Watching the Baltimore Orioles play in the 1960s and 1970s was a pure athletic delight. One person stood out despite the presence of other stars.
Brooks Robinson, who died yesterday at 86, played third base like no other. Though slow afoot, he displayed incredible agility and reflexes that enabled him to scoop up ground balls and throw runners out in incomparable fashion.
His unparalleled magnificence filled Memorial Stadium with shrieks of glee and gasps of disbelief. His universal acclaim constantly drew modest “aw shucks”reactions from the Little Rock, Ark. native.
Surrounded by Orioles stars like Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer and Dave McNally, “Brooksie,” as he was affectionately called, provided spectators with their own highlight reels. Could anyone else perform the miracles he did at third base?
No. He was an All-Star for 18 years and first-round entry in the baseball Hall of Fame.
Like the Baltimore Colts’ great quarterback, Johnny Unitas, Robinson became a beloved figure in his adopted city of Baltimore. Both were friendly and approachable.
Today’s version of Major League Baseball lacks a genuine player and gentleman like Brooks Robinson. His fielding acrobatics had few peers.