So I woke up this morning to find the following news article being prominently featured on ESPN.com’s website:
Talk about a bitter cup of coffee! I practically spit out my decaf when I read that header.
OMG, I thought to myself. Doesn’t anyone know that Robinson — a deity in Baltimore and Arkansas circles — is like the Wizard of Oz? Pull back the curtain and you’ll find an alleged retiree advocate who hasn’t done squat for the men he’s supposed to be advocating for as head of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association.
Although Robinson, the Hall of Famer from Little Rock, Arkansas, is president of the alumni association’s board of directors, he has never publicly commented about the fact that nearly 900 or so retired individuals who played between the years 1947-1979 are w/o MLB pensions, all because neither the league nor the players union want to retroactively restore or, in the worse case scenario, grandfather these guys back into pension coverage.
The legendary “Human Vaccuum Cleaner,” who played his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles, has remained strangely silent about this matter, in spite of the fact that four of the players affected by this situation hail from his native Little Rock. In addition, two of the men who stand to receive monies were former Orioles:
Born in 1950, 60-year-old Mike Beard was a pitcher who compiled an 4-2 won-loss record playing parts of four seasons with the Atlanta Braves from 1974 through 1977. In 74 career games, he posted a 3.74 Earned Run Average (E.R.A).
A fellow hurler, 72-year-old Aubrey Gatewood, played parts of three seasons with the California Angels, from 1963 through 1965, as well as three games with the Atlanta Braves in 1970. All told, in 68 games, he had a lifetime won-loss record of 8-9; he posted a 2.78 ERA during his career.
Leon McFadden, 66, was a reserve infielder/outfielder who played parts of three seasons with the Houston Astros from 1968 through 1970. A lifetime .215 hitter, he appeared in a total of 62 games, getting 26 hits in 121 career at bats.
Similarly, over parts of three seasons, outfielder Aaron Pointer got into a total of 40 games in the big leagues, getting 21 hits in 101 plate appearances. Now 68, he played his entire career with the Houston Colt.45s / Astros, in 1963, 1966 and 1967.
Born in 1949, Tim Nordbrook, of Baltimore, played parts of six seasons and appeared in 128 games during his career, coming to bat 169 times. A well traveled infielder, the 61-year-old Nordbrook played with his hometown Orioles, from 1974 thru 1976; the California Angels, in 1976; the Chicago Whtie Sox in 1977, the Toronto Blue Jays, from 1977-1978, and the Milwaukee Brewers from 1978 thru 1979.
Like Nordbrook, 60-year-old Jim Fuller, of Bethesda, also saw action with the Orioles, from 1973 thru 1974, before ending his career with the Houston Astros in 1977. All told, the first baseman / outfielder appeared in 107 games, and came to bat 35 times. He had 61 hits, including 11 homeruns.
Am I happy that there’s a 9-foot-tall bronze statue on the plaza between Washington Boulevard and Russell Street now adorning Camden Yards? Listen, I’ve met Brooks Robinson. He’s an affable man. He was a tremendous third baseman. He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame as a player.
As a labor leader, however, he’s been a woeful disappointment. And for that, the bluebird of happiness should poop on his statue!