Baltimore Oriole Manager Earl Weaver was arrested early yesterday morning by Baltimore County police and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and with three related offenses.
According to police reports, Patrolman William Koenig saw Weaver's 1980 Cadillac zigzagging across the center line on East Joppa Road at about 12:20 a.m. Koenig gave chase after allegedly observing the car run a red light.
Police said Weaver was taken into custody and charged with driving under the influence, failure to obey an automatic traffic signal, failure to drive to the right of the center line and failure to sign a traffic summons.
Weaver, 52, could face combined penalties of up to one year in jail, $2,000 in fines and loss of driving privileges for up to four months if convicted on all four charges.
In addition, Weaver could face an extra 60- to 120-day suspension of his driver's license for refusing to submit to either a breathalyzer or blood test to determine the amount of alcohol in his body.
Weaver explained: "My wife and I went out to dinner at the Orchard Inn with a couple of friends. We both had a few drinks. My wife started to drive back home, but she was too smart to get behind the wheel. I wasn't . . .
"If you're a teetotaler I guess this looks pretty terrible. On the other hand people in this business (baseball) probably are not going to think it's too awful."
This is Weaver's second arrest on a charge of driving under the influence. On April 16, 1973 Weaver was convicted of drunk driving, also in Baltimore County. He was fined $500 and lost his license for 15 days.
During the 1973 incident Weaver "yelled and screamed" and was "cocky and insulting," officer James Slocum testified at the time. After handing down the 1973 sentence, Judge Kenneth Proctor told Weaver his conduct was "inexcusable and absolutely outrageous."
Police said yesterday that Weaver was cooperative and "submitted to custody without much problem." They also said it is unusual for an individual to refuse to sign the routine traffic summons. Weaver lives in the Perry Hall section of the county, not far from the scene of the arrest.
"It's best to just go along with them," Weaver said. "I learned that last time. "
Concerning the issue of having a few drinks, he responded, "That's my lifestyle. That'll probably never change. What should change -- what will change -- is that I shouldn't get behind the wheel."
Weaver, who could also receive six points against his driver's license if convicted on the driving while under the influence charge, has no points on his license currently. His last traffic violation was an August 1977 speeding ticket.
Weaver's bail hearing was held at 3:30 a.m. in the Towson Commissioner's office. Weaver was released after his wife put up a personal pledge of $500. No date has been set for the hearing.
Weaver saw the bright side of the incident.
"Well, at least (pitcher Jim) Palmer's speaking to me again . . . for the first time in six days (since their near-fight in Seattle). He stuck his head in my office and said, 'Now they're all blamin' me. They say I drove you to drink.' "