Results tagged ‘ Earl Weaver ’

Reflecting on a 16-game winning streak

Earl Weaver was the star of the Carolina League's best team of all time--the 1950 Winston-Salem Cardinals. He is remembered at BB&T Ballpark with this plaque.

Earl Weaver was the star of the Carolina League’s best team of all time–the 1950 Winston-Salem Cardinals. He is remembered at BB&T Ballpark with this plaque.

Tonight, the Dash begin a three-game series against the Salem Red Sox, the defending champions of the Carolina League. They are 4-0 to start the 2014 season after wrapping up last year’s regular season with victories in their last six contests.

The 10-game regular season winning streak is incredibly impressive, and if you include their playoff run to the 2013 Mills Cup Championship, the Red Sox have come out on top in 15 straight games.

The Carolina League record for consecutive regular season wins is 16, and it resides in the Triad! Today, we reflect on one of the great teams in Minor League Baseball history: the 1950 Winston-Salem Cardinals.

(NOTE: Because postseason wins are involved with this consecutive streak, we are not sure if, by the Carolina League record books, Salem’s streak is 10 games or 15 games. We have an e-mail into league president John Hopkins about this. However, our guess is that the postseason wins will not count because postseason stats are not added to a player’s overall line).

The Cardinals were the first Carolina League team to crack the century-mark for wins in a season, going 106-47 in 1950. They finished a whopping 19 games ahead of the second-place Danville Leafs. In the playoffs, the Cardinals defeated the Reidsville Luckies and Burlington Bees to complete their championship year.

While Winston-Salem’s offensive numbers weren’t eye-popping individually, they collectively led the league in runs-per-game. They also featured the best pitching in the Carolina League and tied for the league lead in fielding percentage.

During a two-week stretch in June, the Cardinals bulldozed the competition, breaking the consecutive wins record set by Burlington in 1948 (13 games). When it was all said-and-done, the 16-game winning streak became the new standard for Carolina League success.

Among players, Wilmer “Vinegar Bend” Mizell had the most successful Major League career of anyone on the Winston-Salem roster. He pitched for nine seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets, compiling a 90-88 record and 3.85 ERA.

The most famous man on that 1950 Cardinals team, however, never played a day in the Majors. Earl Weaver was Winston-Salem’s second baseman that season, hitting .276. He later rose to prominence as manager of the Baltimore Orioles, leading that squad for 17 years. During his time in Baltimore, Weaver won 1,480 games, four American League pennants and the 1970 World Series. One of the most colorful skippers in baseball history, Weaver was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1996.

Since that historic Winston-Salem winning streak was established, it has only been challenged a couple of times. The 1959 Raleigh Capitals rattled off 15 straight wins, and the 2006 Salem Avalanche won 14 in a row. But the 1950 Cardinals remain atop the mountain, and this year’s Dash squad will look to defend Winston-Salem’s honor and halt the latest challenge.

– Dave

Weaver’s Ties To Winston-Salem

Earl Weaver while with the Winston-Salem Cardinals in 1950 (Bob Lemke).

Earl Weaver while with the Winston-Salem Cardinals in 1950 (Bob Lemke).

It is a somber Saturday morning in the baseball world. Hall of Fame manager Earl Weaver has passed away at the age of 82. According to the New York Daily News, Weaver died of an apparent heart attack early this morning on an Orioles fantasy cruise.

Weaver’s claim to fame is his tremendous success as the manager of the Baltimore Orioles. Weaver was 1480-1060 (.583) in 17 seasons, and he led the O’s to four American League pennants. The Hall of Famer led Baltimore to the 1970 World Series title.

A man who Tim Kurkjian called “one of the three greatest managers of all time” on ESPN’s SportsCenter this morning, Weaver contributed to the greatest season in Winston-Salem history.

In 1950, the Winston-Salem Cardinals posted a Carolina League-record 106-47 (.693) mark and won the league’s title. Weaver was the club’s second baseman and hit .276 during the season.

Weaver never reached the big leagues as a player, so he began his managerial career in the minor leagues in 1956. The St. Louis native reached Baltimore as the skipper in the middle of the 1968 season, and he led the O’s to the Fall Classic in each of his first three full seasons.

We send our condolences to the Weaver family. Earl has a special place in baseball history and in Winston-Salem history.

– Brian