Favorite Players — Past & Present

Rolen_1Justin Townsend asked who is my favorite player to watch today.  Well Justin, I do watch 4 or 5 players all the time.  I check out the box scores every day to see how they do.  One is third baseman Scott Rolen, who I think is really a terrific player offensively and defensively.  He?s had problems staying healthy.  Derek Jeter has really caught my eye the past couple years.  What a terrific player he is along with Alex Rodriquez.  I know these guys just to say hello to, so that?s probably why I like to watch them.

Musial2
My all time favorite certainly was Stan Musial, who I grew up idolizing.  I grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the Cardinals played an exhibition game there in Little Rock every year.  The Cardinal games were the only games we got on radio.   Stan Musial was my all time favorite, and getting to play against him in Spring Training and the All-Star Game made that just even better.

MY GLOVE
Jyoung asked me about what type glove I use.   I signed with Rawlings when I first started playing professionally, and I used a Rawlings glove my whole career.  I used different ones throughout my career.  I didn?t like them too big or too small.  I couldn?t use a large glove, because I got the ball lost in there a couple times.  I always preferred the H web because I could pull the strings tighter to make the pocket smaller.  If you had the one-piece web, the pocket seemed to get a little deeper every game that I used it.

WHAT I?M UP TO:
Campbellsfield_1
It?s been a busy summer filled with a lot of Minor League baseball.  Last weekend I attended a Camden (NJ) Riversharks game.  I threw out the first pitch, along with some beautiful rescue dogs from 9/11.  I can honestly say that it was the first time I ever participated in a first pitch ceremony with dogs.  It was a lot of fun.  The stadium is beautiful, and the Ben Franklin Bridge is the backdrop for centerfield.  I had a great time meeting the Minor League fans.

Next week I?m participating in the ground-breaking ceremony for the new stadium in York, PA.  The York Revolution of the Independent League will begin play there in 2007.  I began my professional career with the York White Roses in 1955.  York and their fans hold a special place in my heart.  I am thrilled that they are finally bringing baseball back to York.

You can always check out more information on www.brooksrobinson.com.  Thanks.

Minnie, a Rockwell and a big game

Minnie1951MINNIE MINOSO

Sorry I haven?t blogged in a while.  I was traveling quite a bit.  I did receive a question about why Minnie Minoso wasn?t chosen for the Hall of Fame this year.

I love Minnie Minoso. Minnie has been one of my favorite people. I see him about two or three times a year, usually at Legends Games or sports banquets. He is always looking great and doing great, just as in that 1951 picture to the right here. He was one terrific player. I think the reason he wasn?t voted in during the special election was the fact that he spent many years in the major leagues and has not been voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame through the regular process. 

The African American players being inducted this year played primarily in the Negro leagues and would have never had the chance to being inducted into the HOF through the normal channels.

WHAT I?VE BEEN UP TO

It was a very exciting week back here in Baltimore. I own the original Norman Rockwell print of ?Gee, Thanks Brooks.? My wife Connie and I are loaning this wonderful piece of artwork to the Geethanksbrooks
Maryland Science Center for a great exhibit: Rockwell?s America. The exhibit features many of the original Saturday Evening Post covers and other works of Norman Rockwell. The exhibit is interactive so you can sit in a WWII Jeep or at the soda counter that was reconstructed from an original cover. The Becker Group put together this traveling exhibit. I was there for the opening in Nashville. It went to Indianapolis and now it is in my adopted hometown of Baltimore. I?ll be there throughout the summer. You can always check my website at brooksrobinson.com to see when I?ll be there. 

BROOKS ROBINSON ALL-STAR GAME

I?m heading to a press conference today to announce the Maryland High School Seniors who will participate in the Brooks Robinson All-Star Game. Many of the seniors who participate in this game go oTexieranto major league careers. In the past few years Mark Teixeira (Rangers), Gavin Floyd (Phillies) and Mike O’Connor (Nationals) have all made it to the big leagues.

As always, please feel free to leave your comments and questions below.

Brooks

Happy Anniversary to MLBlogs

Congratulations to the MLBlogs community and MLB.com. It’s been a year since my friend Tommy Lasorda first logged on to mlblogs.com and entered his first blog. I joined in shortly thereafter and it’s been a lot of fun. I enjoy interacting with the fans who post comments. This is my 22nd post and I hope you enjoy it, too.

