On September 18, 1977, Ted Cox made his Major League debut with the Boston Red Sox, going 4 for 4 in Baltimore. What’s more interesting is that it was Brooks Robinson Night at Memorial Stadium. A few weeks ago, I wrote about Walter Johnson Day, wondering whether it was a thing to have a day to celebrate a player. Well, apparently it was – at least for the baseball greats.
That night in 1977 was “Thanks, Brooks” Day in Baltimore. Robinson had retired a few weeks earlier to make room on the roster for catcher Rick Dempsey, who we returning from the disabled list. Despite requesting that there be donations to his favorite charities in lieu of gifts, Robinson was presented with: a new car, a Hawaiian vacation, replacement Gold Gloves from the Rawlings company (because he had donated his to charities), and vacuum cleaner from Lee May. In addition, Doug DeCinces, who had taken over at third base that year, walked over the third base, removed the bag, and gave it to Robinson.
Naturally, given Robinson’s importance to the Baltimore Orioles and the entire state of Maryland, 1977 was not the first time Brooks Robinson was celebrated. Exactly 13 years earlier, on September 18, 1964, the Orioles held Brooks Robinson Night. It was his MVP season and the 5th of his 16 Gold Glove seasons. On that night, Robinson was presented with a station wagon, a freezer, a color portrait of himself, a puppy, a duck, and 50 shares of Orioles stock.
I’m sure there were others, official and unofficial. In fact, every day should be Brooks Robinson Day. And everyone should get a puppy – or a duck.