January 19, 2013

Rest In Peace - Earl Weaver

A scan of my personal Statis Pro box.
You'll have to forgive me, as I know this isn't technically a loss from 1984, but I have a heavy heart today.

Earl Weaver passed away.

I received my copy of Statis Pro Baseball during the Christmas of 1985 (or maybe 1986?).  I was overwhelmed and excited.  I was 10/11 years old and had been devouring Topps baseball card sets, but as I opened the box to this wonderful game, it was full of white perforated sheets corresponding to the names of every MLB player from the 1985 season.  The player cards were full of strange numbers and letters that made little sense to me.  My dad spent a few hours reading the rules and learning how to play the game.  As he did so, I worked at punching out the hundreds of player cards.  I still remember the enormous mess all those cards left - our dining room table covered with slivers of white cardstock.

The cover to this edition of Statis Pro featured many stars (and Carney Lansford) of the mid 80's.  George Brett, Steve Garvey, Reggie Jackson, Dwight Gooden, Pete Rose...and Earl Weaver.  The painting is tremendous, if not a little odd since the real team logos were missing.  I knew nothing of the MLBPA, copyright infringements, etc.  But I did know that my favorite team's manager was in the upper left corner, clipboard in hand.  The first game my dad and I played were his Dodgers vs. my Orioles, and you better believe I thought I was Earl Weaver.  To be honest, I still feel like I'm Earl with every Statis Pro game I play.  I like the high OBP guys, the three run homers, and don't care for the steal.  That's Earl Weaver baseball.

I was at Eddie Murray's Hall of Fame induction back in 2003, and it was fun to see the large applause Earl received as he took the stage - the O's fans there to cheer Eddie made sure all of the HOF Orioles got love.  My final picture below is an Earl Weaver autograph I picked up at a card show in Adrian, MI, back in the early 90's.  If I remember correctly it was only $5 - I thought I was ripping the guy off.  I hope it's as authentic as the man himself.  My thoughts and prayers for Earl's family, fans, and the Baltimore Orioles community.

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