The Desire and Pursuit of the Whole (now out from behind the paywall)
1969? As I recall, both the World Series and the Super Bowl weren’t played that year, for some reason…
Genuinely enjoyed this post (I don't know much about the game, but I felt moved to watch a few highlight clips of Mr. Robinson) - my condolences & RIP to a legend
As a young person, the last two paragraphs bring to mind a question that is frequently (perhaps too frequently) on my mind—how should I choose a career? My childhood dreams of being a professional athlete notwithstanding, I've never felt strongly called in a particular direction. As I've gained some experience, I've become more clear on what I don't want to do, but I struggle with what I should do, especially as I approach an age where I need to pick something and get on with it. Any thoughts or advice? How much weight should a person give to their career anyways? Are there certain types of work you should aim for, if possible?
60 years ago I saw Frank hit a rocket into the deep alley of the Polo Grounds. Saw him a number of times there and at Shea including (sorry David, the 69' world series). Frank along with Musial, and Clemente were my favorites.
David, speaking of Maryland connections. I just reached the part in an enchanting tale where Mt. Woodbine is introduced. I know Woodbine is a plant, but given that it's also a town in Carroll County, where my grandmother's family is from, I can't help but wonder if a bit of Maryland may have fallen through the planetary spheres to Kenogaia. What would your speculation on that possibility be?
My lifetime Oriole fan dad's response to the article: "Dr. Hart is certainly an avid admirer of Frank Robinson. He truly summarized a great career both through statistics and anecdotes."
"Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson played together during the greatest era in Orioles History. They were both amazing and it was fun reliving those great times through his historical lens. I was actually there at the game on May 8th,1966 when he hit the homerun over 500' off of Luis Tiant. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon and this home run, unlike most, did not land in the stands but rather left the stadium and landed in the parking lot. Really! I was there!"
"Oh, by the way, Frank Robinson was born in Beaumont, Texas." [ - significant for me because I lived there decades ago while on a Mormon mission]
David - What a tribute! As a born Orioles fan of your same generation but about four years younger, I would have seen Frank Robinson play, but he exited the scene just before my memory for specific players kicks in. I recall Brooks and Jim Palmer from 1976. My dad was at the game where Frank Robinson hit the ball clear out of the stadium and would tell us about it. I may post his comments about the article here too. (BTW, in '76 or '77 I got to meet Brooks in Virginia and have him sign a picture. My mom told me to tell him where I was born. He got very excited and asked, "Little Rock?!" I couldn't yet understand why he was let down when the answer was just "Baltimore." =P )
So you were awake and watching that game with me in 1970. The line-up was usually Don Buford, Paul Blair, Frank Robinson, "Boog" Powell, Brooks Robinson, Dave Johnson, the catcher (Andy Etchebarren or Elrod Hendricks), Mark Ballenger, then the pitcher - no designated hitter rule in 1970. If I remember correctly, whenever the pitcher was Jim Palmer and the catcher Elrod Hendricks, every batter facing the Orioles in 1970 was up against nine Gold Gloves. I could be wrong, but I think it was all nine in the field. Ask Roland. No doubt he has read up on it.
Thank you for this treat. I was obsessed with sports in my youth, and though I still love them, I find my passion and interest waning as I grow older. Never thought that would happen to me.
It doesn't help that the media coverage in general is truly awful, but the lack of great sports writing especially sticks out like a sore thumb. It's all clickbait, analytics and cheap jokes nowadays.
Please write more about sports.
I’ve often wondered about the more practical applications of some of your ideas, so I’m glad to read something like this even if, as an Englishman, I know nothing about baseball. Your last paragraph made me think of the written work of architect Christopher Alexander. Have you come across his writings? If so, do you find any commonality between his ideas and your own?
You are so right about Bob Gibson and Frank Robinson. Bob Gibson . . . the one man I would never have wanted to stand in the box as a hitter. Frank Robinson, the one man I'd hate to pitch to. I don't know how many times they faced each other, but it wasn't many. How glorious, how compelling, would it have been in 1966, 1967, and 1968 for Bob Gibson to be on the mound and see Frank Robinson crowd the plate? Are you kidding? Gibson hated that! And each of them look at each other with a red-hot "it's you or me" glare . . . The mind boggles. Thank you for an excellent column
Google's daily "doodle" is telling me to celebrate Toni Stone today, whoever that is. Your essay is eloquent and impassioned, but Google showed me a felicitous drawing, so....
Now for me, this was a great story, well written, and yes I am a die-hard lover of baseball.(Go Cubs!) There is something to be said about theologians and baseball that comes close to understanding eschatology :)
I remember seeing Frank Robinson playing at Fenway Park when I was a kid. He made an impression.
I will always be a Clemente guy, but this is a wonderful tribute and it deepens my appreciation for a guy I saw way too little of.
Without a doubt on baseball's Mount Rushmore. And absolutely underappreciated in the history of baseball especially outside of Baltimore. He was everything you could want in a ball player and he was never, ever dull. Assuming there is ball in heaven, and well I repeated myself, Frank's starting and I (hope I) have tickets along the 1st base/right field line to watch the magic. (also a good angle to see Brooks do his thing at the hot corner...)