Tap-In Question: On his 80th birthday, what's your favorite Brooks Robinson story? - BaltimoreBaseball.com

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Tap-In Question: On his 80th birthday, what’s your favorite Brooks Robinson story?

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

Let’s take a break from Orioles’ issues in the Tap Room for a day. Let’s forget about shaky bullpens and reserve catchers and too many strikeouts and short starts by the rotation.

I hope this topic isn’t too old for some of you. But I’m not sure how it can be. Because Brooks Calbert Robinson transcended generations. You didn’t have to see him live to appreciate his greatness.

The Hall of Fame third baseman played 2,896 regular season games – all with the Orioles – from 1955 to 1977.

I didn’t really start watching the Orioles as a young boy until about 1975 or 1976. The heroes of my childhood were those late 1970s/early 1980s teams.

Yet, if pressed to answer who is my favorite baseball player of all time, I’d probably answer, “Brooks.”

Not only for his exploits on the field, but what kind of person and role model he is. And what he has meant to the Orioles’ organization and baseball in general throughout his lifetime.

That lifetime reaches 80 years today – Ol’ Brooksie is 80 years old.

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And I figured we’d celebrate that milestone with 80-cent fake beers and real stories about you and Brooks Robinson. You know, the guy in Baltimore people named their children after.

Everyone has a story. My personal one is that I met him when I was 2 at a signing at the Crown gas station in my neighborhood. I don’t remember it, of course, but I still have the picture – it’s grainy and aqua blue now, much of the color has faded – but it is still pretty cool to me.

My favorite overall Brooks’ story is one I wrote earlier this year about a dear friend of mine and her Brooks Robinson connection. I saw Brooks a few months ago and he made a point of telling me how much he enjoyed that piece. That’s the kind of guy he is.

So, let’s explore that concept today.

The floor is yours.

Give me your best Brooks Robinson story on his 80th birthday.

Tap-In Question: What’s your best Brooks Robinson story?

39 Comments

39 Comments

  1. Ben1

    May 18, 2017 at 7:24 am

    my favorite story is … Brooks Robinson was and is an Oriole.

  2. aresef

    May 18, 2017 at 7:45 am

    The photo of him with all the Gold Gloves, not all of them were his. When he got the call about the photo, he asked for a little bit of time–he lent out so many he couldn’t scrounge all of his together. Google that photo and take a closer look. You’ll a number of the trophies in the photo ain’t his.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2017 at 10:01 am

      Yeah, I vaguely remember that. I think he let some of them be auctioned for charity.

  3. tfconway

    May 18, 2017 at 8:58 am

    My 15-year-old son is a huge Brooks fan, as am I. We went to Cooperstown together to see Brooks play in the inaugural Father’s Day classic game in 2009. A bunch of HoFers, including Brooks and Bob Feller, played. My then 8-year-old and I got to see Brooks come out and take his position at 3rd. His ready stance was still the one you see on his statue at Camden Yards. It was like time stopped for a moment.
    Fast forward to this year – my son just earned his Eagle Scout award. We sent letters to many of the Orioles, and the HoFers, to see if they would send a congratulatory note. Cal sent a pre-printed certificate, which was great. Brooks sent an Eagle Scout card, with a nice, hand-written note in it. He’s still the best!

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2017 at 10:02 am

      That’s the kind of story I’m talking about. He believes in the hand-written notes. So cool.

  4. marcshank

    May 18, 2017 at 8:58 am

    It was a hot Sunday afternoon. Brooks had already established himself as the best third baseman in baseball. So when an easily playable ground ball was hit to him, it looked like a ho-hum play. He effortlessly booted the ball as it bounced off of his glove into left field. He ran over and picked it up, holding the man at first. The funny part was the crowd. They started laughing. I mean a collective thing: Brooks Robinson blew an easy one. It was as if they shared the humor of the situation, knowing it would probably be a decade or so before that kind of thing happened again.

  5. Mike1966

    May 18, 2017 at 9:02 am

    It was 1976. The end of HOF career was in sight. The afternoon of the Orioles last home game of the season I grabbed my 8 year old son and said: we have to be there for what is probably Brooks’ last game in Baltimore. It was a cool September night. There were less than 8000 in their seats. When Brooks came up for his last at bat the crowd rose to their feet and a spontaneous chant of “Thank You Brooks” began. It turned out it was not his last game but the moment inspired the next season’s capacity crowd at Thank You Brooks Day. If we’re allowed a second great moment it was his pinch hit home in April of 1977 before he graciously stepped aside for Doug Decinces.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2017 at 10:03 am

      Very cool. I was at TBD and my godparents gave me an audio cassette of that night. I still have the cassette. Have no idea if it works.

