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:

 

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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.

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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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From wolbbaltimore a picture of Frank Robinson.

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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 buyavette.net 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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Throwback Thursday

Yesterday’s late-session stock market selloff is an indication, to me, that even traders/investors and their algorithms are coddled and spoiled. The market sold off because the Fed did not indicate that its next rate move would be a cut. OK, after a 3.2% GDP print for the first quarter of 2019 and continuing strong job growth why on Earth should the Fed indicate the next move is a cut?! The fact “markets” thought that should be the base case doesn’t mean the markets were right.

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More about Gino Marchetti:

 

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“Everybody goes to Gino’s, ’cause Gino’s is the place to go.

Everybody goes to Gino’s, everybody in the know.”

The above photo is from flickr. The Gino’s jingle is well-known to people my age who grew up in Baltimore. Yes, the Gino in Gino’s is for Gino Marchetti who partnered with fellow Colt Alan Ameche along with Joe Campanella and Louis Fisher to found the brand. The Gino Giant, an almost identical sandwich to the Big Mac®, was introduced two years before McDonald’s effort. My introduction to KFC was through Gino’s because they offered KFC chicken.

When the Gino’s company was sold to Marriott in 1982 it had over 350 locations. Marriott discontinued the brand and converted the stores remaining open to be Roy Rogers restaurants. The brand was revived in 2010 as Gino’s Burgers and Chicken, but has not had much success.

Gino’s was my favorite fast-food restaurant as a child into my early teens although I was also a fan of Jack In The Box, which still had locations in the east. The day after I broke my foot playing football in May of 1972, my parents—in one of the last things they did together before my father moved out—bought me a giant bag of food from Gino’s in an effort to cheer me up.

“Everybody goes to Gino’s, ’cause Gino’s is the place to go.

Everybody goes to Gino’s, everybody in the know.”

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From classiccars.com a picture of a 1970 Corvette. Around the same time I was eating at Gino’s I loved these cars; I loved the Mako Shark concept car that was the basis for the C3 Corvette. I thought the C2 design was boring! Kids, what do they know?!

One of the few things my father and I did together was to attend the annual Baltimore auto show. (I picked a 1970 model to show because the Orioles won the World Series in 1970 and the Baltimore Colts won the Super Bowl for the 1970 season.) In those days auto shows were more about concept cars than about car makers trying to get people interested in buying their new models. I know I had picture postcards of the Mako Shark, but they are long gone.

1970 is considered the high-water mark of the muscle car era (yeah, that’s really why I showed a ’70 Vette). Beginning in 1971, net HP figures were displayed instead of gross and real HP output fell because of tightening emissions standards and rising insurance rates. Compression ratios were lowered, cams were made less aggressive, etc. For 1970 the highest HP engine for the Corvette was the 454 cubic-inch big block that produced 390 HP; the 350 cubic-inch ZR1 small block produced 370 HP. By 1975 the highest HP for a Corvette engine was 205 and the base engine produced just 165 HP.

Today I think the C2 Corvette is the most beautiful American car ever and I think the C3 looks a little dated, especially early in the run. It’s OK to change your mind, by the way. I once knew someone—he was actually one of the best men at my wedding—who refused to change his mind or the way he thought about anything. I haven’t spoken to him in about ten years.

 

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