Charles asked if I agreed with him that there is too muchovercoaching in Little League and also if I could pick one thought for a
defensive player to have before the ball is hit.
Charles, there is probably too much over coaching in Little League Baseball. I think it’s best if the kids just go out there and play. You wanted me to pick one thought to have before the ball is hit ? I’d have to pick 2 thoughts:
- Number #1 ? Concentrate. There’s a lot of concentration that goes into being a good infielder. We always hear about the concentration needed for hitting. I think the same is true in the infield. You have to watch that hitter swing the bat and what it comes down to is being able to get a jump on the ball that?s hit. You have to have that concentration.
- Number #2 – Keep that glove on the ground. When I signed in 1955 the Orioles said "hey that guy can field but there’s one thing we’d like him to do ? try to get his glove down a little quicker." When you get a line on the ball and it’s coming to you on the ground get your glove down. You can come up if it takes a bad hop. You can come up a lot faster than you can go down. So, keep that glove on the ground.
Two great examples of players that kept their gloves down are Alan Trammell and Mark Belanger. Alan is a perfect guy fielding ground balls. He just flops that glove on the ground. Mark Belanger, a guy I played with, god rest his soul ? he passed away at an early age ? just put that glove down and let it come to him. Most of the balls that Little Leaguers missed (and most of the balls that Brooks Robinson missed) were for one reason ? they didn’t have the glove low enough.
BROADCASTING THE O?S:
Keith K recalls his trip to watch the O’s at Yankee Stadium in 1980 and sending a note to the broadcast booth to have me say a hello to his grandfather in Baltimore.
Keith, my broadcasting career ran from 1978-1993. My youngest child got married in 1993 and it was just a time for me to slow down. That’s exactly what I did. I
always enjoyed the fans at the different ballparks. Regardless of where we went, there were always Oriole fans. We did our best to get their notes back to their loved ones or friends back in Baltimore. Sometimes you get a little overwhelmed and couldn’t get them all on because the game might be a good game ? and that’s great for the Orioles. I did the best I could.
Tom, thank you for your comment here. I appreciate your kind words about me as a
third baseman. I always tell people, "Whoever you want to be the Greatest
is the Greatest." Who is the Greatest Boxing Heavyweight Champion of the
world? It’s whoever you want it to be. I think that’s the way I look at
baseball. You can make a case for a lot of guys.
As far as Ron Santo, he is one of my favorite all-time third
basemen. There is no doubt in my mind that he should be in the Baseball Hall of
Fame. When you put his stats in there with all of the other third basemen, he’s
a Hall of Famer. Consequently, I think that he probably got squeezed. When I
was the MVP in the 1970 World Series, that was a springboard for me getting
into the Hall of Fame. Of course, the Cubbies never reached the World Series
while Ron was playing. Plus, I think a lot of writers say, "We have three
guys off that 1969 team — Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Ernie Banks —
and we’re not going to put anyone else on that team in the Hall of Fame simply
because they never won."
Ron went 15 years in the Baseball Hall of Fame regular phase
and never got the 75 percent he needed to get into the Hall of Fame. He’s in
the Veteran’s Group now and we voted twice and he’s never attained 75 percent
of that vote. There are a little over 80 players that vote and you still have
to get 75 percent of that vote. I’ve voted for him the last two times (we vote
every other year). He’s the first guy I voted for in the last two ballots. He
has given so much to the Cubs and Chicago and has had a lot of trauma in his
life. Anyway, as far as I’m concerned, I think he’s going to get in the next
time we vote and that’s going to be in 2007 — that’s my prediction!
Kgaver, I did attend a banquet this week. I received the
Louis V. Kerber Patriotism Award for Citizenship. It was a wonderful day. Jim
Palmer was one of my presenters. He did a great job. I had a couple of my
friends say a few words. I had my family there and it could not have been
nicer. Louis Kerber came up with the National Flag Day Foundation many years
ago and I was on the Board of Directors at one time (www.flagday.org). On Flag
Day, June 14, we all stop to say the Pledge of Allegiance. I called a lot of
the Major League teams to ask them to stand up on that day and sing the Star
Spangled Banner. In Baltimore, it is really important because this is where
Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner nearly 200 years ago. Anyway,
it was a great day. Lou Kerber is one of my favorite guys. The flag is a
wonderful symbol — not only does it recognize an opportunity to have a great
life here in the United States but many other things as well.
Thanks for reading and please be sure to visit my official site at brooksrobinson.com for more!
I can?t believe it?s been 50 years since I broke intoprofessional baseball. Sometimes it
seems like I never even played. Then
again, I?ll be watching television and someone will make a great play and
they?ll say ?hey, that?s a Brooks Robinson play? and I?ll get all excited and I
think ? yeah I did use to do that!
