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Thursday Bird Droppings: The 40-year anniversary of Frank Robinson’s HOF election

On this day 40 years ago, the Orioles got their first Hall of Famer. If you can believe it, 45 people did NOT vote for Frank Robinson.

Portrait of Frank Robinson
40 years ago today, Frank Robinson became the first Orioles player elected to the Hall of Fame.

Hello, friends.

There are now two months and 18 days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day. A mere month and two days stand until when pitchers and catchers are supposed to report to Sarasota for spring training. However, the ongoing ownership lockout of MLB players would have to end before then.

MLB is supposed to make a proposal to the players today. Perhaps it’s a serious proposal that can form the basis of ongoing negotiation. If they don’t figure something out by the end of the month, spring training will probably not start on time. I have seen optimism, though, that a deal reached as late as March 1 could still lead to an as-scheduled beginning of the regular season.

This is not turning out to be a quiet week in Birdland even in the midst of the lockout. The Tuesday news that the Orioles would be pushing back and raising the fences in left field in Camden Yards might be the most interesting news that’s happened in the offseason since the hire of Mike Elias himself. It’s so unexpected and it’s something that could have a noticeable, if still small, impact on both the coming season and the future of the franchise.

On top of that, we’ve got two days to go until the start of the next signing period for international amateurs. This could possibly be the last such period under the current system, depending on whether an agreement for an international draft is incorporated into baseball’s next Collective Bargaining Agreement. It’s believed to be a possibility.

The Orioles are expected to set a new franchise record for the signing bonus given to one of these players in giving a bonus somewhere from $1.5 million to $2 million to Dominican outfielder Braylin Tavera, who turns 17 years old next month. That exceeds the record set a year ago when the O’s gave $1.3 million to Venezuelan catching prospect Samuel Basallo. Tavera comes in at #22 on MLB Pipeline’s top international prospects ranking.

Four years ago, the Orioles would have made no effort, nor had any chance, to sign such a player. That doesn’t mean Tavera is guaranteed to turn into a star. Getting international amateurs is about quantity as well as quality. The Dan Duquette Orioles did neither. We’re still years away from any of this paying off for the Elias-era Orioles, but some of his international signings and trade acquisitions could make their way to full-season affiliates this season, so there will be chances to see them in action in Maryland soon.

Around the blogO’sphere

Sifting through more spring training storylines (School of Roch)
Roch’s wondering about Felix Bautista and DJ Stewart. I’m a bit more interested in one of those guys than the other, I have to say.

Candidates for the Orioles infield (Baltimore Baseball)
Alphabetical order by last name starts with Rylan Bannon and runs through Terrin Vavra. I hope we get to see Vavra in 2022, but I sure don’t expect him around on Opening Day.

2022 Orioles fantasy baseball outlook (Sports Illustrated)
If you’re one of those people who is interested in fantasy baseball, you might want to get an idea of which Orioles you should think about - or which you should avoid at all costs.

Orioles set to make latest splash in international market (Steve Melewski)
Along with Tavera, names you will hopefully get to know over the next few years are Leandro Arias and Cesar Prieto.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1982, Frank Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year eligible, along with home run king Hank Aaron. There were 45 voters in the cycle who looked at Robinson and said, “Nah, not a Hall of Famer.” Robinson was the first prominent Oriole to be elected, joined by Brooks one year later.

There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2015-17 reliever Oliver Drake, and 1986 reliever Odell Jones. Today is Jones’s 69th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: novelist Horatio Alger Jr. (1832), composer Vasily Kalinnikov (1866), Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond (1926), actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus (1961), TV show creator Shonda Rhimes (1970), and Tour de France-winning cyclist Egan Bernal (1997).

On this day in history...

In 1842, one lone survivor, Dr. William Brydon, out of an army of 4,500 men and 12,000 camp followers, returned to a garrison in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. The army he came from was forced to retreat from Kabul following an uprising.

In 1898, Emile Zola’s open letter J’Accuse...! was published, stating that a French officer convicted of espionage was falsely accused. Zola was found guilty of libel and fled to England; the supposed spy, Alfred Dreyfus, was ultimately exonerated eight years later.

In 1968, Johnny Cash performed a live concert from Folsom State Prison in California. The artist had recorded a song called “Folsom Prison Blues” 13 years earlier. An album recorded from the concert reached the #1 spot on the country chart at the time.

In 1990, Douglas Wilder took office as Governor of Virginia, in the process becoming the first elected African American governor in American history.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 13. Have a safe Thursday.