Orioles Card "O" the Day

An intersection of two of my passions: baseball cards and the Baltimore Orioles. Updated daily?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Vintage Fridays: Brooks Robinson, 1966 Topps #390

I've been saving this card for a special occasion, and today is pretty special. First of all, it marks one month since I started this blog. I've managed to post one card each day, which for me is pretty impressive. Maybe I can finally take the question mark off of my blog description at the top of the page.

But I also launched my website today: NumerOlogy. For the better part of a year, I've been researching uniform numbers. I wanted to figure out just who wore which numbers for the Orioles, and when they wore them. I'm sure I've missed some here or there, but overall I'm pretty pleased with what I have. I spent most of today fighting with WordPress (I am not terribly tech-savvy), and I'll probably revisit it later. For now, I just wanted to get the site up. Feel free to check it out and offer me your thoughts.

In the meantime, let's talk about this card. I bought it at a card show at a local mall in 1994 or 1995, and for years it was the oldest card in my collection and my only card of Brooks. I kept it prominently displayed in my room. About four years ago, I was a senior in college when I found out that Brooks Robinson was coming to my school.

The baseball team was holding a fundraiser: there would be an "fireside chat" with Brooks and Tony Bruno, and then #5 would answer a few questions from the crowd. Afterward, there was a luncheon and silent auction, and Brooks made himself available for autographs. It was a no-brainer for me; how many chances do you get to meet one of the greatest Orioles players of all time? So I paid my $15 (I signed up too late to get a lunch ticket) and pocketed my baseball card.

During the chat, Brooks was as warm and folksy as you'd probably imagine. He talked about a wide variety of topics, from his two-hit debut against the Senators in 1955 ("I called my parents and told them, 'this is easy!' " Of course, those would be Brooks' only two hits that season.) to his love of fishing to the sad state of the contemporary O's (he said that Peter Angelos' biggest mistake was letting Mike Mussina and Rafael Palmeiro leave town). He talked for at least an hour, and I probably could have listened to him for much longer.

Upon arriving at the lounge for the second portion of the event, I put my jacket down and headed straight for the autograph line. After all, I couldn't afford to bid on anything and I couldn't have lunch. When I finally got to the head of the line, Brooks greeted me with a smile as I handed him the card. He asked me my name, and told me I was looking good. It seemed like an odd thing to say, but I wasn't about to turn down a compliment from a man with 16 Gold Gloves. He took a look at the card and immediately identified the venue as Yankee Stadium. After signing the card, he shook my hand and wished me well, and I left feeling like a million bucks.

I met one of my heroes, and I didn't even have to leave campus.


Steve Gierman said...

Very cool card and an AWESOME site!

Fleerfan said...

Kevin - Great story. Brooks is the nicest ballplayer you'll ever meet. I've met him 2 times. The first time I had my picture taken with him, and the next time I brought that very picture to get autographed a number of years later.

I've read a number of accounts from fans who say the same thing - Brooks is a class act all the way. We Oriole fans are spoiled to have such a great ambassador for the sport.

William said...

My parents met Brooks Robinson when his son played football at Millersville University [Lancaster, PA]. Apparently he was just sitting in the stands watching and my parents recognized him.

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