The afternoon wears on. Orr is drinking beer after beer and is showing no effects whatever. If the Chicago Black Hawks cannot knock him down, neither can Michelob.
"See that bartender?" Orr says to a visitor. "That's Tommy Maher. Watch out or he'll hit you for a five-or 10-dollar bill. A few weeks later you'll get a note from the cancer ward of some children's hospital thanking you for helping them get a color TV. He's always selling my equipment. I gave him my skates; he auctioned them off for $1,000 for a youth center. Now he wants my shirt and my sticks."
Late in the afternoon Orr and the philanthropic bartender retire to a corner table. "What're they doing?" someone asks.
"They're working out their charity deals," a Bruin player answers. "They're figuring where they can do the most with what they've got."
An unbelieving observer slides over to see what he can hear. "Get me all the tickets you can," Maher is saying. ""I can get $54 for expansion-game tickets and $116 for regular. When they find out it's for the youth center they get the dough up fast." The two men are talking sotto voce, as though planning a bank job. "Another thing," Maher says, "this year I can get $5,000 for the skates. You just decide where you want it to go." The last thing the observer hears is Orr telling Maher, "No, Tommy, you're wrong about that one. I think we get a better deal from the nun...."
"He is entirely unmotivated by any personal desire for money," says Alan Eagleson. "If he doesn't want to do something he won't do it no matter what the money. I have him on an allowance of about $20,000 a year, and he kicks back maybe half of it unused. He makes a quarter of a million a year off the ice—endorsements and private deals and things—and I'm not saying how much on the ice. He'll be a millionaire in a few years, and he couldn't care less."
In a crassly materialistic society it almost requires the use of hallucinogenic drugs to comprehend Bobby Orr and his relationship to money, things, possessions. In the world of sport, where so many people are willing to sell their souls for 50¢ and a genuine simulated Leatherette wallet, Bobby Orr is sui generis. If, for example, you were to walk into Orr's high-rise luxury apartment overlooking Boston's Back Bay and Beacon Hill and hand him the keys and the title to a brand-new $20,000 Lamborghini sports coupe, Orr most likely would say thank you and hand them back. He already has more luxury cars than he needs—and they cost him nothing. He drives a blue Cadillac Eldorado, allows friends to drive another freebie car that is replaced each year with a new model, and his father drives still a third, a fancy station wagon. Snowmobile companies line up for the honor of giving the Orr family of Parry Sound, Ontario half a dozen of the latest models each year. A furrier insisted that Orr take a full-length mink coat as a gift, "but I chickened out on that one," Orr recalls. His consuming passion is anonymity. "That mink coat wouldn't have helped at all," he says, laughing.
The ease with which Orr turns dollars is probably unmatched in sport; certainly it is unmatched in the mid-range sport called hockey. Bobby Orr Enterprises Ltd., a Canadian corporation, sails blithely upward toward the multimillion level, and the only fingers that Orr must lift to earn most of the money are raised in his normal role as a hockey player. His most recent deal, for an unannounced but large sum, requires him to play golf with a few important people two or three times a year and show up at the company's Christmas party. Nothing more. Another company gave him $10,000 for doing two radio commercials and making a single appearance. He has deals with Yardley of London, Bic Pens, General Motors, General Foods and others. He owns all or part of a hockey camp, a car wash, apartment projects, various common stocks, a farm, a condominium in Florida. A picture book about him, Orr on Ice, was expected to sell 5,000 copies; it sold 30,000 copies in the first three weeks and will probably top out at around the 100,000 mark. He has been offered $15,000 in advance for a book to be called Dear Bobby: Children's Letters to Bobby Orr, a literary motif that has heretofore been restricted to God, Santa and Art Linkletter.
"All of this is going on around him, and he doesn't give a damn," says Eagleson. "He'll think nothing of carrying $20,000 worth of checks for five months. He gave me a check last June that he's had in his wallet since Jan. 18. It was for $11,000. I think one reason for this is that a part of him doesn't want to have this kind of money because it sets him apart from his teammates, and that's the one thing he hates the most in the world. That's the one thing he'll fight you about, if you set him up as something apart from the team. He's the best team man there ever was."
It is 4:30 in the afternoon, and the night game at the grimy old Boston Garden will not begin until 8, but Robert Gordon Orr is already lounging on a bed in the Bruins' training room. "Hey," he says to no one in particular, "can a girl know you for two days and be in love with you?"