Surely, at age 46, Earl Weaver is not senile. But after all those years pulling the strings at Fitzgerald (Ga.), Dublin (Ga.), Aberdeen (S.D.), Knoxville, Fox Cities, Elmira, Rochester and nigh on to a decade in Baltimore, is the old bush-league second baseman "managed out"?
On the night Texas Ranger executive vice president Eddie Robinson broke the three-day ice in Arlington, Tex., and visited manager Frank Lucchesi for a friendly 15-minute chat, skipper Weaver held a clubhouse meeting in Chicago - to apologize to his perplexed Orioles. Two glaring tactical boners this week by Weaver, two Baltimore defeats.
Episode One, at Minnesota: Twin runners on second and third, Dan Ford at bat, Weaver orders Mike Flanagan to walk Ford - thinking Larry Hisle was at bat. Flanagan serves two intentional balls before Weaver realizes his mistake; goes on to walk Ford unintentionally. Next hitter Hisle delivers a hit that wins the 3-2 games.
Episode Two, at Chicago: Bases loaded with White Sox in the third inning, one run in. Oriole righthander Tony Chavez gets Wayne Nordhagen to hit into a force play at the plate. Next up, righthand hitter Jim Essian. Weaver heads toward the mound and relives Chavez with lefthander Scott McGregor. Hardly able to believe it, an overjoyed Essian greets the lefty with a three-run double. Final score, White Sox 7-4. "For some ungodly reason," Weaver relates, "I thought the previous play left first base open. I wanted McGregor to walk Essian and then pitch to the lefthander, Ralph Garr."
He concludes, "In my mind, maybe I'm thinking too far ahead; otherwise it's unexplainable."
Can it be that Earl Weaver's worst enemy is not umpire Joe Brinkman, but Earl Weaver? - who, nonetheless, is still some manager. Just look at the standings this morning . . .
On campus at College Park, a women's basketball coaching shuffle: Chris Weller's chief assistant, Jane Fontaine, has accepted the head coaching post at Mercer U., the Macon, Ga., school that cavorts among the top echelon. Assistant Monica Rogers, Maryland '75, steps up to Fontaine's Terrapin station. Martha Hastings, Maryland '77, takes Rogers' rung on the ladder . . . One of the Terrapins' top recruits, Pamela Reaves of Asbury Park, N.J., was MVP of a New York all-star game Sunday; was Red Auerbach there, or only on the phone? . . . Undecided highs senior Albert King's big brother, Bernard King of Tennessee, is almost sure to take the pro money as a hardship case and run next week, says Vol coach Ray Mears after a talk with the all-SEC New Yorker who has a year's eligibility left . . . Dolph Schayes' 6-10 son Dan has opted for Syracuse U. . . . A blue-chip Louisville high schooler, 6-5 Dwayne Smith, left the undecided list in a hurry when, while he was visiting the Jacksonville campus, Artis Gilmore dropped by the alma mater, rolled up in his Rolls Royce and bugged not only Smith's eyes but his ears. Said Jax coach Don Beasley: "It was a totally unplanned thing, I swear." Love those coincidences, right, Lefty?
An item out of Toronto has Jan Carinci, a 6-1, 195-pound wide receiver passing up an offer from the pro Toronto Argonauts to go to a stateside college - preferably Maryland, because of its dental school. And Carinci's lawyer said, "our years of football at a major U.S. college won't hurt in negotiating a pro contract." Got 'im, Jerry? . . .
One more scholarship: Kenny Houston not only signed a fresh Redskin contract this week but thrilled a Cardozo High assembly at presentation of a $1,000 scholarship in his name as a 1976 NFL Dodge Man of the Year. It goes to Anthony Baldwin, editor of the school newspaper and yearbook who will study journalism at American U. . . . One more Redskin signing: Mike Bragg, coming out for his 10th year, having punted in 126 consecutive games for 25,129 yards. Bragg was on the Redskin basketball team that amassed a 20-0 record over the winter. Frank Grant was high scorer, Joe Lavender outstanding . . .
Most memorable of the 20 games was in March, when the 'Skins booked a benefit at Nottoway High School, Crewe, Va., a three-hour drive from D.C. It was to help with the bills for Quinton Eugene Love, 17, a cancer patient at Richmond General Hospital. Arrangements were made to bring the youth by rescue vehicle to a midcourt seat. He died the day before the game; it went on, to fund Quinton Love's funeral . . .