I will never forget a weekend I spent with friends in Cooperstown, N.Y., in August 1996. We made the drive north for the Hall of Fame induction of Earl Weaver.
So many memories of No. 4 come rushing to the forefront today with news that Earl died last night. He was 82.
I was there not to work as a reporter, but as a fan to honor a man who was a big reason that my childhood was a happy one. When you are a young kid and baseball means so much to you, it's pretty cool that your boyhood team wins a lot. And with Earl leading the way, the Orioles sure won a lot.
As a player, his baseball career never went too far, but as a manager the diminutive skipper loomed large. From 1969 through 1982, his O's won six AL East titles, four pennants and the 1970 World Series against "The Big Red Machine."
Earl was famous for his arguments with umpires, but I'll remember the winning the most. The Orioles played sound fundamental baseball and they made all Orioles fans proud.
We've lost a great one today. Few had a greater impact on this franchise. Earl's No. 4 is hanging above the main stage here at FanFest. This will be a FanFest unlike any other today. Sad, but also many great memories will be shared no doubt.
RIP No. 4.