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 For those who did not live in Baltimore in the 1960s, it is difficult to adequately explain the significance of Frank Robinson's arrival in Charm City in 1966. Sure, Brooks Robinson, in his MVP season practically carried the Orioles into the post-season, before the Yanks saw fit to destroy that dream in the 1964 season. The Colts were the sports team of Baltimore. They were one of the powers of the NFL. Johnny Unitas was so revered by boys under 13 that half of them sported the same crew cut that Unitas wore. The Colts were in. The Orioles? Well, it was a fun afternoon with your dad in the bleachers.

Frank changed that. He taught the Birds how to win. The clubhouse loosened up as the 31 year old would demonstrate that he wasn't over the hill, that the Reds made what may have been the second worst trade in baseball history. The 1966 season put his talents—defensive as well as offensive—on display. Back when the Grey Lady on 33rd Street was still standing, aka Memorial Stadium, there was a pennant on the outer rim of the building somewhere just behind about the middle of left field, flapping in the breeze. It was black, and on it was "HERE" in orange. That's all it said. Nothing about the 586 feet shot that Frank hit clear out of the park—the only ball ever hit outside of the Stadium.

Robinson's career was tied up with the Orioles well beyond his playing days. He was the Bird's manager during one of the worst season starts in baseball history. He also did much in fostering the desegregation of Baltimore.

It seems that Frank Robinson, one of the great competitors of baseball through the ages, is ailing. The specifics are not, as yet, known. Let's hope that this baseball GOAT is still with us for many years to come.15 days until Orioles pitchers and catchers report.

Play ball!


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