Long before he was managing the Orioles, Frank Robinson was representing them in the All-Star Game. (Photo by Otto Greule/Allsport USA)
As an Orioles fan not old enough to remember the glory days, I've been told stories from many different sources about how Frank Robinson was the glue that finally cemented a championship-caliber team in Baltimore. Indeed, he was only an Oriole for six of his twenty-one years in baseball, but he was on four World Series teams in those six years, and despite a decade with the Reds and stints with the Indians, Angels, and Dodgers, he is mostly remembered as an Oriole.
1971 would be Robinson's final year with the Orioles and one that would end in a World Series loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, but well before that Robinson was voted into the All-Star Game along with teammate Brooks Robinson, with Boog Powell and Don Buford joining them as reserves and Jim Palmer and Mike Cuellar on the pitching staff. The American League All-Star manager that year was, of course, Earl Weaver, as the Orioles had won the World Series the year before.
The National League got on the board first that day at Tiger Stadium, taking a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the third. But the AL struck back, scoring four runs in their half of the inning courtesy of home runs from Robinson and the Athletics' Reggie Jackson.
Palmer and Cuellar came on after that to combine for four scoreless innings to hold the AL's 4-3 lead, a lead extended to 6-3 on a home run by Harmon Killebrew of the Twins. Roberto Clemente added a solo home run late in the game to make the final score 6-4 in favor of the American Leaguers.
As for the rest of the Orioles on the team, Brooks went 1-3 at the plate, Don Buford went 0-1 in a pinch hitting appearance, and Boog Powell didn't make it into the game. For his two-out, two-run homer that put the AL up 4-3, Frank Robinson was awarded the All-Star Game MVP.