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Weaver Says He Won't Return as Oriole Manager

September 09, 1986|From Times Wire Services

BALTIMORE — Earl Weaver confirmed Monday night that he will not return as manager of the Baltimore Orioles for the 1987 season.

Weaver, who retired after the 1982 season but returned as Orioles' manager on June 14 of last year, told club owner Edward Bennett Williams of his decision three weeks ago. He said Monday night, after the Orioles lost, 9-3, to the Boston Red Sox in 11 innings, that it was unlikely he would change his mind.

"I don't think so," he said. "I don't know what lies ahead."

Williams was not available for comment Monday. He is expected at Memorial Stadium on Wednesday, at which time Weaver intends to speak with him again.

When they meet, Weaver may tell him that third base coach Cal Ripken Sr., the heir apparent to the job, should be given a chance to manage the remainder of the season, sources said.

"That would seem logical," Weaver said.

Weaver's reasoning is that the Orioles' front office could use the last month of the season to decide if a Ripken-Orioles marriage would work.

Although Weaver is adamant about not returning to Baltimore, he could be leaving the door open to manage somewhere else.

George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees, has said in the past that Weaver was his type of manager and speculation continues to build that Lou Piniella will not return as Yankee manager next season. Weaver has said in the past that he could manage for Steinbrenner, which many managers have found impossible to do.

However, under the terms of his contract, Weaver is prevented from working for another organization until 1990.

"I've got a $1-a-year contract," he said. "That's plenty."

Weaver's retirement ends an era during which the Orioles could usually be counted on for success. Weaver won six American League East titles and went to the World Series four times and won one of them. He joined the Baltimore organization 29 years ago and is signed through the 1986 season.

Weaver retired at the end of the 1982 season after the Orioles narrowly missed overtaking the Milwaukee Brewers for the AL East title. The Orioles went into the final day of the season tied with Milwaukee for first place, but lost to the Brewers at Memorial Stadium.

Weaver returned to the field that day for a standing ovation.

He stayed away from the game for two and one-half seasons but was lured out of retirement last season by Williams for a salary estimated at $500,000 that made him the highest paid manager in baseball.

However, things haven't gone well for the Orioles since Weaver returned. He hasn't been able to put together the types of strong seasons that were trademark of the Orioles in the 1970s.

With Monday night's loss to Boston, the Orioles fell to 67-70 and are only 1 1/2 games out of last place.

Under his leadership Baltimore has won 90 or more games in 12 of 14 full seasons and won 100 or more five times. In his 26 years of managing he's finished over .500 each year except his first at Fitzgerald, Ga., in 1957.

"Somehow it leaked," Weaver said about his decision to quit as Oriole manager. "I don't know how and I don't know who and I don't want to know. I don't want to lose a friend."

"You can't see the future," he said, "and I want to be able to enjoy my life. This is certainly not sad. It's sad what's been happening on the field, but there's nothing sad about a man being able to go out and do the things he loves to do.

"I'm very disappointed in our record, but I don't know what else I could have tried. I'll say this: Mr. Williams got an honest day's work for every day I worked."

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