He had no idea, however, that it would include a history lesson.
You probably know the story by now, since it’s starting to gain national attention. Orioles manager Buck Showalter saw Hart walking down a hallway and challenged the kid to identify the man standing beside him. Hart had no idea that Showalter was walking out the door with Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who had been invited to address the team earlier in the day.
Showalter introduced them and gave Hart a homework assignment. Write a one-page paper on Robinson and have it on his desk within 24 hours. E-mails were not allowed.
The intent was to educate Hart, not punish him.
“I wasn’t nervous at all, but I knew he was serious,” Hart said this afternoon. “He’s a serious man. He takes his job as strictly business and I respect that. Whatever he says, it’s done, and that’s a big plus. You’ve got to show him respect all the way.
“I took it as, I figured it was a compliment that he wanted me to do research. (Robinson) played for the Orioles and played in four World Series. That’s just history down the line.”
Hart, the Orioles’ supplemental pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Parkview High School in Lilburn, Ga., finished the paper yesterday, way ahead of Showalter’s deadline. It remains in his possession because he spent today at the Twin Lakes Park complex.
Hart found out the day before that he would work out at the major league camp. He wasn’t present for Robinson’s talk in the clubhouse, “but I’m pretty sure there was vital information,” he said.
Gathering information on Robinson’s career proved to be a simple task.
“He’s all over the place. His name is worldwide,” Hart said. “Google and Wikipedia helped me a lot.”
Hart wasn’t completely oblivious to Robinson’s accomplishments. He just needed more facts.
“I knew he was a Hall of Famer, but specifically, I didn’t know anything about him, but I did my research and he’s accomplished a lot,” Hart said. “To be a manager and player at the same time, a 14-time All-Star, win Most Valuable Player in the National League and American League, that’s an accomplishment. That’s walking proof that he’s legendary.”
Hart doesn’t know when he’ll be invited back to the major league camp, but he’ll have his homework assignment ready for Showalter.
“The next time I see him, that paper is going on his desk,” Hart said. “As soon as I walk in.”