Anyway, it?s been great. I enjoyed every minute of playing almost 23 years professionally and
then doing the television for 16 years. I couldn?t be happier with my life and the way things are going.
I vividly remember September 17th. We had finished the season at York, PA. They called me up to the majors. One of the reasons I signed with the Orioles
was because of Paul Richards. When I
signed in 1955, he told me that the O?s had just come in the league in 1954 and
he sold me on the fact that if I had some ability I?d have the chance to play
early in my career because they didn?t have a lot of good players. Here I am 18 years old and he tells me I?m
going to play 3rd base that day after being recalled from York. Not that I was suppose to – I think Kal Segrist was the third baseman and
I think he fell down in the tub the night before. All of a sudden Paul Richards
told me I was starting at third base.
I got 2 hits that day and knocked in a big run. I?m thinking ? 2 for 4 my first day and I
knocked in a big run and we beat the Senators 3-1. I got my first hit off Chuck Stobbs. I remember running back to the Southern Hotel
where I was staying. I called my Mom and
Dad: ?Guess what, I just played my first
game and got 2 hits – man this is my cup
of tea. I don?t know why I was in the
minor leagues this year.? Well I think I
went 0-18 the next 18 times at bat and struck out about 10 times. So I knew these guys were way ahead of me and
if I was going to perpetuate my stay in the big leagues, I knew it was going to
take a lot of work.
Kellia thinks that if the All Star Game is going to decide
home field advantage for the World Series then the best players should be
I agree with Kellia. If they are going to put such
importance on an All Star Game that will dictate who is going to get the home
field advantage in the World Series, I think you should pick the best
players. I do think that having home
field advantage is a big advantage since you?ll get 4 games to 3. I think home field in baseball is pretty important. I agree with you. I think the best players in the league should
be the ones that come to the game not necessarily one from each team.
JOHNNY BENCH/1970 WORLD SERIES
Bruce asked if Johnny Bench had any comment to give me after I caught his line drive during the 1970 World Series. Yeah, Johnny Bench gives me a hard time every time I see him because of the 1970 World Series. At the 1971 All-Star Game, he hit a one-hop line drive to me and I lunged out and caught it and threw it to first base. Before he could get out of the batter’s box, he threw his bat in the air and I think I reminded him of the 1970 World Series. He was a great player and he certainly had his days in the World Series and throughout his career. They just converted the "1970: Year of the Birds" onto a CD. It is narrated by Chuck Thompson and Bill O?Donnell. I have some autographed copies available on my website at brooksrobinson.com.
SAFE OR OUT?
Bruce also asks about the picture of me and Mickey Mantle at second base and whether he was safe or out. Really, I don’t remember. I always write "Out" when I sign it and Mickey always signed it "Safe." The umpire was Nestor Chylak — who is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. For the life of me, I don’t know if he was out or safe.
Larry from York, Pa., asks on my MLBlog comments if York can build a stadium and survive financially. I don’t think that there is any doubt the York area can support a team. Look at what has happened in Lancaster. It’s been amazing over there — 6,700 on Opening Day on May 11. They have been drawing great crowds. You have to look at it this way — it is a great way to bring a community together. The ballpark will be the largest gathering place for the community in the York area. That’s what it’s all about — family outings and kids. The biggest thing is that they found a location on Arch Street and I think it is going to be great. I’ve seen how the stadium is going to look if it gets built and I think it is going to come to fruition.
If it happens to be independent league baseball — that’s fine, too. Fans are going to see good baseball. I’d say that 95 percent of the people who come to the ballpark come for the entertainment. With Minor Leagues, the price is right. I think it is an outing for the whole family.
THE HUMAN VACUUM CLEANER
Kevin asks about a photo he has called The Human Vacuum Cleaner. That is a unique way to sign something. Lee May of the Cincinnati Reds said after the 1970 World Series, "Man, that guy is like a human vacuum cleaner down there." I get many requests to sign "Human Vacuum Cleaner." It took me a while to learn how to spell vacuum. I do sign a lot of photos like that. If you have one, I believe it is authentic. You can find various signed memorabilia through my official site at brooksrobinson.com.
BECKY ON RAFAEL PALMEIRO
Becky says that Raffy has been maybe the most consistent player in the league during his tenure. Becky, I think he may have had a little help, too.
