Goldman: Earl Weaver arrives in October, is promptly ejected

From SABR member Steven Goldman at VICE Sports on October 15, 2015:

The little man of destiny surveyed a rising empire in disarray and acted decisively to arrest its declining fortunes. He set new organizational priorities and made changes to key personnel that enabled him to realize those new goals. In a very short time, he rose to become the dominant figure in his field.

And that, in an overwrought paragraph, is how we like to think about the great baseball managers’ rise to prominence with the teams that made them famous. It’s a better fit for Napoleon Bonaparte in the summer of 1799 than Earl Weaver in the summer (and fall) of 1969, but it says something that either man could wear it. Let’s not, though. To properly appreciate Weaver, we have to let go of the naive and deterministic man-of-destiny idea that leaders shape their circumstances rather than vice-versa. Greatness is contingent, and Weaver’s career is testament to the reality that circumstances can be badgered, but not always beaten.

We can hold onto “little man,” though: Napoleon was 5-foot-6, Weaver 5-foot-7.

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Originally published: October 15, 2015. Last Updated: October 15, 2015.