GLOVES

Luke posted a comment that asked how the early Major Leaguers managed to field with the gloves that had no webbing.

As far as I can remember, in the 1940s and 1950s, gloves were not that good. There was no lace in the fingers to keep them together. The gloves in the ’60s were pretty good. My first glove was a Bob Dillinger glove. Bob played for the St. Louis Browns.

I remember I had my picture taken with Home Run Baker at Memorial Stadium in 1957. He brought along the glove he used. I told him that there was no way I could play with that glove. And don’t forget that the fields weren’t as good.

WHAT I’M UP TO

I’ve been pretty busy this spring. On April 22, I’ll be in Secaucus, N.J. for a signing for MAB Celebrity Shows (www.mabcelebrity.com). They’ll have a lot of Gold Glove winners at the show, including Jim Kaat, who also has 16 Gold Gloves. On April 25, I’ll be in York, Pa., for the Press Conference announcing the new minor league stadium in York. I’m very excited about this. The people in York have been waiting for a stadium for a long time and it has special meaning to me since I started my professional career playing for the York White Roses. I’m a part of Keystone Baseball and we’ll own the minor league team that plays in the new stadium. Keystone Baseball also owns the minor league team that plays in Lancaster, Pa. The team in Lancaster has been a huge success. I’ll be at their Opening Night on April 28.

As always, you can check out my website at brooksrobinson.com for up-to-date information on upcoming appearances.

Game gloves

Glove_2People always ask me how often I changed gloves during my playing days. I switched gloves about every 2 1/2 years. Once I got a glove broken in, I used it until I couldn’t anymore. My game glove was used only during the game and not in practice. At practice, I would work on breaking in a new glove for the next time I needed to switch.

I look forward to hearing from you. Please leave your comments and questions right here, and visit my official site at brooksrobinson.com for much more!

The glove and voter love

The Baseball As America Exhibit now moves to Detroit from March 11 through Sept. 5, and Kellia from Oakland — which is where the Exhibit last stopped — left a comment here about whether my glove that is touring in that Exhibit seemed small by today?s standards.

BrooksstatphotoI?m glad you got to see the exhibit. It?s been a huge success for the Hall of Fame. Much appreciation goes to Ernst & Young, who is a sponsor of this traveling exhibit.

My glove was an average glove. I always felt my glove was the normal size. Not too big and not too small. Most outfielders seemed to use bigger gloves than I did at 3rd base. I didn?t want a large glove because I had a hard time getting the ball out of the glove sometimes. I?ve seen a lot of gloves a lot smaller than mine including Joe Morgan?s and Mark Belanger?s. I always asked them, ?How did you catch anything in that glove?? I always used the ?H? web because you could always pull the laces tighter if it started to give some.

You can see a better view of that glove I wore in this photo if you go to my official site at brooksrobinson.com and check out the authentic memorabilia, including that 16×20 signed stat photo. There is appearance/booking info on my site as well, hope you will stop by and say hi there anytime.

George Miller asked if the Hall of Fame has become too hard on the new candidates and if guys like Rice and Dawson are deserving:

First of all I do think the Baseball Hall of Fame is the toughest Hall of Fame to get into. When you have almost 500 writers voting, everyone has a different opinion as to who should and should not be inducted. It is quite controversial. Certainly Jim Rice dominated the American League for 10 years. Andre Dawson did the same thing in the National League. I?m surprised they haven?t gotten more support for the Hall of Fame. There are no set criteria for attaining the Hall of Fame – that is the reason there is so much controversy.

More on my friend Elrod

Elrod_2Kellia from Oakland, Calif., commented about seeing Elrod Hendricks.

I just wanted to say a few more words about my favorite player. He was really the heart and soul of the Orioles Organization and Community. This guy gave so much during his career. He came up n 1968 after being in Minor League Baseball for many years. He played for Earl Weaver in Puerto Rico when Earl was managing there and that?s where Earl got to know him. In 1967, Earl sent Frank Lane down to take a look at Elrod in the Mexican League and the Orioles ended up bringing him to Baltimore in 1968.

He was a wonderful guy and absolutely the most beloved Oriole of all-time. Not only in Baltimore, but everywhere we went to play, Elrod would be the first at park, the first one on the field, the first one to sign autographs and the first to pat some kid on the head. He was just a wonderful gentleman and we?re going to miss him.
 

