No umpire was safe from Earl Weaver’s wrath. The longtime manager of the Baltimore Orioles, who died Jan. 19, was never shy about giving an umpire a piece of his mind when he felt his team had been wronged.
As with all AL umpires of the day, Steve Palermo was no exception.
“He was tough with umpires, but he was a very good manager,” Palermo told MLB.com upon learning of Weaver’s death. “You were always on red alert with him because you never knew what he was going to do next. He was very unconventional.”
Palermo is currently a supervisor of MLB umpires. In 1993, he received NASO’s Gold Whistle Award for his efforts to raise funds for research, equipment and support for uninsured victims of spinal injuries. Palermo’s career ended when he was shot by a robber whose victims Palermo was attempting to aid.
The former umpire recalled an incident in which Weaver had been ejected but returned to the field, leading the umpires to consider forfeiting the game,” Palermo recalled. “He’s already been thrown out. ... I told him to get out of here. And he kicked dirt all the way from third base to second base. And he was standing there on second base.”
Weaver ignored orders to leave. Palermo told fellow umpire Richie Garcia to start a stopwatch, giving Weaver a minute to vacate or forfeit.
“He stood there for about 15 seconds and said, ‘You know, you’re crazy enough just to forfeit this game,’” Palermo said. “And he came running over the mound as I bent over to brush off home plate. He comes up from behind, kicks the dirt under my legs onto the plate and then he takes off running to the dugout. He said, ‘I know I've only got about 15 seconds left so I’m getting out of here.’”