Melvin remembers Orioles honoree Robinson

Melvin remembers Orioles honoree Robinson

Melvin remembers Orioles honoree Robinson
BALTIMORE -- Manager Bob Melvin remembers playing for Frank Robinson as an Oriole in 1989 and walking past his office several times, one time trying to figure out how to voice his displeasure at being left out of the lineup.

Robinson simply glanced at Melvin before asking, "Hey, did you want to talk to me?"

Melvin gathered his courage and told Robinson he should be in the lineup.

Robinson pulled out a new lineup card and said, "You are in the lineup."

That's just one of many memories Melvin has of Robinson, who was honored by the Orioles in a pregame ceremony that included the unveiling of a life-size statue of the Hall of Famer. Melvin moved up his pregame meeting with the media by 20 minutes and was prepared to miss batting practice so he could attend the ceremony.

"He means a lot to me," Melvin said. "He made me grow up as a player in this game. He challenged me, and at times he had me challenge him, which was a tough thing to do for someone who has so much respect for him and the history of the game."

Also attending the ceremony were fellow Orioles Hall of Famers Jim Palmer and Earl Weaver, in addition to Hank Aaron.

Melvin said that Robinson's hard-nosed style was not for everyone, but it made players better if they took his advice.

"He was pretty hard," he said. "A lot of guys had a difficult time with him, because he forced you to be a gamer. He has just a great baseball acumen."

Saturday also marked the anniversary of Robinson's first career home run -- a two-run shot off Chicago's Paul Minner in 1956.