Orioles manager Buck Showalter began his afternoon press conference making a point to let everyone know that today is Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson’s 79th birthday.
“He’s as good of a person as he was a player,” said Showalter about the man once nicknamed “Mr. Oriole” as well as “The Human Vacuum Cleaner” for his defensive prowess. “And we know how good of a player he is. He just has a way of making people feel comfortable.”
Showalter, being Showalter, then went on to tell a great story about when he and his wife were looking to buy a house in Baltimore after he agreed to be manager in 2010.
Driving through a neighborhood in northern Baltimore County, Showalter saw Robinson and his wife, Connie, walking.
“I said, ‘That’s Brooks Robinson.’ So I stopped the car and said hello to him and he came over to the door and started talking about the team and everything” Showalter remembered. “Now, it started raining harder and harder. And his wife said, ‘Brooks we’ve got to go inside.’ And he goes, ‘Nah, don’t worry about it, I want to stay here and talk baseball.’ He stood there, in the pouring rain, talking about the Orioles. It was really cool. And I felt bad, so I got out of the car, standing out there (in the rain) with him.”
During the Orioles’ 2014 postseason run, Showalter asked Robinson to come talk to his team. Robinson obliged.
“There was not anywhere to go after that,” Showalter said.
Without Robinson’s knowledge, Showalter had a video montage put together of pictures of Robinson to show the team. It included a photo of the third baseman surrounded by his 16 Gold Gloves, still a record for position players.
While Robinson talked to those Orioles, a photo was taken, one that Showalter later had placed in the Orioles’ clubhouse.
“What I love about the picture was the look on everybody’s faces,” Showalter said. “That’s what came to mind when you’re asking me do the guys get (his significance). Yeah, they get it.”
Showalter didn’t buy a place in Robinson’s neighborhood, but he said he occasionally goes to a market where Robinson often gets a cup of coffee. And he always hopes to run into the Orioles’ legend there.
“I try to go in there and catch him when I can,” Showalter said. “He is so unassuming. You wouldn’t believe that he had accomplished (so much). The way he’s handled his success, it’s no surprise that he’s made a home here. He’s a treasure. He’s a treasure.”