It's on days like this that the lines of my life cross. A Hall of Fame baseball manager died on a cruise ship this weekend.
As an old (?) baseball writer, I was captivated by the news of Earl Weaver's sudden passing at the age of 82. As a cruise writer, I was struck by how it happened in his stateroom on the Celebrity Silhouette.
I never met Earl Weaver but felt like I knew him since first watching him as a "player-manager" — now that's dating yourself — in the minor leagues. He was in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and many of the players he managed there went on to become, like him, the nucleus of the best Baltimore Orioles teams in history.
His 17 seasons as a big-league manager were, besides successful (his Orioles were 528 games over .500), engaging. He was known for legendary disputes with umpires, colorful language with reporters and on his own radio show, and unyielding loyalty to the people who made him a major leaguer.
Life is often six degrees of separation, they say. Weaver apparently loved cruising. In addition to a love of baseball, that gave us something else in common. Okay, maybe that's much more than six degrees.
Years ago, we had a friend who went on to play for Weaver's Orioles before becoming a career bullpen coach (28 years) for the tempestuous native of St. Louis. Elrod Hendricks, who died seven years ago, made us feel like we knew Weaver, even though we didn't.
Today, so does the Celebrity Silhouette.
Photo credit: Keith Allison's photostream