Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Something else you won't believe, Brooks

OK, so nobody's interested in how I weaved together '54 Bowman, the Boys of Summer, the Queen of Rock 'n' Roll, and a romanticized communist terrorist movement. I think we need a few more history buffs in the audience.

Here is a more straightforward story, then. I need to get this out of the way before the day is done.

Today is Brooks Robinson's birthday. He is 73 years old. A year ago, he was battling prostate cancer, but he says he's doing fine now. I'm glad to hear it.

Today is also my littlest brother's birthday. He happens to be a lifelong Orioles fan. Naturally, he was a big Brooks Robinson fan as a kid, although he was too young to see Robinson play.

At some point in the early 1980s, my brothers and I walked to a card show that was near our house. The big baseball guest at the show was Brooks Robinson. He would be there to sign autographs and my brother took something for Robinson to sign.

It was the first time for any of us to see a major leaguer up close and get an autograph.

Robinson was pleasant to all of the people who lined up for an autograph. I don't remember the line being particularly long, and I do remember the majority of people in line being kids.

Finally it was my brother's turn (my other brother and I had no interest in Robinson's autograph. He was an Oriole, why would we want that?). My brother has always been a quiet and respectful person, but surprisingly he worked up the nerve to say something to Robinson.

"I have the same birthday as you, May 18th," he said.

Brooks smiled and looked at the guy he was with -- his handler or whoever he was. The guy smiled back and Brooks said, "Another one, huh?" And they chuckled.

That irked my brother, and he said something to the effect of "May 18th really is my birthday." Robinson laughed good naturally, signed whatever my brother provided for him to sign (I don't remember what), and my brother was on his way.

I don't think that made my brother think less of Robinson after that, but he did remember it for quite awhile. And, of course, I remember it, too. It's something players should be aware of when they interact with fans. Robinson, by every account I've ever read, is great with the fans, but fans will always remember a one-on-one encounter with a major leaguer. I'm proof of that.

Today, my brother has kids of his own and he still follows the Orioles -- that poor, poor man. He's got at least one daughter hooked on the Orioles and I'm sure by the time he's done, all of his kids won't like the Yankees. He does good work.

But here is something about my brother that even I can't believe. It's even more shocking than him sharing a birthdate with Brooks Robinson.

My brother-- my littlest, tiniest brother -- is 40 today.

And he's quite a bit taller than me.

Now that is downright unbelievable.


  1. Happy birthday to Brooks and your "little" brother.

    I agree that an encounter with a big league ballplayer leaves a lasting impression. I'm curious how my youngest son's interaction with Nelson Cruz last week will be remembered down the road.

  2. Great story.

    Unlike your family, I am the youngest AND shortest brother. Some people have all the luck...and then there's me...

  3. Wonderful story! My lil sister turns 40 next year. Ugh. I have 2 first cousins who are younger than me. They are both over 6 foot tall and both played NCAA basketball. I HATED them for it. They are still tall, but they are also bald. I am still short and my hair is graying, but it is all still present. Brooks is generally a friendly guy in my experience, but also in my experience-it seems when you have a REAL connection with a player, like a shared birthday, meeting them is always a disappointment... Great story Owl!