Needless to say, Rafael Palmeiro has disappointed all of us — myself, his team, the fans and baseball in particular. Jose Canseco’s book is looking better all the time. Now we also know the steroid that Palmeiro took. It is all starting to fit together. In May, they were talking about releasing Palmeiro for not hitting and all of a sudden he just got it back together and started hitting and now we discovered that he has tested positive for steroids.<p>
For me, the weakest answer he could have provided is that "I did not knowingly ever take steroids." My suggestion to him is not only to come clean with Congress but also to come clean with the public. There is no reason he can’t come clean. He would not be violating any confidentiality policy. Major League Baseball and the Players Association can’t say a thing. Obviously someone leaked it from somewhere and that’s too bad, but I don’t think we would have ever known if it was not disclosed.
I understand there are two Bills in Congress — one by Jim Bunning and one by John McCain. It looks like this is going to come to fruition one of these days when Congress is going to set the law for steroids and they’ll be a lot tougher than they are now. Ten days is not the right number of days. I’m thinking if Congress does it, the penalty will be two years for the first offense and a lifetime ban for the second offense.
Palmeiro owes the fans an explanation. Stanozolol is something you can’t buy over the counter so Palmeiro’s argument gets even weaker. You have to know what you put in your body. I’m getting tired of hearing people say they didn’t knowingly put anything into their body. That’s the weakest answer.
If there is another side of the story, then we, the public, would sure like to know it in a hurry. There are a lot of disappointed Hall of Famers.
My wife Connie and I left Cooperstown and drove to Traverse City, where I’m doing an appearance for Ernst & Young. Ernst & Young sponsors the Baseball As America traveling exhibit. The exhibit goes to 12 different cities. It started in New York a couple years ago and has traveled to such places as the Smithsonian and this year to St. Louis and Houston. It goes to Oakland next, and it will be coming to the Detroit area in March. This is a wonderful exhibit and anyone in the area should visit it. It talks about everything that has happened in baseball for the last 100 years. Ernst &Young has been a wonderful supporter of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
After Traverse City, I’ll be on my way to Detroit for a family wedding. In the meantime, I look forward to reading more of your comments here on my MLBlog, and please be sure to visit my official website at brooksrobinson.com to see what’s over there.
What a tremendous feat! Only three other players in the history of the game achieved 3,000 hits and 500 home runs: Eddie Murray, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. To accomplish this, you need to have consistency, hard work, determination and good health. Raffy did it! Certainly, he will be in the Hall of Fame. I like the way he goes about his work — no publicity, quiet and unassuming. This has got to be the quietest accomplishment I’ve ever seen. He really started to come on strong as the O’s progressed during the season. Congratulations!
DODGERS AND THE 1966 WORLD SERIES
I enjoy hearing from baseball fans. Syxx8 asked me about my hitting experiences at Dodger Stadium and my first World Series in 1966. Well I can tell you, the 1966 World Series was my favorite moment of all. That’s when we won the World Series for the first time. We were close in 1960 and 1964 but didn’t quite make it. But in 1966 we did make it. Frank Robinson came over from Cincinnati and that put us over the hump. But Dodger Stadium — that was exciting. We were playing The Dodgers with Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. The only player on our team who had any experience was Frank Robinson in 1961. Then, to hit a home run in my first at-bat — that was exciting — back-to-back with Frank Robinson. He hit one then I hit one. That was probably the biggest moment of the whole World Series simply because that gave us a little momentum and made us feel like we could win. The Dodgers didn’t play very well. They had the lowest team batting for a losing team and we had the lowest team batting average for a winning team in World Series history. In the last 3 games, the Dodgers didn’t score.
It was a big thrill. I’ll never forget hitting that home run. Dodger stadium was a pitcher’s park but it didn’t make and difference wherever Koufax or Drysdale pitched whether it was a hitter’s park or a pitcher’s park — they were great pitchers.
ALL-STAR GAME MEMORIES
John asked about my experiences from the All-Star Games. Well, I just came from Detroit where the All-Star Game was this year. I remember playing in the All Star Game there in 1971. I hold the record for playing on the most losing All Star teams of any player in major league history. I didn’t win too many. 1971 was one of our victories. There were 20 players off those two teams that went to the HOF along with 2 managers. So, I thought that was a pretty good All Star Game. I happened to be the first player in 1966 to be picked MVP from a losing team. We lost in extra innings out in St. Louis.
It always was a thrill to me to get together with the players I played against like Mickey Mantle, Carl Yastrzemski and Al Kaline and just have a great time and be relaxed and try to win an All-Star Game.
It was very competitive when I played. It was one league against the other and you wanted to show what league was the best. I think the National League was better because they started signing the African American players earlier — like Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente and Ernie Banks. They turned out to be very talented and great players. The game had gotten away from the competition and it became more of a Hollywood production. But now home field advantage does mean a lot. Just look at the Red Sox last year. So I’m glad to see an emphasis on winning again.
