Hoyt Wilhelm

Gus Triandos: Baltimore's first sports hero

Gus Triandos: Baltimore's first sports hero

The year was 1959. I was 12 and shy to a fault. But an almost close encounter with my baseball hero, Gus Triandos, would change my life forever.

Big Gus exploded onto the Baltimore baseball landscape, and into the lives of countless youngsters like me, in 1955. Brooks Robinson arrived at about the same time, but he would need a little seasoning down on the farm before becoming the game's all-time third baseman.

Not so with Gus Triandos, a brawny, slow-footed catcher who wore number 11, and who, from an incredible spread-eagle stance, hit tape measure home runs in cavernous Memorial Stadium, a feat none of his...