Robinson, inbox, early projections & a Giants win
*To celebrate Black History Month, MLB.com has put together a month-long series detailing some of baseball’s greatest figures as a way to pay tribute and offer fresh perspective on the game’s most pivotal moments. And for the Baltimore Orioles, 1966’s trade for African-American outfielder Frank Robinson was a move that paid dividends practically before the ink had a chance to dry.
Robinson won the Triple Crown his first year in Baltimore, leading the American League with a .316 average, 49 home runs and 122 RBIs. He remains the only minority player in history to win the Triple Crown in batting, and his gutsy style — both on and off the field — helped lead the organization to its first World Series title.
Robinson’s teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Jim Palmer, who is currently an Orioles broadcaster, shared some special moments and insight from that groundbreaking season. Read more on that here.
*Lots of good questions from this week’s inbox, which you can read on Orioles.com. I’m hoping to do at least one more before heading down to Florida, so keep them coming by using the submission form in the story or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with “inbox” in the headline. Please include your first name and hometown.
*In case you missed it, I gave my take on the Manny Ramirez rumors last night. The Orioles also signed Jeff Larish to a Minor League deal (he won’t get a big league camp invite) and they also had a few small notes which can be found here.
*Antsy for Spring Training? The Orioles had Packing Day last week, loading up the truck at Camden Yards to take down to Sarasota. There’s a video with some behind-the-scenes footage up on Orioles.com here.
*Too early for early-season projections? Maybe not. At this point in the season, the Orioles roster is pretty much set and that makes it a great time to sit down and start figuring out who will factor in where come Opening Day.
I’m shooting to look at each position in depth, either on the blog or Orioles.com, to help preview things and get the conversation ball rolling. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has said several times this winter that he thinks the team can be over .500 this year. Is that realistic? What has to happen to make that feasible? A lot of things would have to go right for the Orioles, that’s for sure.
*And finally, my Super Bowl prediction since the Detroit Lions came up short. I’m from New England (Connecticut) so this is tough, but I can’t root for a Michigan alum like Tom Brady. Giants prevail (again!) late in the fourth quarter, and the same New York fanbase that has called for Tom Coughlin’s head most of the season vote to give the guy a statue instead.
Speaking of Coughlin, I encourage you to read this piece from Amy K. Nelson on the Giants coach and his selfless letter to a fan. I typically don’t link to other stories outside of baseball on here, but this was a good read by a good friend and excellent writer.