Nick from Northern York asked me if I’ve ever been to Dillsburg. I sure have. My first year, I was 18 years old and I came to York, Pennsylvania to play for the White Roses. It was a thrill. I still have a lot of great friends from that team that live in the area and I talk to them every now and then. York couldn’t have been a better place to start my first year in professional baseball. I had a wonderful manager in George Staller. He was the one who moved me from second to third base. He thought third base would be better for me.
I’m looking for York, PA to get a Minor League team. I think it is going to happen and I think it’s going to happen in the next couple of years. York needs baseball. I think you can see what happened in Lancaster (www.lancasterbarnstormers.com). It’s been a wonderful success. Families and kids have a ball. That’s what minor league baseball is all about.
Tom, it’s great to hear from you. I’ve always enjoyed the fans more than anything else. In my early days with the Orioles I tried to answer all my mail. I had a couple ladies at the Orioles that helped me send out postcards and pictures and I’m glad you still treasure that postcard. I do appreciate it. The fans have brought my kindness back tenfold for me. I walk downtown now and someone will yell, "Brooks, you signed my ball in 1970." I worked for the O’s in 1960, 1961 and 1962. I was going to about 4 banquets a week and earning $125/week. It was an unusual time. I had just gotten married and I was looking for a job. I really enjoyed it because I got a change to meet the fans.
The O’s have had a great first half and are getting off to a good start in the second half. I think it’s going to be like this all year. You have a guy like Miguel Tejada — what a tremendous player he is. He’s the spiritual leader of that team. Of course, when we started winning ball games and getting into the World Series back in 1966, Frank Robinson came over and just by the way he played on the field carried us over the top. So I think Tejada can do the same thing. They have a great team and I don’t see anyone running away and hiding. I do have a feeling the Wild Card team is going to come out of another division. Our division is very competitive. One of the teams will have to win the division to get in the playoffs.
Don’t forget to visit my official site at brooksrobinson.com!
To Maysw: Thanks for your comment here asking me about my days on Channel 2 with Scott Garceau and Chuck Thompson and wishing I were around more.
Well, I am around most of the time. I’m always going to a golf tournament or doing something. I follow the Birds mostly on TV. I get to about four or five games a year down at Camden Yards. I see Boog and **** Hall a lot and I’ll see Palmer next month at the Hall of Fame. Since I play in a lot of golf tournaments, I see Paul Blair and Al Bumbry and a few of the other guys I played with.
We all miss Chuck. He was the greatest. He helped me immensely during my broadcast years. When you worked with the best it made you better. He was the greatest. Scott is still broadcasting games and I run into him now and then.
Thinking about gloves
John, you’ll have to agree that it’s a great exhibit. This tour is sponsored by Ernst &Young. It has been great for the Baseball Hall Of Fame. It started as a 10-city tour and they’ve decided to add 2 more cities. I’ve been at the grand opening for 2 or 3 of them. It’s been great for baseball. If you are a fan of the game, you’ll enjoy the exhibit. It’s been a very popular exhibit all around the country.
John also asked about "being in the zone" when it comes to fielding and asked me if that was the case during the 1970 World Series. You do hear a lot of talk about being in the zone, especially when it comes to hitting. But then again, defense always gets overlooked in every sport.
To be in a zone when it comes to fielding, a lot of things have to come into play. You might play a whole series and not get a ball hit to you. But going into that series Mark Belanger and I knew we would get a lot of work on that side. The Reds had righties like Lee May, Johnny Bench, and Tony Perez. We had two lefties, Mike Cuellar and Dave McNally. Palmer had a great fastball and threw a change and a slow curve ball.
The thing no one remembers about that series is that the first ball hit to me was a 24 hopper by Woody Woodard. I made a high throw to Boog for an error. I’m thinking?. here I go again! After that it was like I was in the zone. I had the plays and made them. The more you make the more you want the ball come to you. In that particular World Series, every game I had an opportunity to make and outstanding play. I played almost 23 years of professional baseball and I don’t think I ever had 5 games in a row like that. It was a once in a 5 game series and it just happened to be the World Series.
Earl’s probably out golfing
Michael posted a comment about the last game in Memorial Stadium and asked me about my good friend Earl Weaver. Michael, I think the ceremony marking the last game at Memorial Stadium was one of the greatest days in Baltimore history. I get more comments about that day then any other. To see the greats go out on the field — the guys who contributed to the history of the Orioles — I had a tear in my eye, too. When they played the "Field of Dreams" music, it was like Icing on the Cake.
