(Reuters) - Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver, who saw the Baltimore Orioles to four American League titles and a World Series championship, died on Saturday, the club said.
Weaver, 82, who spent his 17-year managing career with the Orioles, died of an apparent heart attack, the team said on its website. The Baltimore Sun quoted a club spokeswoman as saying he had died during an Orioles-themed cruise.
Known as “the Earl of Baltimore,” the fiery Weaver led the Orioles to six division titles, four American League pennants and one World Series title. He had two stints as the club’s skipper, from 1968 to 1982 and from 1985 to 1986.
Baltimore finished in first or second place in the American League East in all but three seasons during his initial 15-year run. Weaver posted a 0.583 career winning percentage with 1,480 wins and 1,060 losses, ranking him seventh all-time among managers, and first for post-1960 skippers.
Led by third baseman Brooks Robinson, the Orioles beat the Cincinnati Reds four games to one in the 1970 World Series.
“Earl Weaver was a brilliant baseball man, a true tactician in the dugout and one of the key figures in the rich history of the Baltimore Orioles,” Baseball Commissioner Allan “Bud” Selig said in a statement.
Weaver, a St. Louis native, was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as a second baseman out of high school but never played in the major leagues.
He started his coaching career in the Orioles’ farm system in 1957 and worked his way up to managing the Triple-A Rochester, New York, Red Wings in 1966.
In 1968, he was promoted to Orioles first-base coach. Weaver replaced Hank Bauer as manager in July that year.
Weaver was ejected from dozens of games and was known for baiting umpires, especially by kicking dirt on them.
“The job of arguing with the umpire belongs to the manager, because it won’t hurt the team if he gets thrown out of the game,” Weaver once said.
He also pioneered the use of radar guns to track the speed of pitches, using them in 1975 spring training. Weaver was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996.
He was honored last year with a statue outside Camden Yards, the Orioles’ ball park.
Reporting by Ian Simpson; Editing by Vicki Allen