How Earl Weaver indirectly helped shape Baseball Prospectus and (more directly) gave one of its founders her best day in baseball.
As of last weekend,Earl Weaver is gone, passing away at the age of 83.
You do not need me to tell you that we will not see his like again. The job in the dugout has changed, the responsibilities of a skipper have changed, and perhaps most fundamentally, the game itself has changed. But however mechanically I might mound up that kind of obviousness risks missing something equally obvious: In his work, Earl was a teacher, and the lessons he offered to all, big and small, inside the game and out, remain as valuable today as they were 30 or 40 years ago.
Dan shares his recollections of a memorable conversation with the late Hall of Fame manager early in his own career.
Earl Weaver was a winner. His .583 career winning percentage as a manager is the ninth-best all-time, and only Al Lopez has posted a better winning percentage since World War II. Weaver's first three full-season Oriole clubs all advanced to the World Series, winning 318 games in that span. Baltimore averaged 96 wins in his first 12 seasons as skipper, and he managed for 27 years in the majors and minors before his club posted a losing record.
Sure, his Oriole clubs were loaded with stars like Frank Robinson,Brooks Robinson, and Jim Palmer, but Weaver was an impact manager independent of his players. He won because he was able to combine his baseball genius with the ability to keep his talented club focused and motivated.
March 8, 1952, in St. Petersburg, Florida. Spring training. The defending World Champion New York Yankees are facing 1951's third place St. Louis Cardinals in the first test of new player-manager Eddie Stanky. Stanky's main goal is to try and get a good feeling for his new squad—especially the young kids who have been toiling away in Omaha and the rest of the minor-league system—but there's little doubt that he wants to make a respectable showing in his new role.
With an eye towards the future, Stanky pencils in 21-year-old Earl Weaver at second base. Weaver has already played 540 games at various levels of the Cardinals' minor-league system over the last four years, but his time to make it to the big leagues may be running out. Not only has Red Schoendienst been holding down the keystone since 1946 (and will stay there for St. Louis until he's traded in 1956), but new manager Stanky is also on the depth chart up the middle. It's a cruel joke for the man called "the Eddie Stanky of the Cardinal organization". If Weaver can't make a big impression this spring, who knows what will happen to him.
The Mets' bench coach talks about the duties of his job and the interesting path he took to the major leagues.
When the Mets hired Dave Jauss to be their bench coach, they brought on board a true baseball man. The 53-year-old Jauss has spent his entire adult life in the game, performing a cornucopia of roles for a multitude of organizations. After getting his feet wet in independent ball and the college ranks, the Amherst College grad spent three years as a minor-league manager in the Expos system before moving on to the Red Sox, for whom he served as a first base coach, minor-league field coordinator, bench coach, director of player development, and major-league advance scout. From Boston he went to Los Angeles, where he was Grady Little's bench coach with the Dodgers in 2006 and 2007. For each of the past two seasons, he performed the same role under Dave Trembley, in Baltimore. Jauss, who was hired by the Mets in November, talked about his time in the game during the final month of the 2009 campaign.
To wrap up our series on the merits of the four-man rotation, let's look at some of the ancillary benefits of making the switch:
The four-man rotation simplifies a starter's between-start schedule. Most teams have their starters throw on the side once between starts, but no one really knows whether it's better to throw on the second day after a start, or the third. It's not even clear whether starters should throw only once. In Atlanta, Leo Mazzone has had continued success doing things his way: he has his starters throw twice on the side between starts instead of once. (He does this because he feels it gives the starter the same increased sharpness that comes from working on three days' rest.)