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Here's my seven-part series on Brooks Robinson. --- Brooks Robinson means more to me than any other athlete who has ever lived. I suppose over the months and years, I'll be writing more about Brooks, but suffice it to say that in the 1980s, someone asked me who the three people I wanted to meet more than anyone in the world were. My response? Ronald Reagan, Vladimir Horowitz, and Brooks Robinson. Roy Firestone, American sports commentator, appears to feel the same way that I do about this gentle giant of a man - a giant not in athletic stature, but in an everyman's way that we can all relate to. While I certainly have many things to add, I can't think of a better place to begin than with Roy Firestone's tribute to Brooks Robinson, my childhood hero: Some highlights from the 1970 World Series: I was beaming with pride for my hero during the 1970 Series, not because he did anything particularly unusual, but because he did what he *always* did, and the nation got a good sampling of it - all except for fielding bunts. For example, his teammate, Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, said: "He was the best defensive player at any position. I used to stand in the outfield and watch him make play after play. I used to think WOW, I can't believe this." Hall of Famer Johnny Bench: "I will become a left-handed hitter to keep the ball away from that guy." Hall of Famer Pete Rose: "Brooks Robinson belongs in a higher league." Hall of Famer Third Baseman George Brett: "He charged everything. He reacted as the ball was coming off the bat. Sometimes when the ball was going to the bat." That refers, somewhat, to his skills at fielding the bunt which I've never seen since. He would force entire teams to change their strategies and give up bunting (this, in an era when bunting, sacrifices, and stolen bases meant a lot in baseball). I cannot find a single video of this, but, bunting aside, what I saw in 1970, I watched almost every single day in the summer. The 1970 series was great, yes, but he used to do that stuff day-in, day-out, and nobody knew. That's why I was so proud of my hero - he had finally gotten the national exposure he deserved (although that was a good series, even for him). I love this man.
Johnny Bench was voted one of the four "MLB Greatest Living Players" in 2015, along with Hank Aaron, Sandy Koufax, and Willie Mays. There are 70 Gold Gloves in this picture! And Brooks is enjoying a glass of red - love it!