There he was on Saturday, sliding on his knees to finish off another strike. There he was, shaking his fist in triumph. There he was, puffing on Winston Lights between frames and. later that night, downing Jacks. Weber is simply a classic one-of-the-guys type of guy—except for that wondrous talent for knocking down tenpins with a 16-pound ball. Then he is way beyond every other guy.
Never was that talent more evident than last week at the Riviera Lanes, just outside Akron. Weber had only two scary moments. One came in the eighth frame of his match against Roth. Weber got a nasty 5-7 split, and his lead was in jeopardy. So all he did was convert the spare, by moving over three boards, while keeping the same aiming mark. Why? "Because I remembered that's what Dad always told me to do," he says. Ah, yes, as Burton, who like his dad is a Hall of Famer, says, "Breeding counts a lot, too."
The other frantic moment came in the second frame of his deciding game with Murtishaw, who, like Weber, is a high-school dropout and, also like Weber, did most every drug he could lay his hands on as a kid. Weber threw one adrenaline-aided ball far too hard. It never grabbed the lane and got only six pins. His second ball was far too soft and got only two pins.
An open frame can be shattering. Weber stared at the pins and mumbled to them, "I'm not going to let you do this to me." The pins succumbed. All of them fell the next five times Weber rolled, and that was the end of Murtishaw, who had only one strike in the first seven frames. Final score: 222-190.
The personalities of the two bowlers couldn't be more dissimilar. Does Murtishaw consider himself a great bowler?
"No, no," he said. "I'm a journeyman who just plugs along." Indeed, last week's five finalists had won a total of 59 PBA titles. Murtishaw could claim only one of them.
Does he have goals?
"Sure. To make enough money to stay on the tour." Murtishaw turned pro eight years ago, but before last week he could afford to bowl full-time only in 1980 and '84. He figures it costs him $800 a week to remain on the road with his wife and baby—and that's if they sleep cheap and eat cheaper. Thanks to last week's $28,000 check, which raised his career earnings to $130,937, he will have money enough to remain on the tour through this year.
Meanwhile, back at the bar, Weber is asked if he expects to dominate the tour in the future. "I'm dominating it now," he says.