baltimore, and I like the Orioles team. They are a good defensive team, and that always makes it easier on an umpire."
Suddenly I heard a familiar voice from the back of the small crowd. "But you did say it," Weaver said.
"Well, sure, yeah, I did say it," I admitted, "but hey, Earl, you've said a lot of things you're sorry for, too."
"No," he said, "I'm not sorry about anything I ever said about you or to you. I've meant every word of it."
"Well, then," I replied, just getting warmed up, "I haven't been too far wrong when I said those things about you, you know."