IF THE EXUBERANT city of Baltimore and its equally thrilled environs will permit a word from some baseball fans to their immediate south, we of the Baltimore Orioles' foster fans join in a tip of the cap to Brooks Robinson, elected with appropriate ease in his first year of eligibility to the Cooperstown Hall of Fame. Mr. Robinson--as all of us who saw him play third base better than anybody else for a remarkable 23 years knew long before he could be considered this year--was a cinch for this highest honor--no matter how badly the Baseball Writers Association of America strikes out when it comes time to vote every year.
But what makes the selection an even prouder occasion for Baltimore is that Mr. Robinson is more than a baseball hero there; his record of civic service and leadership is exceptional. Already, the fans are planning their takeover of Cooperstown for the official induction ceremonies July 31.
Since baseball is the game of statistics, here are a few from the bubble-gum cards of a generation: Mr. Robinson is only the 14th player in history to gain election in his first year on the ballot; he won 16 Gold Glove Awards, accumulated 2,896 hits, 1,357 runs batted in, and 268 home runs; and he was a member of every consecutive American League All- Star team from 1960 to 1974. And he holds career records for third basemen in percentage, putouts, assists, chances and double plays.
Untabulated, apparently, are the number of cheers he generated while performing such remarkable defensive feats in that capacity. But clearly three more big ones should be put on the books this month.