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Brooks Robinson Honored With Statue At Oriole Park At Camden Yards

Brooks Robinson Honored With Statue At Oriole Park At Camden Yards

By Jeff Seidel / Special to MLB.com

BALTIMORE — Brooks Robinson last played for the Orioles late in the 1977 season, a whole generation ago. Cal Ripken wouldn’t put on an Oriole uniform for four more years. Jim Thome is the only present-day Oriole who had even entered the world.

Still, the years haven’t dimmed the affection that Baltimore fans continue to feel for the Hall of Fame third baseman. That fact was proven Saturday at Camden Yards by the wild cheers Robinson received when his bronze sculpture was revealed in the final part of the Orioles Legends Celebration Series before the game with Boston.

The Orioles already unveiled statues of Frank Robinson, Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and Ripken earlier this season. They’ve been placed in the Legends Area behind center field, just above the bullpens for both teams.

“That is wonderful out there,” Brooks Robinson said after the ceremony. “I’ve admired some of the other ballparks that I’ve seen the statues in … but Mr. [Peter] Angelos’ generosity here is great. Toby Mendez, I thought he did a fantastic job on all those statues out there.”

There also was a pregame ceremony on the field that also gave the fans a chance to once more honor the club’s legends. Each entered the field by car down the warning track in foul territory along the right-field line. The cars then dropped them off in front of the Orioles dugout, where they walked to their seats on the field near home plate.

During Robinson’s slow ride in the car, it didn’t look like he retired 35 years ago. He drew a standing ovation from the large crowd. The fans roared throughout his drive in the car and cheered again when a smaller version of the bronze sculpture was unveiled in front of the pitcher’s mound. The Orioles stood in their dugout watching — as did the Red Sox.

“Brooksie was our Johnny Unitas,” said Palmer, a fellow Hall of Famer. “The consummate pro. Everybody who saw him play knows how great a player he was. You just don’t find people as gracious and humble as Brooks. I am so fortunate to have had him as a teammate and friend.”

Most longtime Orioles fans know something about Robinson’s statistics — and they were staggering. He played 23 seasons with the Orioles and won 16 Gold Gloves, a record total for a position player. He also played in 18 All-Star Games and won the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1964 and the World Series MVP for his memorable performance in 1970 and made the Hall of Fame in 1983.

Robinson still follows the Orioles very closely and talked on Saturday about how this year’s edition has him thrilled with its success. Robinson said the current Orioles really fit his definition of a team, then gave a few comments on the 2012 Orioles.

He thinks the bullpen’s strong work is a big reason for the team’s overall success, and he especially enjoys the play of Manny Machado at his old position.

“This kid seems like he can play anywhere,” he said. “He’s got a great instinct for the ball.”

Robinson set the standard for third base with the Orioles and everywhere else. His success on the field, and his kind, gentle nature off it, made him immensely popular with Orioles fans as well as others who follow baseball around the country.

The 75-year old recently has been battling some health issues but looked fine on this day. The fans were calling out to him, yelling and shouting. And Robinson spent most of his speech at the unveiling of the statue thanking people he played and worked with, deflecting attention from himself.

In the end, Robinson said he really likes the idea of the statues in general and being a part of them.

“I just think it’s a wonderful ballpark, and it’s wonderful for fans to have a look at the guys to have a look at the guys who really helped make this franchise and guys who are in the Baseball Hall of Fame,” Robinson said. “I couldn’t be happier being out there as one of them.”

Louis Angelos, the team’s ownership representative, spoke to the crowd at the ceremony about how much Robinson meant to the team and its history.

“It is fitting that our Legends Series concludes with the dedication of Brooks’ statue because when you think of the Orioles, you think about Brooks Robinson,” Angelos said. “When you think of Brooks Robinson in those 23 seasons, you think of the Orioles, because he, like all of the great Hall of Fame Orioles we have honored in this season-long celebration of Orioles baseball, embody what is best about this ballclub and about this great game.”

Brooks Robinson Orioles Baseball

Statue Of Cal Ripken Jr. Unveiled At Camden Yards

Statue Of Cal Ripken Jr. Unveiled At Camden Yards

From MLB.com

BALTIMORE — On the 17th anniversary of the night Cal Ripken Jr. passed Lou Gehrig and broke the record many thought couldn’t be touched, the Orioles paid tribute to their former shortstop.

The Orioles unveiled a bronze statue of Ripken looking very much like he was trying to snag a grounder deep in the hole. He’s the fifth Orioles great to get a statue made in his honor as part of the Orioles Legends Celebration Series this season.

Frank Robinson, Earl Weaver, Eddie Murray and Jim Palmer’s statues were unveiled earlier this year, with Brooks Robinson’s coming Sept. 29. Toby Mendez created the artwork.

Though the fans cheered Ripken once again, just as they did on the historic night in 1995, there was a piece of delicious irony this time around.

Even though it had been planned many moons ago, this celebration took place before a game that meant so much, something that hasn’t happened at Camden Yards in a long time. The Orioles were battling for first place with the Yankees in the AL East, and Ripken loved it.

