Remembering Frank Robinson

Sadly, scarily, Frank Robinson died one year ago today. As I have recounted more than once, he was my favorite Oriole player as a young baseball fan in Baltimore. Incredibly, I wound up working with him in the Orioles’ organization. We became friends, which would have blown my 10-year old self away if I had known, and he developed respect for my baseball knowledge and acumen. Once again, my favorite story about Frank Robinson:



One day I was walking past his office and stuck my head in to say hello. I noticed a baseball cap on his desk I had never seen before with the letters “CR” on it. I asked Frank, “Cedar Rapids?” He said, “No, Colorado Rockies.” I asked, “Are you going somewhere?” Frank replied, “No, but if I do I’m taking you with me.” You have no idea how amazing I felt after he said that.



Time flies whether you’re having fun or not.

“And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”

– John Donne


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It is not my intent to show disrespect to the memory of Frank Robinson by writing about something else today. To honor Frank in a way, below is a picture of a car from 1970, the second of two Orioles’ World Series champion teams for which Frank played. By the way, the Orioles have played 66 seasons. Frank played for them for just six. Two of the Orioles’ championships came in those six years. In the other sixty, the team has won just one.

From a picture of a 1970 Corvette:


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This example is supposed to be powered by a 454 cubic-inch engine producing 390 HP/500 LB-FT of torque. In a fiberglass car with a 98-inch wheelbase and weighing just 3,200 pounds that’s a lot of oomph.

1970 was the power zenith for the muscle car era. Government regulations and insurance companies made it impossible for US auto manufacturers to continue offering cars with this much power. Fortunately, that diminution of output was temporary although it was awhile before the engineers were allowed to overcome “limitations.”

I also have a personal connection to the early C3 Corvettes, like this 1970 model. One of the few things my father and I did together was to attend the Baltimore Auto Show. In those days shows like this were more about concept cars than about trying to get the public to buy whatever vehicles companies are offering.

I saw a Mako Shark Corvette and a production C3 for the first time at one of these shows. At the time, I thought they were the most amazing looking cars I had ever seen. Times and tastes change and as every regular reader knows I now much prefer the looks of the C2 (and C7) Corvette. Still, I can’t help but remember the days at the Baltimore Auto Show with my father every time I see an early C3.






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