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Sept. 29, 1976

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As the end of the 1976 season neared, Orioles icon Brooks Robinson made a comment to the effect that he wasn't sure whether he would come back and play another season or not.

The Orioles' front office hurriedly let it be known that the final home game of the season on Sept. 29 would be declared "Thanks, Brooks" Night, just in case Brooks really did decide to go ahead and retire.

Even though it was a weeknight and I had to be back at work in Philadelphia the next morning, I didn't want to miss Brooks' last home appearance, so I made my way to Baltimore for the game.

Apparently not too many fans believed that Brooks would really retire (though, considering his performance in 1977, perhaps he should have) as the official announced attendance was only 8,119.  I guess there was a brief ceremony before the game, though I don't remember any specifics.

The Orioles lost the game, 6-3.  Although Doug DeCinces had pretty much taken over the job of third baseman for Baltimore, Brooks started this game at third base.  He went hitless in his first three at-bats but produced a single in his final trip to the plate in the eighth inning.  He was removed for pinch-runner Bob Bailor, as those of us in attendance gave him a standing ovation.

A couple of other interesting notes about that game.  Henry Aaron, playing with the Milwaukee Brewers that night, produced the final extra-base hit (a double) and scored the final run of his major league career.

And making the first start of his major league pitching career that night was Scott McGregor, who seven years later would pitch a shutout in the deciding game of the World Series.  He is still the last pitcher to win a World Series game for the Orioles.

I remember this night as what may be the final game of Adam Jones' days with the Orioles approaches this Sunday.  If any current Oriole approaches Brooks' status as the most respected veteran member of the team, Mr. Jones surely fits the description.  I'll be there on Sunday, and it's going to feel a bit like that September day 42 years ago.

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