Robinson didn't exactly strut to the dais, wrote Sun columnist Michael Olesker:

"[He] walked onto the induction stand looking shy and a little self-conscious, as though maybe a mistake had been made, that he'd gotten in on a pass somehow but was thrilled about it anyway."

Three times Robinson tried to speak over the din. When the tumult subsided, he addressed the audience for nine minutes with a simple eloquence.

Throughout my career, I was committed to the goodness of this game. ...

"I didn't try to memorize the speech," Robinson recalled. "I knew some parts by heart, like when I thanked the fans in Baltimore for putting up with me in good times and in bad.

"The truth is, I spoke better than I thought I could. In fact, I thought I nailed it."

Ron Shapiro, then Robinson's agent, agreed.

"When Brooks finished," he said, "people looked at each other and just smiled."

That evening, at a private dinner for Hall members, Robinson received his ceremonial ring and sat among men such as Stan Musial, Johnny Mize, Cool Papa Bell and Ted Williams.

"Imagine," Robinson said. "That's where you check your ego at the door."

Two old-timers - Bill Dickey and Bill Terry - shared a confession.

"They said they weren't in good health but that they wanted to make the trip that year to see me," said Robinson, who was flattered speechless.

The next day, a 23-year-old shortstop tried to tour the museum before the Orioles played in the annual Hall of Fame Game. But so many fans approached him that an overwhelmed Cal Ripken Jr. fled the building.

For that, he was scolded by his agent, Shapiro. "Let me tell you something, Cal. You owe those fans that," said Shapiro, who was quoted in The Evening Sun. "You owe them your autograph at the very least. They are the ones who make all you players. That's one reason Brooks is in the Hall of Fame - because he realized that."

Twenty-four years later, having a plaque in Cooperstown hasn't changed Robinson.

"Every month, I think about going back there to make sure no one takes it off the wall," he said. "There's Williams, with a lifetime batting mark of .344. And Joe DiMaggio. And Musial.

"And, oh, there's Brooks, who hit .267.

"How did I get into the Hall of Fame, anyway?"