It appears all Jacobs is selling are tickets

Bill Tanton d

August 08, 1991|By Bill Tanton

One of the "secrets" in Baltimore that Brooks Robinson mentioned on TV is the sale of the Orioles, about which we've heard precious little lately.

Is owner Eli Jacobs still selling the club?

If he is, who's buying it?

And what has become of Baltimore native Boogie Weinglass and his interest in buying the ballclub?

News on all this is almost non-existent, since the owner is not discussing it with the media. But there are people in baseball with a desire to know the answers to these questions -- club owners and operators, offices of the commissioner and league presidents, investors.

Someone from one of those categories said this week:

"From what I hear, he's not selling it right now. They say he's so close to moving into the new ballpark at this point that he's going to stick around to take the bows when that opens."

And, it might be added, to make the money. With increased ticket prices and a draw of 3 million likely next year at Camden Yards, the Orioles are going to be a money machine.

As for Weinglass, the pony-tailed owner of Merry-Go-Round and other stores, the word is that he's out of the picture.

In fact, Weinglass' brother Jack, who has never left Baltimore (Boogie lives in Aspen nine months of the year), is telling friends that the ballclub's owner is not even returning Boogie's phone calls.

* If Jacobs does hang on to the club for another year chances are the O's will sign Glenn Davis.

If Davis had remained healthy and had a good year, the bidding for his services would have been intense -- maybe too intense for the O's. But, after sitting out a year, a question mark like Davis will hardly inspire other owners to offer more than the $3.2 million he is earning with the Orioles.

* With the Blast and the Major Soccer League in their usual mid-summer state of crisis, lovers of the world's, though not America's, most popular game -- soccer -- would do well to turn their attention to Washington this Saturday.

The Maryland Bays will play the San Francisco Blackhawks there at RFK Stadium at 6 p.m. The game will be a rematch of last year's American Professional Soccer League championship game, which was won by the Bays. The Bays are billing this one as the game of the year.

* Some people whose minds are on basketball 365 days a year are saying that Maryland's 6-foot-8 Walt Williams, now playing for the U.S. in the Pan American Games, could be an NBA lottery pick next year.

Here's some dialogue from a conversation this week between two hoop fanatics on the subject of Williams:

First Fan -- "Walt has always been a player you could project as a lottery pick. He's a big guy who can handle the ball like a little guy. It's not that he's improved so much. He's just being showcased better."

Second Fan -- "He couldn't have been showcased any worse. Maryland wasn't even allowed on TV last year. He'll be a George Gervin-type player in the pros."

* Almost invariably a team or a school, when asked who was its greatest player ever, will say something wishy-washy like, "It's impossible to compare players from different eras." No one wants to offend past stars needlessly.

The University of North Carolina is a notable exception. Say the Tar Heels in their new football media guide: " . . . it is undeniably safe to say that the greatest all-round football player ever to wear Carolina Blue was Charlie 'Choo-Choo' Justice."

Choo-Choo, who played at Chapel Hill from 1946-49, was a 17-year-old halfback for the Bainbridge (Md.) Naval Station during World War II. He starred on a service team that had ex-pro and college standouts. At UNC he led the school to three major bowls. In 1948 Carolina was No. 1 in the nation one week, then wound up No. 3, the highest finish in the school's history. Oldtimers can remember Justice leading the Heels to a win over a then up-and-coming University of Maryland at Washington's old Griffith Stadium in '48. I admire Carolina for its dedication to a player most of today's fans never saw.

* The antithesis of that is Penn State's Joe Paterno. Says Scott Fitzkee, who was a star receiver for the Nittany Lions, the Philadelphia Eagles, and finally the Baltimore Stars of the USFL:

"When I played for Joe, he said I had the best hands of any receiver he'd ever had. Since then, he's had four other guys he said had the best hands he's ever coached."

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