Photo credit: Kyle Mace
A group of superstar athletes, including Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III, signed for fans at an autograph show in Chantilly, Virginia last week. Also appearing at that show were two men, one named after the other. Washington Capitals forward Brooks Laich and Baltimore Orioles great Brooks Robinson signed autographs, and at the end of the event, they finally met.
A few days later, Laich posted a photo of the two on Twitter with the caption, “Special honor for me to meet the man I was named after, Orioles HOF 3rd baseman Brooks Robinson, absolute class act.” That made Capitals and Orioles crossover fans very happy.
Laich told Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post about the experience. “A lot of times we see fans who are sort of awestruck meeting us; for me, that was the reverse side of it.” Laich said he called his dad right after meeting the “Human Vacuum Cleaner” to tell him about the experience. Laich said meeting the baseball Hall of Famer was on his bucket list.
Laich’s father became a fan of Robinson during the Orioles’ magical runs to the World Series during the late 1960s. “He seemed to have just a great approach to the game,” Harold Laich told the National Post. “So he always stuck in my mind as a great competitor – and I said if we ever had a son, we were going to name him Brooks.” Harold had the same idea as many other Orioles fans. People in Baltimore loved Brooks so much, they would name their kids after him, and they still do.
Tuesday night in York, Pennsylvania, the place where Robinson got his start in professional baseball, the Atlantic League’s York Revolution honored the Orioles great by retiring his number. Then after the event, he was asked about meeting Laich, but we also learned of Robinson’s hockey connection.
“My wife grew up on hockey. Her dad owned a hockey team in Canada, the Windsor Spitfires, so she loves hockey. She’ll flip hockey on the TV when I’m watching baseball. I told him I was going to come to a Caps game. I’ve only been over there once or twice.
“Every time I see a Brooks something, my wife will say, ‘Well you know he was named after you.’ I always say, ‘Well I don’t know about that,” said Robinson. “I was at a card show in Chantilly, Virginia and Brooks Laich came by and introduced himself. I told him ‘You aren’t going to believe this, Brooks, but my wife kept saying that you are named after me,’ and bygolly, he said he was!”
Robinson also felt privileged to meet Laich. “I enjoy when someone comes up to me and tells me their son was named after me. We’ve got a whole list of them back in Baltimore and it’s quite an honor.”