Earl Weaver's formula for success in baseball was simple:
3RHR+GPG=WINS. Take a few three-run home runs, add a good-pitched
game and you get a win. These days while three-run homers are
flying out of parks, GPGs are in short supply, and the diminutive
former Baltimore Orioles skipper has little patience for the
sport. Weaver, 70, still checks the Orioles' box scores in the
paper but rarely watches or attends games. "I do still like a
good pitchers' duel," he says, "but if a pitcher throws 25
pitches in one inning, I'll turn the game off."
He didn't see many such innings during his 17 seasons as
Baltimore's manager. His clubs won four American League pennants
and the 1970 World Series, and Weaver was elected to the Hall of
Fame in '96.
His life has been considerably calmer since he retired. Weaver
served briefly in '89 as manager of the Senior Professional
Baseball Association's Florida Gold Coast Suns, but he quit when
the games began interfering with his leisure time. (The league
folded the next season.) He lives in Pembroke Pines, Fla., with
Marianna, his wife of 36 years; is a member of two country clubs;
and plays 18 holes of golf per day, five days a week. He says he
tries to be as competitive in golf as he was in baseball, but his
handicap has risen to 17, up from five when he retired. When he's
not on the links, Weaver can often be found at one of the three
racetracks near his home--cheering one of several thoroughbreds in
which he is considering purchasing part ownership.
In addition to watching less baseball, Weaver had to quit
maintaining the enormous vegetable garden he was famous for--he
says it became too strenuous a task for him, and the soil was not
conducive to growing tomatoes--but you won't hear him complain.
He's found an equation for the good life: Lots of golf+plenty of
visits with his seven grandchildren+not too much baseball=the
ideal retirement. "I don't miss the game at all," Weaver says.
Despite this avowal, baseball isn't entirely out of his life.
Earlier this season he attended the All-Star Fanfest in Atlanta
and the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Cooperstown. At
celebrity card shows Weaver enjoys teasing his onetime ace and
psychological nemesis, Jim Palmer. "I probably talk to Jim more
than anyone else on my teams," he says. Twenty years later Weaver
has finally acknowledged the soft spot in his heart for the man
who notched so many GPGs for the Orioles.
COLOR PHOTO: JAMES DRAKE (COVER)
COLOR PHOTO: BOB ROSATO
"If a pitcher throws 25 pitches in one inning," says Weaver,
"I'll turn the game off."