  6. Bancells Moustache

    May 18, 2017 at 9:02 am

    Unfortunately I am too young to have seen Brooks play. All I have is tall tales from the old timers, many thumbed through “Great Moments in Baseball” type coffee table books, and a VHS copy of “Greatest Sports Legends: Brooks Robinson” (hosted by George Plimpton, no less) that Mr. Oriole was gracious enough to sign for me. That was at the opening of All Star Jeep and Eagle on Rte 50 in Easton back in 1989 or so. As nice a gentlemen as you would want to meet. I remember it was real treat because Eddie Murray was there as well, though Eddie was his normal, silent badass self (I’m pretty sure the statue in centerfield isn’t a statue at all, but Eddie himself and everyone is just scared to talk to him). Pretty cool being a kid and thinking ‘Brooks Robinson knows my NAME!’

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2017 at 10:04 am

      Yep. Amazing how some people have that effect on people.

  7. Boog Robinson Robinson

    May 18, 2017 at 10:12 am

    I’m old enough to remember Brooks, however I can’t say I had the pleasure of watching him play that many times. I saw him maybe a half dozen games in Fenway Park. I’ve never lived in Bal’more, and there were no MASN or MLB network in the 70s. If I was lucky, maybe they’d be on the NBC Saturday game of the week with Kurt Gowdy and Tony Kubek.

    I became an O’s fan listening to them lose to the ’60 Mets on Armed Forces Radio in Baumholder Germany as a 10 year old while wearing an O’s uniform in little league.

    #1 memory on my list was the 1st time I ever actually saw Brooks on TV in the 1970 World Series. Most vividly, I remember the play where he snared a grounder by Lee May, and threw him out at 1st by an eyelash. I had never seen anything like it before.

    #2 memory (not really a memory) … I love the iconic picture of him jumping what seemed to be 5 feet into the air and into the waiting arms of Dave McNally after winning the ’66 series. The boy had hops!!

    And although, I never had a son of my own … “Brooks” was the 1st of a line of Oriole names that I’ve used for my family dogs over the years. Brooks had the best paws on a Beagle I’ve ever seen!!

    Bartender! Since the fake beers on sale for 80 cents, a round for the house on me!

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2017 at 10:34 am

      Really wish I could have seen that 1970 World Series. Palmer always says that Brooks made those plays constantly, but this time it was on the biggest stage for all to see.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 18, 2017 at 11:07 am

        Watch out Dan … you’re sounding like a fan again. Hah!

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 18, 2017 at 11:05 am

      Correction … the ’69 Mets of course.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2017 at 11:35 am

      Hush your mouth. :). Hey I was a fan back then. Not gonna deny my roots.

  8. mhaulsee

    May 18, 2017 at 10:44 am

    my company put stairs and rails in his house and his kids house. and he never paid us for them then meeting him a alstar game fan fest and asking him to sign a check for me instead of a baseball

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2017 at 11:08 am

      That’s pretty funny. Did he sign the check?

  9. Steve Cockey

    May 18, 2017 at 10:48 am

    I’m unfortunately too young to have remembered Brooks’ playing days. But my first memory of him is probably saving up money as a youngster to buy my Dad an autographed Brooks picture being sold in a shop at our local mall. I still remember seeing it hanging on the wall in the shop and going in with my Mom to make the purchase. It’s still hanging in my Dad’s basement to this day.

  10. RaveOnEd

    May 18, 2017 at 10:51 am

    My favorite story will be a longer version of what I tweeted to the Orioles. I live just outside Philadelphia, and was a season ticket holder for the minor league Camden Riversharks in New Jersey,

    Anyway, at some point, a new ownership group purchased the team, along with helping to start two other teams, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs and the York Revolution.

    To commemorate the event, the Riversharks had a Brooks Robinson night, where he threw out the first pitch and also had an opportunity to purchase a ticket in a suite to see the game, as well as meet and get an autograph from Brooks!

    My father and I got tickets right away, and when the night came I brought a baseball to have him sign. It was a gorgeous night, weather was perfect.

    After Brooks threw out the first pitch, he came up to the suite and said hello to everyone. He signed autographs and talked with everyone as if he knew all of us for years!

    The best part came after everyone got their autographs and some time with Brooks: he stayed in the suite to have some food and watch the game! Even better: one of the only available spots to sit was right next to my father and I!

    Getting to sit, have dinner and watch a baseball game with the best third baseman in the game was surreal. Just having conversation, talking about the game going on and hearing his stories that night was my greatest baseball moment. It will never be topped.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2017 at 11:10 am

      I still live in York, where Brooks made his pro debut and was part of the AL ownership team here. He comes up on occasion and I’ve heard a version of this from several here. He seems to genuinely care about talking to fans.

