Having Brooks Robinson back at Camden Yards on Saturday eulogizing former Orioles manager Earl Weaver wasn't necessarily a somber occasion. In fact, leading into Saturday's "Celebration of Earl," many fans were telling me they were most looking forward to having the chance to see, listen to, perhaps even meet Robinson.
That's the Brooks effect. His mere presence makes wherever he is, whatever is happening a little more special and a lot more enjoyable. He's a civic treasure, to be sure.
When I was a kid, getting an autograph from Robinson wasn't that hard. He signed virtually every game I ever attended at Memorial Stadium and was a pillar of the O's community relations efforts, making a variety of appearances on behalf of the club.
In recent years, however, Brooks hasn't been as visible as he once was. Some much publicized health issues are one reason. That he's 75 and just not able to keep up the same demanding schedule is another. But there's still a twinkle in his eye when he connects with his public, whether a happy occasion like his statue dedication last September or a more serious one like the Weaver remembrance on Saturday.
Every fan of The Human Vacuum Cleaner has a remembrance of Brooks - a special moment, a favorite play, perhaps even a conversation shared. And Bruce Markusen of The Harball Times is just like every other. His ode to Brooks was published last week and is worth a read. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.