Wit and Wisdom of Earl Weaver

Wit and Wisdom of Earl Weaver

In all the years I have known the marvelous umpire Steve Palermo, I have never once heard him say Earl Weaver's name. He would talk about Weaver quite often but always called him "that little …" The ellipses represented any number of charming adjectives. Well, you know -- Earl Weaver was one of the great managers the game has ever known, and he was also quite nasty to umpires. Nasty but brilliant. Palermo always concedes the brilliant part.

On August 16, 1979, Palermo was umpiring third base when Kansas City's Frank White tried to steal home. He was called out but Palermo overruled the call and said Baltimore pitcher Dennis Martinez had balked. Weaver went bonkers. He raced on the field, argued with everyone, kept sticking his finger in Palermo's face -- it looked to reporters that the two were very close to getting into a fight -- and then Weaver put the game under protest.

"He's just a young punk," Weaver growled to those reporters after the game. And then he said this to the Washington Post's Thomas Boswell: "I question his integrity, but I respect the umpire's uniform -- otherwise, he might be dead."

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