At noon today in the newly-coined “Brooks Robinson Plaza” (across from Camden Yards, between the stadium and Pickles Pub) an event took place that was long, long overdue. The Orioles’ great and Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson had a simply massive statue of him dedicated before a crowd that spilled out into the street.
Hosted by 105.7’s Scott Garceau it was a full-fledged event featuring remarks from Governor Martin O’Malley, Senator Barbara Mikulski, a representative from the Mayor’s office (Mayor Rawlings-Blake was unfortunately unable to attend the festivities today), Baltimore native and Emmy-nominated actor Josh Charles and of course from local artist and sculptor of the work Joseph Sheppard.
The statue stands nine feet tall as it depicts Robinson in the motion of throwing to first base. The location is appropriate, if the west wall of the stadium were not there Brooks would appear to be about to throw directly to first base as the statue was positioned with the location of first and third in mind. While on the subject of gold gloves, in honor of Robinson’s insane 16-straight awards his glove is finished in gold leaf. The pedestal of granite features delicate engravings of Robinson’s name and number as well as a very nice section that gives a brief biographical sketch of his accomplishments.
After the statue was unveiled “Mr. Oriole” got up to speak for himself. Robinson looks good for his 74 years but you can hear his age in his voice. More than a couple times he was overcome with emotion and had to stop while fans of every generation cheered him on. Robinson was not intending to sign any memorabilia today, but of course the generous man that he is he took the time to sign as much as he could. The crowd flooded around him as he tried to make his way to the awaiting town-car. I have never been much of an autograph hound, but I attempted to get a piece of classic swag signed by the great. I came close but walked away empty-handed. I’m sorry but I just don’t have it in me to shove a binder in front of a kind old man’s face without so much as a hello or a please and just expect him to sign it. Even so, being close to the great and getting a smile and a wave was nice enough.
The afternoon was cool with high gray clouds in the sky and a great Oriole and man was honored today. Brooks Robinson made the Orioles the legendary organization that it hopes to be again one day. He was our Mantle, our Yaz, our Williams, our DiMaggio. But he was bettern than all of those, he meant everything to the Orioles and in a way still means everything to the city of Baltimore.