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Greg Pappas

What's your favorite interaction ever with an Orioles player, coach, or manager?

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Spring Training, late 90's. Happened by the batting cage under the stands during a game and got to watch Cal teaching his then-very-young kids to hit off a tee and run around "bases." Just them and me. I didn't dream of interrupting, and even felt a little weird watching. But it was a heartwarming reminder that even the greatest stars are just people.

Also had the pleasure of sitting next to Chris Hoiles and chatting for an entire game a few years back. Very cool dude, and a great experience.

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Paul Blair!  I was working at the Jacksonville Kennel Club in the late 80s up in the announcer booth area.  A good buddy of mine was the track handicapper, he knew I was a life-long Orioles fan and Paul Blair happened to be at the track that night taking in some races.  My friend brought up Paul to the booth and introduced me and he sat up there for about 3-4 races and we talked Orioles baseball.  It was a really cool experience!  

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I never really interacted with any player except Elrod. My cousin worked for the NSA with Tom Clancy's brother. We got Clancy's seats for a game; front row by the dugout. Talked to Elrod while he was signing auto graphs,and watched Eddie Murray hit on the TV camera lady next to the dugout, during the game. Saw Cal's wife, noticing her seats weren't as good. Sorry Cal.

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I am currently working on my doctorate at George Mason, and my dissertation is on the Orioles and what they mean to Baltimore. In one version of the dissertation, I began by writing, "If I ever had a son, I would like to name him Brooks after Brooks Robinson."  My wife (then-girlfriend) didn't like the line because she felt we would have no choice but to name our son, if we had one, after Brooks. She was not willing to commit to that.

Then, we finally met him. 

Brooks was doing an autograph signing at the Dugout Zone in Ellicott City in November 2014. If I remember this correctly, there were certain tickets you could purchase. There were tickets that enabled you to get a picture and autograph, and tickets that just allowed you to get an autograph. My wife and I found out about the signing late; as a result, we could only get the tickets that only allowed for an autograph.  

After the group who received a picture and autograph finished, we got in line based on our number. We moved up closer to Brooks, and I recall a family that was 10-15 people in front of us having Brooks sign for them. Their son was in a wheelchair, and the mother asked, "Mr. Robinson, would you be willing to take a picture with our son?"

The gentleman sitting next to Brooks said, "Unfortunately, the session for pictures has ended."

Brooks then cheerfully said, "Sure, I will be happy to take a picture." He proceeded to get out of his chair,  walk around the table, kneel down, and take a picture with the young man. Given Brooks's health issues at the time, the action was quite remarkable. The family was thrilled! 

The people that followed the family also asked for a picture and, while the person sitting next to Brooks said no, Brooks said yes. Everyone who wanted a picture got one; everyone who wanted messages included with their autograph got that, too. To paraphrase Roy Firestone, Brooks gave the people what they wanted, and he gave them more. 

When my wife and I reached the front of the line, I was shaking. The first thing that came out of my mouth was, "I waited my whole life to finally meet you!"

Brooks smiled, noticed my shaking, and said, "I've been here this whole time. What took you so long?" We all laughed. He took a picture with me and my wife and signed our ticket stubs from Game 2 of the 2014 ALDS.

I told him about my dissertation, and he seemed genuinely interested in it. When we finished, Brooks said, "I really appreciate you coming out to see me today. I wish you the best of luck in your studies."

Brooks Robinson was everything everyone said about him and then some. My wife and I walked back to my car and, as we sat down, my wife turned and said, "We can name our son Brooks."

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Boog Powell. Met him before ordering at his BBQ at CY. I’m sure many people have met him there, but for me it was the culmination of a lifetime of following the team from around the time he was with them. 

Met both Showalter and Adam Jones briefly at different venues in CA. Buck at an Angels game on the field which was pretty cool and Jones at his hitting exhibition  in SD with my kids. He refused a picture with them. 

Brooks would be my choice if I can get back there again. JP is right up there as well. 

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