COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – Juan Marichal and Brooks Robinson joined the elite of baseball as they were inducted into the Hall of Fame 28 years ago this week.
On Jan. 12, 1983 the Baseball Writers’ Association of America elected the long-time Orioles legend Robinson on his first appearance on ballot with 92 percent of the vote, and also elected the Dominican hero Marichal, who collected 83.7 percent of the vote on his third time around.
Robinson earned his place in Cooperstown through his terrific playmaking ability at third base. Known as The Human Vacuum Cleaner, Robinson set Major League career records for games, putouts, assists, chances, double plays and fielding percentage over the course of a 23-year career.
“Brooks’ reflexes are so fast he could take honey from a flying bee,” sportswriter Jimmy Cannon once recalled of Robinson’s skillful play at the hot corner. “He plays third base like a guy who answers the door bell before it rings.”
Robinson was named to 18 consecutive All-Star teams while collecting the 1964 American League MVP Award and 1970 World Series MVP.
Marichal had just as great of an impact on the game as well.
The pride of the Dominican Republic, Marichal starred for the San Francisco Giants for 14 seasons from 1960-73, winning 224 games while collecting 2,281 strikeouts before moving on to one season with both the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers respectively.
Joe Torre, the former big league manager who faced Marichal during their playing days, marveled at Marichal's precision.
“The only thing you knew was that it was going to be over the plate,” Torre said “You didn't know where it was going to come from or which part of the plate it was going to go over. He was remarkable. You could put a postage stamp down there and he could throw the ball over it.”
His signature high leg kick delivery led Marichal to nine All-Star game appearances during years where he won 20 or more games six times -- highlighted by a no-hitter in 1963. The Dominican Dandy twice led the National League in complete games and shutouts.
Matt Kramer was the 2010 public relations fall intern at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum