The Baltimore Orioles have a storied history, despite not becoming an official MLB franchise until 1954.
July 10 should be a day of celebration for all Baltimore Orioles fans as it marks the day of two historic events that changed the franchise for the better. One was the start of an era, the other one highlighted the end of another one.
The first July 10 could be called “Earl Weaver Day” as the day in 1968 marks Weaver’s first day on the job as manager. He replaced Hank Bauer and led the team to three AL Pennants and a World Series win in 1970.
Throughout his 18-year tenure with the O’s, he only had one losing season: 1986. During his 16 straight seasons leading the team, the diminutive manager with a larger-than-life personality led the team to five seasons with over 100 wins. His worst win-loss record was in 1972 when the team went 80-74.
Weaver was known for his legendary game ejections. He even was ejected during a World Series game, making himself the first AL manager to be ejected in a World Series game since Del Baker of the Tigers was ejected in 1935.
With the Orioles, Weaver won two Manager of the Year Awards, in 1973 and 1977. Ironically, he never won the award when the team won pennants or when they won the World Series in 1970.
The second reason that July 10 should be a day of celebration for the Orioles is because of Cal Ripken, Jr. On this day in 2001, the Iron Man hit a home run that showed he still had it, even in his final season.
At age 40, Ripken approached the plate in his final All-Star Game and was batting in the eight-hole. In his first at-bat leading off the third inning, the crowd stood and applauded when Ripken approached the plate. Dodgers pitcher Chan Ho Park threw a meatball that Ripken sent out of the park. It was a fitting ending to a storied career that included 19 All-Star Games.
He began the Midsummer Classic at shortstop and then made the notable gesture of moving to third base to pave the way for Alex Rodriguez to take over. It was a changing of the guard after Ripken spent 19 years worth of All-Star Games at short. At the close of the 2001 All-Star Game, Ripken received the MVP award.
The July 10 dates might be in the middle of the baseball season, but they have symbolic meaning. Weaver began his career on that day and Ripken iconically closed his. Interestingly, Weaver and Ripken’s careers intersected again in 1982. Even though Weaver returned to manage in 1985 and ’86, he technically retired in 1982 which happened to be the first full season for Ripken.
Both Weaver and Ripken have well-deserved spots in the Hall of Fame, as both are two of the Orioles most favorite sons. Here’s to July 10, which could affectionately be called Weaver-Ripken Day.