FanFest

From left, McKinley Reese, 10, and his brother Hudson Reese, 6, both of Perry Hall, salute the statue of Earl Weaver at Camden Yards. Weaver died the night before. (Baltimore Sun photo by Lloyd Fox / January 19, 2013)

"Shocked, obviously. Holy cow," Roberts said. "I love Buck, but [Weaver] is still the manager you think of when you think of the Orioles. His fire, his intensity, his passion for the game, his passion for the city, his passion for doing things the Oriole Way and doing it the right way. It's something that everyone in this city can relate to."

Orioles hitting coach Jim Presley remembers playing against Weaver's teams in the 1980s. And he said it was always a challenge — and often a show.

"I knew it was going to be old school when Earl was there, when he had his tomatoes in left field. I just remember him being real fiery. He'd come out and argue on everything," Presley said. "He was a really nice man, but, boy, he was fiery when that ballgame started. I mean, he would come out there for anything. He'd be out there. But it was fun watching him."

Those who knew Weaver remember, his passion, but also his compassion. Jim Henneman, a long-time sportswriter who covered Weaver throughout his entire managerial career, treasures the time he spent talking baseball late into the night with Weaver after games or in spring training.

"Earl was probably the most unforgettable guy I have ever been around, for a lot of reasons," said Henneman, who first met Weaver, the minor league manager, in 1959. "I didn't always get along with him, I didn't always agree with him. We had our little things occasionally, but I really admired his dedication to the game. And he had a lot of great thoughts about the game I still believe in."

Weaver was considered one of the first skippers to look at statistics and apply them in a way to better the opposition.

"People talk about Moneyball, but long before that you had Earl Weaver doing it," said Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette. "The simplicity and clarity of his leadership and his passion for baseball is unmatched. He's a treasure, and I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to work with him this year."

Ultimately, what fans, players, and anyone who has been around the Orioles, will remember is Weaver's direct personality, his penchant to say what was on his mind, no matter the occasion.

Orioles catcher Matt Wieters said the only time he really interacted with him, Weaver walked past Wieters hitting in a cage in Sarasota, Fla., and said, "Keep working on that bat speed." Wieters said he just laughed, knowing, even at around age 80, Wieters was doling out advice.

"Earl was just a classic. You didn't have to wait too long for Earl to let you know where you stood with him. What a great, great baseball man and a legend in Baltimore," Duquette said. "He leaves a terrific legacy of winning baseball with the Orioles. Grateful for his contribution. Sad to see him go. But he has a legacy that lives on."

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

twitter.com/danconnollysun

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