I see Earl four or five times a year. He’s mellowed. All he’s worried about now is breaking 90 on the golf course. I’ll see him in Cooperstown and at the All-Star Game in Detroit. We get to chat a lot. He is doing great. He lives in Florida and still has a daughter here in Baltimore so he gets up here from time to time.
What I’m up to
I’ll be heading to Detroit later this week for the All-Star Game. I’ll be spending some time with my son and daughter-in-law who live in Detroit. My wife is from there so we’ll be seeing a lot of family.
The last time Detroit hosted the All-Star Game was in 1971. There were 20 guys off those two teams plus two managers that went into the Baseball Hall Of Fame. I don’t know if that’s a record but it has to be close. After the All Star Game, I’ll head to Charlotte, NC to throw out the first pitch at a Charlotte Knights baseball game then I’m off to Myrtle Beach to visit my son and daughter-in-law and do a corporate appearance for the folks at Kraft Nabisco. You can always log onto my website at brooksrobinson.com to check out unique auction items and upcoming appearances. I’m looking forward to blogging again soon.
HARTMANJC asked me if I would have Scott Boras as my agent:
I played baseball for 23 years and had 23 one-year contracts. I could never have any one help me negotiate my contracts — you know who won that battle, the owners.
Back when I was young, if I were looking for an agent, I think I would have had several people helping me in Arkansas deciding who would be my agent, especially my Dad. When players first started to have agents, anyone could be an agent. There were a lot of unscrupulous agents out there. But almost all of those have been weeded out and what you see now are guys who help players in the long run. Boras would be one of guys I would interview or have my Dad interview but there are a lot of other good agents who might suit my personality.
Certainly Scott Boras gets some great contracts but there are many other agents that get great contracts, too. I think that the object is to start playing. Sometimes Boras’ clients have been helped by holding out and sometimes it has hurt them. Kids shouldn’t go right to the big leagues. There is a lot to learn in the minor leagues. You’re going from playing 50-60 games a year to playing 160 or so.
In my day, if you got more than $4,000 you were a bonus player and you had to go directly to the Major Leagues for two years. The owners kind of penalized themselves for giving the player all that money. I have never seen a kid come out of high school, other than a pitcher, who was ready to play in the Majors. You’re just inexperienced.
THOUGHTS FROM PENNSYLVANIA
Bruce asked if I remembered him and if I was going to be back in Pennsylvania now that I don’t do work for Best Chevrolet. Bruce, of course I remember you and Little Brooks! I worked with Best Chevrolet for many years. Since they sold their company I am now affiliated with Anderson Automotive Group in Baltimore. I bought my first car there 50 years ago when I came to Baltimore.
I’m sure I’ll be back to your area. I just made a visit to Ollie’s Bargain Outlet in York, PA. I’m in the Lancaster area a fair amount going to Lancaster Barnstormers games. They have a beautiful new stadium and a good tea. I feel very confident that York, PA is going to get a new ballpark also. It would be a tremendous value to the City of York…at least that’s my opinion. They need to be back in baseball. I made my professional debut in York, PA in 1955 as an 18 year old. I have many friends there. There is always something happening there. Check out my schedule on brooksrobinson.com for the next time I’ll be there.
Dgator97 asked when I’d be in Orlando. I did an appearance several months ago in Orlando. I don’t have anything on the schedule at this point. Thanks for thinking of me.
John asked about today’s third basemen: I chatted last week about Scott Rolen and Eric Chavez. I think Alex Rodriquez is one of the best players in the American League. I also think Melvin Mora here in Baltimore is coming into his own and has been a great player the last two years. He’s improved defensively and has become an outstanding hitter.
On Thursday, I hosted a press conference for the Brooks Robinson High School All Star Game. This is the 24th year we’ve had the game. It’s for all seniors over the state of Maryland. They are chosen by their coaches and participate in a tryout. If they make the team, they compete against each other in two squads — the North and South. They will be playing against each other July 10 after the Boston Red Sox Game at Camden Yards. My longtime friend, Joe Geier, sponsors the game.
It’s been an honor to me to see some of these kids to play in the game to go on to bigger and better things — like Mark Teixeira of the Texas Rangers and Gavin Floyd of the Philadelphia Phillies.
I’m in Homestead, Va., this weekend for the Sheetz’ Convenience Stores’ Golf Tournament to benefit children’s charities. Next Sunday, my good friend Boog Powell and I will be at Tidewater Sports in Norfolk, Va., then I head off to St. Louis for Al Hrabosky’s Charity Golf Tournament.
Chat with you soon. Brooks