On this day in 1996, Earl Weaver was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Best known as a fiery, World Series-winning manager of the Baltimore Orioles, he also led the Fox Cities Foxes to a league championship in the early 1960s.
The Fox Cities Foxes were a predecessor team to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, and were still part of the Illinois-Indiana-Iowa League (commonly referred to as the Three-I League) when Weaver managed the Appleton-based team in 1960 and 1961. The Three-I League disbanded in January 1962, resulting in the Foxes and two other teams (Burlington and Cedar Rapids) moving to the Midwest League that year.
Weaver led the 1960 Foxes to an 82-56 record and the league championship. Fox Cities players included RHP Dean Chance, who won the American League Cy Young Award in 1964; first baseman Boog Powell, who was named the AL MVP in 1970; catcher Cal Ripken Sr., who would play for the Foxes again in 1962 and manage the Orioles (including sons Cal Ripken Jr. and Billy Ripken) in 1987; LHP Pat Gillick, who was general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays when the team won back-to-back World Series championships in 1992 and 1993; and Weaver himself, who batted .233 in 30 at-bats.
Weaver was a full-time manager when he returned to the Foxes in 1961. The ’61 team didn’t fare as well as the ’60 squad, finishing 67-62. He spent six more seasons managing in the Orioles farm system before leading the big-league team for 17 years.
You can read more about Weaver and the 1960 Foxes in this article by Timber Rattlers broadcaster Chris Mehring.