  11. Jray5k

    May 18, 2017 at 10:56 am

    I’m 38. I never saw him play. But I had a personalized autographed poster of him hanging on the wall of my childhood bedroom. My parents got it from him somehow and hung it up for their baseball-crazed son.
    I didn’t know who he really was.
    But I read a Brooks biography in fourth grade.
    And then I knew. And the poster stayed up.
    I once got in a crowded elevator at Camden Yards to go to a press conference for his All-Star game. The doors were about to close when Brooks snuck in.
    The awed mortals didn’t know what to do. We were in an elevator with a legend. Do we talk? What do we say?
    The silence broke.
    “Hey, how’s everybody doing today?” Brooks asked.
    We were great.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2017 at 11:10 am

      Yep. Another cool one.

  12. 5brooks5

    May 18, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    It was in Cooperstown, the year Earl was inducted. My son and I were eating dinner at the hotel where we were staying, along with countless HOF’ers. In walks Brooks and his wife ,and they were seated nearby. He walked over to greet a man seated right next to us….. Bob Feller. Well, my son ,who was about ten kept grinning and repeating, 16 Gold Gloves over and over to me throughout our meal. We didn”t speak to Brooks, didn’t ask for an autograph, we didn’t need to. IT WAS BROOKS,RIGHT NEXT TO US. We both still remember that day and always will, his smile meant it all. Dan, by the way that little boy is now your partner in this site!

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      Well, how about that. Great, great story. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Mike1966

    May 18, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    I remember the Baltimore Sun story about how every day as Brooks drove down Loch Raven Blvd to Memorial Stadium he’d toot his horn and wave to an individual who sat outside a group home all day waving to passing cars. One day Brooks noticed he was missing. He immediately turned around and went inside to inquire about his health. After visiting and wishing him well Brooks continued on to his game never mentioning the story. It was the staff who called the Sun. We all loved him for his play but we love him more for being a truly nice man. Happy Birthday Brooks! Thanks for the memories.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      Great one, Mike. Thanks.

  14. bill-s

    May 18, 2017 at 2:49 pm

    Like RaveOnEd, my story is a longer version of my reply to the Orioles tweet. In February, 1967 I was a senior at City College, across the street from Memorial Stadium. Due to overcrowding, we were on split schedules, and seniors’ classes were done at noon. I was able to get a job doing office duties in the Orioles office from February until I left late in the season to start college.

    On my first day at work, a lot of the players were around to pack up their stuff for spring training. During the afternoon as I headed up the main hallway, Brooks Robinson was walking down the hall right toward me. I was much too shy to say anything. I just stared and kept going. By a crazy coincidence, the next afternoon the same thing happened. This time Brooks stopped and said, “Didn’t I see you here yesterday?” “Yes,” I told him. “I will be working in the office this season.” So he replied, “Well, welcome to the team. My name is Brooks Robinson. What’s your name?”

    Whenever I am asked about my job that summer or about the players, that’s the story I repeat. Fifty years later, it still speaks volumes about the man.

    • Steve Cockey

      May 18, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      What a great story. Thanks for sharing, Bill.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2017 at 11:48 pm

      Seconded.

  15. Teejay

    May 18, 2017 at 5:38 pm

    Geez Dan my favorite Brooks story? Do you want me to start alphabetically or chronologically? You and I both have ties to York so you know what he means to that town! Every time I’ve ever spoken to him when I was a kid growing up and he was signing autographs at The Queensgate Shopping Center or more recently when I see him at a Revs game he always ALWAYS talks to you like you’re an old friend, better yet let me ask my son Brooks Stewart Flenniken what his favorite story is??

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2017 at 11:49 pm

      Forget about candy bars, right? Sons.

  16. brooks.pryor

    May 18, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    As you can see I was named after the great Brooks Robinson. I used to hate my odd sounding name when I was little (I am 36 now) until I actual learned about who I was named for as I got older. A true class act and someone everyone can look up to. I finally met him in person at a signing last year, and he was so gracious, talking to us for 5 minutes and being so kind. I treasure the picture I have of myself, my dad and Brooksie. I am proud to share his name.

    • Dan Connolly

      May 18, 2017 at 11:49 pm

      Very, very cool. Thanks for sharing.

      • Tessiebird

        May 20, 2017 at 5:18 pm

        I remember when Brooks’ wife , Connie, gave birth to their daughter, they named her Diana with ‘Agnes’ for her middle name…this was in honor of one of Oriole announcer, Chuck Thompson’s on air expressions ….Whenever an Oriole hit a home run he would excitedly declare, “Go to war Miss Agnes!”…the other expression that I recall was ‘Ain’t the beer cold ?’…I am glad they chose Agnes over Beer…LOL

        • Mike1966

          May 20, 2017 at 5:37 pm

          I once asked Chuck (Mr favorite announcer) about the “Go to War Miss Agnes” phrase. He said his favorite announcer, growing up in Reading, PA, would always say this during Chuck’s WW II youth. He told me he quit using it during the Vietnam War as he felt it was inappropriate. Although he never quit saying: Ain’t the Beer Cold! Chuck Thompson – a HOF member.

  17. Liss

    June 1, 2017 at 8:11 pm

    o:

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