When Brooks took the game to a higher plane

Baltimore Sun - - MARYLAND - By Mike Klinga­man THEN & NOW mike.klinga­man@balt­sun.com

No mat­ter that 48 years have passed since the 1970 World Se­ries. For those privy to Brooks Robin­son’s per­for­mance that Oc­to­ber, the me­mories en­dure. With glove and bat, the Ori­oles third base­man dom­i­nated the five-game vic­tory over Cincin­nati and made his pitch for the Hall of Fame.

Time and time again, Robin­son robbed bat­ters with div­ing stops and back­hand stabs to crush Reds ral­lies. One minute, he speared an an­kle-high rocket to steal a hit from Johnny Bench; the next, he re­tired slug­ger Lee May, snar­ing a ground smash 15 feet past the bag and, off balance, throw­ing him out by a whisker.

May called Robin­son “the hu­man vac­u­um­cleaner” and asked, “Where do they plug Mr. Hoover in?”

Said Cincin­nati man­ager Sparky An­der­son: “I don’t see how any­body could do what this guy does. If I dropped my sand­wich, he would dart in, scoop it up on one hop and throw me out.”

More­over, Robin­son starred at bat: a game-win­ning home run in Game 1, an RBI sin­gle the fol­low­ing day and a pair of dou­bles and two RBIs in Game 3. The Reds won the next one, but the Ori­oles’ No. 5 went 4-for-4, with an­other homer. In the fi­nale, a 9-3 vic­tory, Robin­son struck out in his last at-bat but still got a stand­ing ova­tion at Me­mo­rial Sta­dium.

His field­ing and .429 bat­ting aver­age earned him the Most Valu­able Player award and a new Toy­ota. Af­ter­ward, re­porters sought him out in the club­house. “He’s not at his locker yet,” a team of­fi­cial said. “But four guys are over there in­ter­view­ing his glove.”

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