Pete Rose

Pete2Mr. Carey, thank you for your comment on my recent post. You did make some very good points. My opinion is that as long as Bud Selig is Commissioner, Pete Rose will not be made eligible for the Hall of Fame. Pete signed a 5-page document that banned him from the game. Rumor has it that he signed because either there was still more to come out or that he had made a deal with Bart Giamatti to serve his time and then get back into the game in good standing.

To set the record straight, it was marijuana, not cocaine that was found in Ferguson Jenkins? suitcase when he entered Canada. And you were right when you said Gaylord Perry threw a spitter. I think both were punished somewhat by not receiving enough votes to enter the Hall of Fame right away.

Also, as far as signings are concerned, today?s players and former players really have no say where they sit during an autograph show. Pete really had nothing to do with the timing of his latest book. I know he did not want it to coincide with the Hall of Fame announcement but in this case the publisher ruled.

I am with Pete 3 or 4 times in a year and I enjoy it very much. If Pete flips over next year into the Veteran?s Group, which is made up of all 62 living Hall of Famers plus about 20 other broadcasters and writers, I am afraid that he will find very little support from that group also.

I believe that the fact that he cannot put on a uniform, coach, manage or tell a story hurts him more than attaining the Hall of Fame.

BATTING HELMET

I get many emails and whenever I do speaking engagements almost every question is: Why did I have a short brim? I think I was the only player that wore Brooksswingthe short brim in the Majors and I never realized it got that much attention until I left the game. But back in the early ?70s, the Commissioner?s Office made it mandatory for anyone coming into the big leagues to wear a flap on your hat. If you were already in Major League Baseball you had a choice whether to do that or not. Of course, I wanted to wear the flap because it gave me more protection. I had been hit 3 or 4 times in the head and so the more protection, the better for me. When I got the helmet with the flap and put it on, it seemed like the bill was a little longer than my normal hat. The flap was a little longer and consequently when I went up to hit I could see the brim and part of the flap. It made me lose my concentration. I took care of it by taking a hacksaw blade and cut off about 1 inches off the brim and about off the flap. That?s how I got my short brim.

BRUCE SUTTER

SutterI was very happy to see Bruce Sutter get into the Hall of Fame. I have watched his climb up the ladder as far as attaining the 75-percent vote to get in. Certainly his qualifications meet all the standards when you talk about his impact on the game, his statistics, his longevity and what he brings to the game. Somehow I think there are a lot of relievers that have been lumped into one group. What do you do with a guy like a Goose Gossage or Lee Smith? It?s nice to see a guy like Sutter attain it because he was certainly one of the premier relievers of his era. I?m happy to see him attain the Hall of Fame.

WHAT I?M UP TO

This week I?m at the Orioles Fantasy Camp. I?ve done the camp since I?ve retired in the ?70s. I have a lot of fun putting on the uniform and trying a little baseball.

Also, on Feb. 18, I?ll be in Southern Maryland. Peter Kirk?s group, Maryland Baseball, is behind building a stadium in that area and certainly Southern Maryland is going to be a great area for baseball. There are a lot of people there and great baseball fans. I?ve been to several of their meetings and they are very enthusiastic fans down there. Whether it ends up being Independent Baseball or Minor League Baseball, I?m sure it?s going to be a success. They?re having their FanFest from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. I?ll be there with my good friend Ron Hansen, who was Rookie of the Year when he played with the Orioles. A number of other players will be there also. You can check out their website for more details.

You can find out more about my appearance schedule and look for memorabilia and more by going to my official site at brooksrobinson.com.

Elrod Hendricks

Elrod_1We lost the most beloved Oriole of all time. Not only was Elrod Hendricks loved here in the Baltimore area, but all over the country. Every ballpark that we would go into, he?d be the first one on the field signing autographs and saying hello. It goes beyond the game of baseball. He was just a people person. Certainly, he was a big part of the success of the Oriole organization. My heart and thoughts go out to Merle and his children.

He has touched more lives in this town than anyone else. From 1968 to 2005, he was the Orioles’ Goodwill Ambassador. Even though it?s a sad day for all of us, I do have a big smile on my face when I think of Elrod.

He gave me so many laughs and so many wonderful moments during our years together.

