Recently Met Manager Gil Hodges has platooned Weis at second base with left-handed hitter Ken Boswell. Even though Weis batted only .215 this year, Hodges has great confidence in him. He permitted Weis to bat in a crucial situation in a game against the Chicago Cubs in July and Weis hit his first home run in a year to beat the Cubs. Against the Orioles on Sunday Weis came to bat with two out in the top of the ninth, runners at first and third and the score tied 1-1. Choking up on the bat handle he lined Dave McNally's first pitch over shortstop to drive in Ed Charles with the winning run. "Imagine that," Weis said. "I thought I might help win a Series game with my glove. I never thought I would win one with my bat."
Koosman overpowered the Orioles until the ninth when, after two were out, he walked Frank Robinson and Boog Powell. This brought Brooks to the plate again, but for once he did not produce a miracle. Ron Taylor, in relief of Koosman, got him on a hot grounder to third to end the tense game.
Even with the loss, for Brooks Robinson and the Orioles the weekend was something of a success. Among other things, it relieved any number of frustrations and soothed several tempers.
In fact, all Baltimore had been working up a good mad-on against New York for quite awhile. It was not the Mets they were angry with, although Rod Gaspar was not winning any popularity polls. But Brooks and his friends had this vendetta against the fun-city syndrome—New York, money, publicity, endorsements, politicians, the Jets beating the Colts, the Knicks beating the Bullets, and finally that thing people have been referring to over and over again as the Mets' mystique. "I think," Brooks said, "you could say that Baltimore and the Orioles both have been overlooked pretty much by the people in New York."
The Orioles were less than amused when they read that the governor of New York had poured cocktails for the Mets in his Fifth Avenue apartment overlooking Central Park. They seldom cheered when they saw the Mets' pitchers in a particular hair-tonic commercial. They burned when Frank Robinson was introduced on The Johnny Carson Show as " Frank Robinson of the Baltimore Colts." And they burned some more when Robinson was practically ignored on the Carson show while Tom Seaver of the Mets was treated like Bob Hope.
Most of all, though, they resented all that imported foolishness about the Mets being a "team of destiny" in the World Series. "The Mets haven't got any patent on The Man," snarled Earl Weaver, the Baltimore manager. "The Man looked down on us, too—109 times this year, nine times more than the Mets. We must've had some desire."
Frank Lane, the great trader who now works in the Oriole front office, did admit shortly before the Series began that he considered the Mets a team of destiny even if his co-workers did not. "The Mets," he said, "are destined to finish second in this Series."
Every time the New York syndrome mentioned the six "great" pitchers on the Met staff, all of whom the syndrome will enshrine in Cooperstown next week, Weaver countered with a stream of nonos, followed by, "We've got 10 great pitchers on this staff. Who in hell do these people think we are, anyway?"
Well, who are the Orioles, anyway? For a start, there is Brooks Robinson, whom the players call "Head," because his hairline seems to recede another inch every day. They could just as readily have called him Head because he always seems to be using his. Invariably in the right position at the right time, he is, simply, the best third baseman in baseball, and he may be the best who ever played the position. He is the strong, silent type, the solid man on a very solid club who leads Baltimore with his performances—not his mouth. As George Kell, a superior third baseman himself not too many years ago, said last week, "If Brooksie had played in New York all these years, he'd already be in the Hall of Fame."
Brooks Robinson came out of Little Rock, Ark. as an 18-year-old with the fastest hands in the Southwest, and today he still wears cowboy boots. "Baseball is the only thing I have ever done in my life," he says, "and it is the only thing I have ever loved." For a long time Robinson expected that he would return to Arkansas when he was through playing. But now he has settled in Baltimore and established himself as one of the community's leading citizens. He raises funds for charities and is the most popular after-dinner speaker in the area. "I learned after a few years of public speaking that the best way to capture an audience is to make yourself the butt of the joke," he says. Robinson has an interest in a Baltimore restaurant but happily he does not plan to be a Toots Shor when he quits baseball "eight or nine years" from now. He does not want to manage or coach—that would not be consistent with his character—and he feels he would be happiest working full time at the sporting goods store that he owns in Baltimore.