Robinson recognizes Mora's achievement
Hall of Famer returns to honor Orioles' current third baseman
BALTIMORE -- You've heard of passing the torch. This was passing the base.
All-time great Brooks Robinson came to Camden Yards on Friday and helped take part in a pregame ceremony at the request of current third baseman Melvin Mora. Mora had just moved into second place behind Robinson on Baltimore's games played list at third base, and Robinson signed the actual base used in Monday's game.
"[For him] to leave the house and come here to give me that award," said Mora, who has played in 795 games at third base for the Orioles, "is something me and my family will never ever forget."
Mora, who's in the last year of a lucrative three-year extension signed during the 2006 season, would have to play 150 games a year for 14 more seasons to catch Robinson. The Hall of Famer played 2,870 games at third base for the Orioles, appearing in four World Series and going to 15 All-Star Games in a 23-year career.
Robinson, who survived a bout with prostate cancer earlier in the year, said that he feels great and that he's coming up on his six-month checkup next month. Robinson, who won 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards during his career, also said that it was a pleasure for him to come to Camden Yards and be part of the team again.
"I love it. I enjoy coming. I get down here three or four times [a year], usually on business," he said. "I've met Melvin a few times and I'm happy to be here. I got to see [former teammate] Rick Dempsey and I got to see [Jim] Palmer. ... I met a lot of guys in here I didn't know. I had never met Dave Trembley before, so I had a nice chat with him."
Robinson came out of the dugout to a standing ovation, and he posed for a picture with Mora and his six children. Robinson's grandson -- Grant Farley -- also accompanied the legend on the field and to the subsequent television interview. When asked if he'd like to come out more often, Robinson made a telling quip.
"The Orioles lost my phone number. We haven't been able to catch up," he said. "I love putting on the uniform, and we're going to have Brooks Robinson Fantasy Camp down in Fort Myers at the Minnesota training camp from the 23rd to the [30th in January]. ... I hope we get enough people to come and to be there for the week and to have a great time."
Robinson said that he met several of the team's players for the first time and that his grandson got an autograph from right fielder Nick Markakis before the game. The former great's presence was a hot topic in the dugout in the hours before the game, and Trembley said that the Orioles were lucky to have him around.
"That says it all there, that he is coming," said Trembley. "Because he hasn't done it, so it ought to be pretty special that he is going to be here. That ought to get everybody's attention, that he is going to be here. That's pretty special. It's nice that he said he would take the time to do it. That's how I look at it. I am sure the man has many other things to do, but we are privileged that he would take the time to come out."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.