“It’s a huge series, so there’s a lot of great excitement out there,” Ripken said when talking with the media after the ceremony. “Coming in on September 6th, it feels really good to walk into that stadium and see the excitement and see that’s there’s a big series in September with the Yankees and there’s only one game that separates the two teams. Certainly it adds to it. This is an exciting time for this team.”

Ripken, as he usually does, tried to deflect the spotlight and praise away from himself. He talked about what the Oriole Way used to mean and why, on a night when they were fighting for first place once more, it meant so much again.

“This particular ceremony, the meaning was clear — it’s not about me,” Ripken said. “It was about the Orioles, the celebration of the Orioles, the connection to what the Oriole Way stood for. Certainly the Orioles have come back to competition. It wasn’t about me. It was about the Orioles family.”

However, it also had a lot to do with Ripken, and since it came on the anniversary of his breaking Gehrig’s record of 2,130 consecutive games played. The Orioles did a few things to remind fans of what happened that September night in 1995.

The team placed an “8” on the red brick warehouse wall where the numbers of Ripken’s Iron Man streak kept changing each game, until finally reaching 2,131 on that historic night. The changing of the numbers every night when a game became official grew into a signature moment for The Streak.

In a ceremony before the game, Billy Ripken talked a bit about The Streak and his brother. The former Orioles second baseman made a few comments to those who felt his big brother was more interested in chasing Gehrig than getting wins.

“It’s about a guy that cared about what he did on the field, cared about what he did off the field, and cared about how he did what he did and how he did it off the field,” Billy Ripken said. “He still does. The streak doesn’t define Junior. Junior defines the Streak.”

Today’s Orioles still have a lot of respect for Ripken and what he accomplished over that long stretch.

Manager Buck Showalter played against Ripken in the Minor Leagues. He managed against him in the Majors, and the skipper has a very strong memory of the big shortstop and how Ripken went about his work.

“Cal was very serious about his trade,” Showalter said. “That’s what hit me. Everything had a purpose. That was an honor playing against him.”

That was the theme most people brought up when speaking about Ripken before the game. Louis Angelos, representing ownership, listed a number of Ripken’s accomplishments over the years, and marveled at how he just kept doing it year after year.

“His professionalism and his resilience have made Cal Ripken Jr. a model of consistency and truly a baseball player for the ages,” Angelos said.

Ripken admitted later that the statue impressed him. He said he took pride in his success at shortstop, basically being the first big player to find real success at the position. Ripken opened the door for a different type of player to be there.

“I was very proud of the time that I played there,” Ripken said. “I think maybe in a small way I changed the dialogue that says, ‘Maybe a bigger guy can play in the shortstop position.’ So I was very proud of that. I’m very proud of the pose. It looks like me and I think it captures who I was as a shortstop.”

And it was unveiled on a night the Orioles were fighting for first place. Even better.

Eddie Murray Inducted As A Baltimore Oriole’s Legend With Bronze Statue

Eddie Murray Inducted As A Baltimore Oriole’s Legend With Bronze Statue

By: Richard Webster

Today, former Baltimore Oriole and Hall of Famer Eddie Murray was the fourth Oriole honored as part of the Orioles Legends Celebration Series.

Prior to 6 ballgames this summer at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the O’s are celebrating their 6 greatest Birds of all time: Frank Robinson, Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, Cal Ripken Jr., and Brooks Robinson.

Each of the former Oriole players are being honored with a ceremony before the game of the day, and an unveiling of a larger-than-life bronze sculptures in their image to stand in the Center Field Garden. All fans coming to the games on those days are receiving exact miniature replica sculptures of the Bird of the day.

Today, for one more day at the park, fans in attendance chanted the familiar mantra “EDDIE. EDDIE. EDDIE. EDDIE,” and gave Eddie Murray a thunderous applause.

Fans today chanted the familiar mantra ‘EDDIE. EDDIE’

Eddie was always a fan favorite in Baltimore; and expectations for an Eddie Murray homerun were high every time he came to the plate.

At the unveiling of his statue, Eddie took the podium and addressed the crowd:

You always wonder what you’re going to say when you come up here.  All I can say is Wow.  That’s pretty impressive . . . This is awesome.”

And although it was a beautiful, sunny, summertime day for Eddie’s unveiling ceremony which began around 5:30 p.m., the clouds and rain rolled into Baltimore afterwards, which postponed Eddie’s throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to this evening’s O’s vs. Kansas City Royals game.

As of this writing, the game is in rain delay.  But the on-field ceremony for Eddie Murray will take place eventually this evening.

So far this year, the Orioles have honored Frank Robinson, Earl Weaver and Jim Palmer.

Two more Legends ceremonies are scheduled this season: Cal Ripken Jr. on September 6, and Brooks Robinson on September 29.

Eddie Clarence Murray played 13 seasons for the Orioles.  He also played for the Dodgers, Mets, and Indians during his MLB career.

Eddie Murray was one of the most feared switch-hitting homerun hitters that ever played the game. He hit his 500th career home run on September 6, 1996 while wearing the O’s uniform. Eddie retired after the 1997 season with 504 home runs.

Well dererved Mr. Murray, well deserved!!!