I was never a fan of Brooks Robinson, the 3rd baseman for the Baltimore Orioles in the 1960s and 1970s.
Don't get me wrong, he was a fabulous player who is in the Baseball Hall of Fame. But he played for the Orioles, who were a rival of my team, the New York Yankees.
My opinion changed in 1972.
There was a baseball card show at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey, about a 45 minute drive from my house. The show was in late fall of 1972. Since I was only 15 years old, my dad drove me there and my mom also came along.
I was working 4 hours every Sunday morning at the local stationery/newspaper store bringing in the Sunday papers and assembling them. At $2.00 an hour, I had saved some big bucks to spend on cards.
Anyway, Brooks Robinson was signing items that day so I brought my 1968 Topps card of him to get autographed. Back then, autographs were free and there were not long lines to get your items signed. I looked around for a while and then got in line for his autograph since the line was short, only about 10 people. My mom tagged along with me.
When my turn came, he stuck out his hand to shake mine and asked me what my name was. We chatted a while and then I introduced my mom. She was excited to shake his hand. After some more chatting, my mom asked him if his ring was one of his World Series rings. He said yes, it was his ring from the 1970 World Series. He then took off the ring and gave it to my mom to try on. Mom took the ring and tried to try it on but it was hugh! She finally got it on her finger and we both admired it. Mom gave him back the ring and we both thanked him.
What a class act! Brooks took time to talk with us, not just sign my card and move on. I watched the rest of his career in a different light. I even got the chance to see him play a few times at Yankee Stadium.
Here is my card from that day over 35 years ago.