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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where it’s Brooks Robinson’s birthday

It’s a day of celebration for one of the best baseball players and most gracious human beings who ever lived.

National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Yesterday was a slow day in Birdland. The Orioles were off, enjoying their last open date until June 3, and with Monday being a universal off day for nearly all minor league teams this season, we didn’t have any O’s prospects to check in on, either. Tonight, all teams are back in action, with the Birds hosting the Rays to begin an uninterrupted 16-day stretch of games while each of their affiliates kick off their next six-game series (including the home openers for Triple-A Norfolk and High-A Aberdeen).

In the meantime, let’s all wish a very happy 84th birthday to a Baltimore sports legend and the second best Oriole of all time, Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson. When he was born in Little Rock, Ark., on this day in 1937 — long before the modern-day Baltimore Orioles even existed — nobody could have predicted the incredible legacy he would one day leave on the franchise, the city, and the game of baseball.

It’s not just his otherworldly on-the-field talents — the 16 Gold Gloves, the 18 All-Star selections, the MVP award, the two World Series rings, the incredible defensive display in the 1970 Fall Classic — that make him great. It’s that he’s universally considered a truly wonderful person, a kind and gracious class act who treats everyone he meets with the utmost respect and generosity. To be that awesome at baseball and that incredible a human being? Wow. Most of us aren’t even good at one thing.

So, enjoy your day, Brooks! And if anyone out there happens to see him today, wish him happy birthday from all of us. You can be sure he’ll be genuinely delighted to hear from you.


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Brooks Robinson isn’t the only Hall of Famer with a May 18 birthday who played with the Orioles — Reggie Jackson turns 75 today. His Orioles career, of course, was much shorter and less celebrated than Robinson’s. Jackson spent just one season with the Birds, a star-crossed 1976 campaign in which he reported late over a contract dispute and then left for the Yankees in free agency in November. Among non-Hall of Fame Orioles, it’s also the birthday of 2006 outfielder Luis Terrero (41) and the late Gil Coan (b. 1922, d. 2020), an outfielder for the inaugural 1954 club.

On this day in 1957, the Orioles and White Sox played a truly bizarre game. The White Sox carried a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth in Baltimore, and the umpires had already decided that the game would end at precisely 10:20 PM so the White Sox could catch a train to Boston. Mere moments from the curfew, all the White Sox pitcher, Paul LaPalme, had to do was stall for time or throw one or two intentional balls and the game would have ended with a White Sox win. Instead, he inexplicably threw a knuckleball in the middle of the strike zone to O’s outfielder Dick Williams, who smacked it for a game-tying homer, at which point 10:20 struck and the umps ended the game in a tie. The game was replayed in its entirety later that season, with the Orioles winning.

On this date in 1971, Brooks Robinson homered at Yankee Stadium on his 34th birthday, leading a 6-2 Orioles win. It was the only homer Brooks ever hit on his birthday, but in his career he hit .435 (20-for-46) with five RBIs on his big day. Yes, I looked it up, game by game.

And on this day in 2012, Nick Markakis’ 11th-inning homer led the Birds to a 2-1 win over the Nationals in D.C. It was the sixth of what would become 16 consecutive extra-innings wins for the Orioles that year.