Frank Robinson had a busy afternoon at Camden Yards. Between the unveiling of his statue in left-center field today and before an on-field ceremony before tonight’s game he spent some time at a press conference and talked about today’s honor.
“Since this is going to be a lifetime thing as far as the statue is concerned, it ranks right up there with the Hall of Fame,” Robinson said. “It is a tremendous honor, it’s something you don’t think about and when you hear about it and that they are going to do it for you, it takes a while for it to absorb.
“He did a tremendous job, he even made me look good. That is a tremendous job. I was very surprised how well it came out.
“I felt all right going up there until they unveiled it and pulled the cover off of it. Then I was really taken aback, really. I’ve seen other statues and things that didn’t look like the individual, not close to what they were or what they looked like. This almost looked like I was standing up there myself, just about. He did a tremendous job.
“I saw it once when it was in wax in the beginning. And I didn’t want to see it anymore. And I am glad I didn’t. And I’m just very happy and very proud to have that honor bestowed on me by the Orioles.”
Robinson was asked about the trade in December of 1965 that sent him from Cincinnati to the Orioles.
“It’s not that I didn’t want to come, I had no choice. What it was, I was just crushed, crushed, remember that was the organization I signed with, Cincinnati,” Robinson said. “It took me about three days to get over it but once I was over it, I was ready to go. I was happy to come here and I was happy I did come here.
“This was the perfect fit for me here, in this city, with this team, this organization and the players we had here and the players that came after that.”
Robinson talked about how close those great Orioles teams were from 1966 through 1971.
“That’s one thing about this game of baseball, it’s the friends that you make. The people that you meet and come in contact with and the friendships that you make in this game. And with the players here, we had a friendship. We don’t see each other a lot. But when we do it’s like we haven’t missed a beat, that’s how much we respect each other and think about each other.
“We were a team. Pittsburgh may have coined the phrase ‘We are family,’ but we were family before that, throughout. I couldn’t have scripted the first year here any better than what it was. That’s Hollywood stuff is what happened here. That’s winning the pennant, that’s sweeping the Dodgers, that’s winning the Triple Crown, MVP. I couldn’t think about that, that’s fantasy stuff,” he said.