They came back to say goodbye to the Earl of Baltimore.
Orioles Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Brooks Robinson spoke tonight at a pregame ceremony to honor the life of former Orioles manager and fellow Hall of Famer Earl Weaver, who died in January.
Brooks spoke to Earl’s family in his opening remarks.
“You have been in our hearts and prayers for the last few months. We all butted heads with Earl every once in a while, but we admired him for sure,” Robinson said. “I think even the other teams we played against realized we had the best manager in the league. I know the umpires did not like to see Earl run out on the field. He may have known the rule book better than them. We are thinking about you Earl right now and God bless you.”
“I had a chance to see the softer side of Earl,” Ripken said. “Jim and Earl had a special relationship. I see Eddie Murray over there. He had a special relationship with Earl. I only played for Earl for a short time but i wished I played for him forever.”
“It is an honor to be the manager of the Baltimore Orioles because of Earl Weaver,” Buck Showalter said. “He cared so much about the Orioles. The Oriole way was the Weaver way. I just feel honored he passed my way,” he said.
Other speakers tonight included 1983 World Series MVP Rick Dempsey, Jeff Idelson, National Baseball Hall of Fame president and Earl’s son, Mike Weaver.
Frank Robinson and Jim Palmer were not able to attend tonight’s ceremony.
After tonight’s ceremony Brooks made a few additional comments for a few reporters.
“It’s wonderful that the Orioles put this together,” he said. “We had the funeral down in Florida, but this is nice and I saw a lot of guys I haven’t seen in a long time. It was a wonderful tribute to Earl.
“Tell you what, we got a lot of laughs out of that guy and he bumped heads with a lot of people but we all respected him and knew he was a great manager and we loved him.
“There was a lot of love on that field. I’ll tell you what, the older you get, the more I find myself hugging people. That is what I did with a lot of the guys here tonight.”
Brooks said he still can feel the love coming his way from the Orioles fans.
“Absolutely. That sent chills up my back. I loved it, it was great.”