Brooks Robinson, who played his entire 23-year career with the Baltimore Orioles, has passed away of natural causes. He was 86.
His career was extraordinary. A reputation as perhaps the best defensive third baseman ever to play the game, nicknamed "Hoover" because he vacuumed up anything hit in his general direction. An 18-time All Star. Sixteen consecutive Gold Gloves. Four American League pennants and two World Championships. MVP of the 1970 World Series. A career total of 2,848 hits and 268 home runs. And, of course, election to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
In a lovely piece in this morning's Washington Post, sportswriter Dave Sheinin points out that Robinson was a good and decent man, kind to fans, humble about his celebrity, and available to all. "If you lived in Baltimore and never shook Brooksie’s hand, it’s because you never tried," he writes.
And, he quotes another sportswriter, R. Gordon Beard, who wrote in 1977 that while a candy bar was named for New York Yankees star Reggie Jackson, in Baltimore, “We name our children for him.”
"Celebrity is not the same as decency," Sheinin writes, "and not every hero is worthy of memorializing with something as personal and eternal as a child’s name — but Baltimore Orioles legend Brooks Robinson, who died Tuesday at 86, absolutely was."