Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
July 26, 2010
Oriole's icon now puts Christ in centrefield
GEORGE MATYSEK JR.
CATHOLIC NEWS SERVICE
Baltimore - When Lee May cracked a two-bouncer inside the third-base line in the first game of the 1970 World Series, Brooks Robinson's response was nothing short of legendary.
Wheeling three paces to his right, the Baltimore Orioles' third baseman fielded the ball in foul territory, took two more steps and threw against his momentum. The throw bounced once on its way to first baseman Boog Powell and beat May.
It was one of many in a spectacular defensive performance by Robinson that helped the Orioles defeat the Cincinnati Reds in five games. Forty years after perhaps the best fielding display in baseball history, Robinson's hair is grey and he no longer sports a lanky physique.
But Robinson, 73, is committed to his family and community, his Catholic faith sustaining him in the face of health concerns.
Raised a Methodist in Little Rock, Ark., Robinson only began to be drawn to the Catholic Church after marrying Connie, a Catholic. With three sons and a daughter, Robinson thought it important for the entire family to attend church together.
He was received into the Catholic faith in the late 1960s. "I couldn't be happier being a Catholic," he said. "It's worked out well for me and it's been a good impression on my kids."
When Robinson underwent 39 radiation treatments for prostate cancer last year, he turned to his faith. Robinson credits the prayers of family and friends for getting him through his health challenges.
OUTPOURING OF LOVE
"I'm doing fine," Robinson said. "It's just been an outpouring of love which I've never seen before. I've compiled a lot of (religious) medals that people sent me. I really think that was a big part of it and my wife certainly thinks that, too."
Robinson's relationship with God has deepened in recent years. "I think more about my Catholic faith now than I ever did," he said. "It seems like the older you get, the more you think about Jesus Christ and how you're living."
He practises a quiet kind of faith, according to those who know him.
"It's a very private relationship and a very good one, obviously," said Rick Dempsey, former Orioles catcher. "You can just tell that his whole life revolves around his beliefs and his religion and he's been raised the right way."
Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 -- Western Catholic Reporter
Our mission: To serve our readers by bringing the Gospel to bear on current issues in the Church and in secular culture through accurate news coverage and reflective commentary.