Weaver is 5-foot-7. His sculpture is 7 feet tall. Standing beside the bronze likeness, Weaver will have to look up to himself — as will most everyone else.
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Camden Yards Sports Complex, 333 W Camden St #500, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA
"I just hope their dads and grandfathers have the statistics to show why I'm standing there."
You want numbers? Five times in his 17 years here, the Orioles won 100 games or more for the man known as "the little genius." Eleven times, they won at least 90. And Weaver's lifetime winning percentage (.583) ranks ninth all-time among baseball managers.
Clearly, the umpire-baiting, Raleigh-smoking, tomato-growing Weaver earned his place on a pedestal in the Garden of the Greats picnic area behind center field — alongside Frank Robinson, whose statue was unveiled in April, and soon-to-be-feted Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr.
Though Weaver never played a game in the big leagues, "Earl is just as deserving as the players," Brooks Robinson said. "Just like Frank, Jim, Eddie, Cal and me, he will always be part of Orioles history, and the statue will elevate that."
Weaver's obsession to win is the stuff of legend.
"Not being in first place is not a pleasant experience," he'd say. "On my tombstone, just write, 'The sorest loser that ever lived.'"
His players fed off of Weaver's urgency.
"If he has to bite you to win a game, he will," pitcher Dennis Martinez liked to say.
Not that he ever did.
"Having Earl as manager gives us a four-game lead on anybody," pitcher Sammy Stewart once said.
"Earl was so serious about winning," Brooks Robinson recalled this week. "He used reverse psychology. When we were playing great, that was when he was on our backs — and when we weren't winning, that's when he was patting us on the back and telling us how great we were."
Weaver said the statue will show him with his hands in his back pockets, a more mellow pose than that of the dirt-kicking, rhubarb-starting manager many fans remember. In all, he was ejected from 98 games for everything from hurling bases around the ballpark to ripping up a rulebook in an umpire's face.
"Earl gave us a lot of laughs," Robinson said. "I remember, many times, standing on third base, laughing into my glove. I always laughed when he would yell at the umpires and have to turn his hat around, because he kept hitting them with the bill of his cap."
Weaver, who lives in Pembroke Pines, Fla., will attend Saturday's event — part of the 20th anniversary celebration of Camden Yards — with an entourage of nearly 100 friends and family members.
"I'm going to live the moment, and the moment is going to be great," he said. "Baltimore was my home for so long that this [ceremony] is very close to my heart. It's nice to still be alive and to see your statue, too. I just can't believe that people still remember me."
He said he has probably spent more time preparing his speech for Saturday than he did the Orioles' lineups, which he did after poring over statistical matchups — a game plan pioneered by Weaver that later became the norm.