Brooks Robinson is about to enter another Hall of Fame

Orioles great Brooks Robinson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983 after a brilliant career that included 16 Gold Gloves and the MVP Award for the 1970 World Series.

Brooks Robinson third base.jpgNow Brooks is getting another award closer to his home for more than 50 years. He is one of seven new members of the the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame. The new inductees will enter officially during a ceremony Nov. 12 at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.

The state's official Hall of Fame began in 1956 with Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx in the inaugural class. For years, inductees had to be native Marylanders. But in 2012, the bylaws were amended to allow former stars from local pro teams to be inducted as adopted Marylanders if the former athletes stayed and contributed in the community.

Former Colts greats Johnny Unitas, Artie Donovan and Lenny Moore have entered the state hall in the last few years. Now Robinson joins that group.

Others members of the Class of 2015:
* Dr. Delverne "Del" Dressel, a former Johns Hopkins lacrosse star.
* Kevin Glover, former University of Maryland football star who played in the NFL for 15 seasons.
* John Mackey, former Baltimore Colts tight end and NFL Hall of Famer who died in July 2011.
* Tom McMillen, former Terps basketball star who played in the NBA for 13 seasons and is a former U.S. congressman.
* Jeff Pyles, former duckpin bowling great, who was once ranked No. 1 in the world.
* Bernard Williams, two-time Olympian in track and field who won a gold medal in 2000 in the 4x100 meters relay.

The John Steadman Lifetime Achievement Award this year will be presented to longtime Baltimore Blast owner Ed Hale and former University of Maryland sports information director Jack Zane.

At a press conference yesterday at Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards, it was clear that Robinson considers this a prestigious honor.

"I was not born in Maryland, but feel like a Marylander," he said. "I was born in Little Rock, Ark., but I came here even before they started this Hall. I came here in '55. I started living here year round in 1960 and have been here ever since.

"The Maryland Hall of Fame has some great athletes. You know, I played longer with one team than anyone in the history of baseball along with Carl Yastrzemski. He played 23 full seasons with the Red Sox and I played parts of 23 with the Orioles. To be going into this Hall of Fame is wonderful.

"Maybe I should have retired sooner. I saw in 1976 Frank Robinson and Hank Aaron retire. I knew if I retired then, I'd never go in the Hall of Fame," Robinson said as the room erupted in laughter. "I had a wonderful time playing here, it just could not have been better."

Brooks was asked to talk further about what it meant to him to play his entire career as an Oriole.

"It just presented me so many opportunities," he said. "After I retired, I did the games on television from 1978 through 1993. You know, the other day I tried to figure out my entire salary for 23 years. What do you think I came up with? A million three ($1.3 million). But I had the most fun and players today deserve everything they can get. I think the players and owners now are happier than they've ever been."

Brooks reflected on his time playing for the Orioles when O's players became close friends with players from the Colts.

"When I moved to Lutherville, John Unitas and I had backyards about 200 yards apart," Robinson said. "His kids and my kids were friends. We loved the Colts. John is my favorite guy. My favorite picture at home is one from Memorial Stadium. I'm throwing the baseball and he is throwing a football.

"In 1960, we started to get pretty good and finally Frank came over here in '66 and made us better than everyone else. This town deserves two teams that are doing well."

Brooks added that he enjoys how the current O's management of vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter embrace the Orioles proud past and history.

"Buck really understands that," Robinson said. "He tries to impress on those guys just how good we were when we played. We won because we were a team playing together. They asked me to speak last year before they played the Tigers (in the playoffs), which I was honored to do.

"I told the guys, 'You never forget it if you win a world championship.' Every guy on that team, you never forget them. You think about them and you get a big smile as you remember one or two things that happened during the year."

Brooks was reminded that when it comes to winning that World Series, the O's have not done so since 1983.

"We're due," he said.

For more information on the Maryland Sports Hall of Fame or to purchase tickets for the event in November, click here.

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