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O's legends return to remember Weaver

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles held a ceremony to honor Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver, the team's long-time skipper who died this winter, before the nightcap of Saturday's doubleheader against the Dodgers.

"A Celebration of Earl" featured several members of the Orioles family speaking about their former manager before the nightcap. Brooks Robinson, Rick Dempsey, Cal Ripken, Jr., Buck Showalter and others shared a variety of stories, most of which made the crowd laugh.

Hall of Fame third baseman Robinson drew a standing ovation when introduced. He played under Weaver for about 10 years and spoke for several minutes about how much both teammates and opponents respected the skipper.

"As a manager, he was terrific," Robinson said. "We're thinking about you, Earl, right now. God bless you."

Weaver was a colorful personality who managed the Orioles from midway through the 1968 season until the end of '82. He then took over again in '85 and ran the team until the end of '86, when he stepped down for good.

The Orioles celebrated what Weaver meant to the franchise. Everyone who spoke paid tribute to his strong personality and competitiveness that drove the Orioles to four World Series appearances -- and one championship -- during his time in charge.

Weaver didn't fear making moves that other managers wouldn't. One of the most memorable was moving Ripken from third base to shortstop very early in his career, which raised many eyebrows, but launched Ripken's career.

"I just thought he made a mistake," Ripken said with a smile.

Even though it was just 15 minutes prior to first pitch, Showalter spoke of what Weaver meant to him.

"It's an honor to be the manager of the Baltimore Orioles because of Earl Weaver," Showalter said.

A white No. 4 was painted in an orange circle in front of the team's first-base dugout, representing the skipper's number, which is retired by the club. Another "4" hung on the warehouse wall behind the right-field fence for the entire crowd to see.

Todd Karpovich and Jeff Seidel are contributors to
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