In the 1970s, when female reporters were first allowed in baseball locker rooms, I was leaving Earl Weaver’s office one night after his smart, sarcastic postmortem of a tough Orioles defeat. I realized that the only woman on the beat, a relative newcomer, had missed Weaver’s performance.
Entering his office as we all left, she looked worried. Weaver dressed down reporters for dumb questions and at times demanded what you would have done — and why — before he would give his own answer. His office was sometimes a funny place, but also electric with tension: Baseball spoken here.
Eavesdropping is a clubhouse sin. But I wanted to see how cruel Weaver might be. To that point, I’d never met anyone in baseball with much grasp that a female journalist had every right to be there.
“So,” said Weaver, businesslike, “do you want it all or just the highlights?” And he started repeating his best answers as she wrote.
Earl Weaver died early Saturday at 82. Whatever you think he was, you’re right.