Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver and American League umpire Ron Luciano had an ongoing feud dating back to their time in the minor leagues. On this day in 1975, Luciano ejected the Orioles manager twice.
It made sense that Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver and American League umpire Ron Luciano would not get along. They were essentially polar opposites in demeanor; the volatile, fiesty Weaver took the game extremely seriously, while the larger Luciano was far more jovial, a self described fan on the field. In their first meeting in 1965, Luciano ejected Weaver from all four games of the series, including once while exchanging lineup cards. A beautiful hatred was born.
It did not take long for their paths to cross. Weaver, a minor league manager, found himself feuding with Luciano, himself beginning his career at the time. They quickly grew to hate one another, and much to their dismay, found themselves crossing paths once again in the majors. Again, their feud ignited, and the two became sworn enemies.
Those confrontations reached their high point on this day in 1975. In a doubleheader between Orioles and Texas Rangers, history repeated itself. Weaver disagreed with a call that Luciano made during the first game, and found himself ejected, as was the custom at the time. Then, in the second game, before the lineup cards were exchanged, the two began arguing once more, with Weaver being tossed before a pitch had been thrown.
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Tensions between the two reached a boiling point after that incident. Luciano was kept from umpiring Orioles games for the entire 1976 season in order to keep the two away from one another. Luciano would umpire for three more years before retiring in 1979, wile Weaver initially retired in 1982, then came back for two more years in 1985 and 1986.
Luciano was not the only umpire that Weaver had problems with. Weaver was the first manager ejected from a World Series in 60 years when umpire Shag Crawford threw him out in 1969. And he was suspended for a week in 1982 after punching umpire Terry Cooney in the face because of a disputed call.
In continuing their strangely parallel careers, both Luciano and Weaver had a good deal of success. Luciano, in his eleven years, worked three league championship series and the 1974 World Series. He was routinely rated as one of the best umpires in the game by the players, including members of the Orioles. Weaver, meanwhile, finished with the fifth highest winning percentage in baseball history, and won four American League titles in his Hall of Fame career.
In a lot of ways, Baltimore Orioles manager and umpire Ron Luciano needed one another. Just don’t ever tell them that.