Ellie_hendricks_1

Reminiscing about the 1970 World Series

Junktrunk2000 asked about the 1970 World Series: 

Brooks1970wsAll I can say is that I played in four World Series and the two we were suppose to win, we lost, and the two we were suppose to lose, we won.  With respect to the call on Bernie Carbo, certainly, that play at home did change the complexion of the game.  The Reds pitching staff was hurting at that time and we were able to take advantage of that.  What you might not know is that even though Cincinnati was called the Big Red Machine we actually scored more runs than they did during that 1970 season.  We had guys like Woodling, Elrod Hendricks and Boog that could put some runs on the board.  I do think we were a pretty good team.  I do think the 1969 team that lost to the Mets was better than the 1970 team.  You just never know. I just happened to be in the right spot in that series.  I tell people that I played 23 seasons and I never did have five games in a row like I did in that World Series.  As an infielder you can go a week or two and never get a chance to do something spectacular. In this series, every game I had a chance to do something outstanding defensively and I was hitting well, too.  It was a once in a lifetime five-game series for me and it just happened to be in a World Series.

Daniel, thanks for your question.   I really didn?t keep that much memorabilia early on in my career. The last year that I played was in 1977 and that?s when the memorabilia business was in the early stages.  I do have some things.  I have the uniform of the last year that I played, my glove, spikes and the 16 Gold Gloves that I won from 1960-75.  Overall, I did not keep much.   Some items that I did keep, I put on my website and 100% of the proceeds go to charity (www.brooksrobinson.com).  I kept some bats that I used in the All Star Games.  I never really was interested that much in memorabilia.  I have sons that are 44, 42, 41 and a daughter who is 37 and they were never really interested in it either.  What I feel bad about is that I never started collecting baseballs in 1983 when I joined the Hall of Fame.  I just wished I had balls from Cool Papa Bell, Joe Sewell, Ted Williams and Johnny Mize.   Thinking back on it now there are probably about 50 Hall of Famers that have passed away since I joined the Hall of Fame in 1983 and I just wished now that I would have started collecting back then.

WoodlingRichard, Gene Woodling is one of my all-time favorite guys – not only as a player but also as a coach.  Gene said something to me many years ago that certainly helped me with my career.  As a young 19- or 20-year old I got four hits in a game and I came into the clubhouse and I was happy jumping up and down.  Woodling came over and said ?Hey Kid, don?t get carried away when you?re full of bull.?  That told me one thing ?- be humble.  Keep an even keel if you are doing well or doing poorly.  There are 162 games so don?t get carried away about what you do in 1 game.  I remember that more than anything else in my career.  Gene Woodling passed away a few years ago.  When he came to the Orioles he had that little unorthodox  batting stance, feet close together and he was crouched down.  He used one of the heaviest bats I?ve every seen.  It had to be a 42-ounce bat.  I used a 32- or 33-ounce most of my career.  He used that big bat and he was a terrific player and he played on five World Championship teams with the Yankees.  He was one of my favorite guys.

What I?m Up To:

I?ll be signing Norman Rockwell ?Gee Thanks Brooks? Prints at the Ollie?s in Pasadena, Maryland on December 10th.  I?ll be helping Santa give out gifts to kids on December 17th in conjunction with the Maryland Transportation Authority Police.  I?ll be appearing at the TriStar Show in Marlborough, MA on December 18th (www.tristarproductions.com).  You can always check out my website for the latest appearance information (www.brooksrobinson.com). 

White Sox and Joe Crede

Credediving2_1

Congratulations to the White Sox ? World Series
Champions. Everyone keeps asking me what
I think about Joe Crede. I think Joe
Crede is probably like most of the White Sox players – not many had heard of
any of these guys before the World Series but after the Series people will be
looking at these guys and saying ?hey, those guys are terrific players.? Joe Crede is certainly one of those
players. I?ve been impressed with
him. He?s got a good short swing. He hits the ball to right field and left
field and makes some great plays in the field. After this series, everyone will know who Joe Crede is. He?s had a terrific post season and I wish him
the best.

 

WHAT I?M UP TO:

I was just in Bordentown, NJ for an appearance over the weekend. I?ll
be in Chantilly, Virginia for Collector?s Showcase (www.csashows.com) on November 6th
along with Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken. It should be a great time. I?m
doing a big signing for my website (www.brooksrobinson.com). I give the proceeds to charities. It is a great way to help with the requests I
get and makes everyone a winner. I have
a busy December planned, too. I?ll be
doing my annual Norman Rockwell appearances for Olllie?s Bargain Outlet (www.olliesbargainoutlet.com). You can always check my website for an update
on appearances.

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