To how many halls of fame does Brooks Robinson belong?
"I've stopped counting," the former Orioles third baseman said. At 78, however, he's due one more.
On Thursday, at a luncheon at the Sports Legends Museum, Robinson was introduced as one of seven inductees this year in the Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame. He graciously accepted.
"This fulfills every accolade that I could have hoped to achieve," said Robinson, the Most Valuable Player in the 1970 World Series and a shoo-in at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in his first year of eligibility in 1983.
He joined the Orioles as an 18-year-old rookie in 1955, one year before the Maryland Hall of Fame was established to honor outstanding athletes native to the state. Three years ago, the organization chose to add those born elsewhere who've done Maryland proud.
Though raised in Arkansas, "I feel like a Marylander, man," said Robinson, who has lived here 60 years. "To be part of this is wonderful; it's awful nice of them to think of me."
Others in the Class of 2015 are Tom McMillen, a basketball player who starred at Maryland, on the 1972 U.S. Olympic team and in the NBA; the late John Mackey, a five-time Pro Bowl tight end who led the Baltimore Colts to three conference crowns and the 1971 Super Bowl; and Kevin Glover, an All-American center at Maryland who played 15 years in the NFL.
Also announced as members of the class were Bernard Williams (Carver), a world-class sprinter who won a gold medal in the 2000 Olympics, and a silver four years later; Del Dressel (Gilman), a four-year, first-team All American lacrosse player at Johns Hopkins; and Jeff Pyles, of Crofton, a member of the National Duckpin Bowling Congress Hall of Fame. All will be inducted at a ceremony Nov. 12 at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie.
That site suits McMillen, a 6-foot-11 center and Rhodes scholar who served in Congress from 1987 to 1993 and represented Anne Arundel County, then part of Maryland's 4th District.
"I've held a lot of campaign events at Michael's over the years," said McMillen, 63, who has a home near Ellicott City. "I'm happy to go back as a part of this [induction]."
At Maryland McMillen, from Mansfield, Pa.,, averaged 21 points and was a three-time All American. He played 12 years in the NBA, the last three with the Washington Bullets, before entering politics.
"I've always been forward-thinking. I've never lived my life for yesterday, but it's nice to be honored by the state in this capacity," said McMillen, now an investor and entrepreneur.
Mackey, a New York native, would have been pleased by the enshrinement, his wife said. He died in 2011.
"Baltimore is where John earned his status," Sylvia Mackey said. "Everything that put him in the NFL Hall of Fame started there. If not for the Colts, there wouldn't have been a Canton (Ohio)."
The Colts' second-round draft pick from Syracuse in 1963, Mackey revolutionized the tight end position, stretching the field to catch long passes from quarterback Johnny Unitas. His 38 touchdown receptions in nine years here included a twice-tipped pass in Super Bowl V, a 16-13 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
He also served as outspoken president of the NFL Players Association, organizing a players strike in 1970 that brought them $11 million in pensions and benefits.
Mackey, who died of dementia, embraced Maryland to the end, his wife said.
"As his sickness worsened John contined to say, 'I work for the Baltimore Colts.' That is what he knew; that is what stuck with him," Sylvia Mackey said.
Dressel, a midfielder, scored 99 career goals in leading Hopkins to consecutive NCAA Division I lacrosse championships in 1984 and 1985.
"I'm grateful and very humble to be named with these individuals," said Dressel, 52, a psychiatrist. He was enshrined in the U.S. Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2002.
Glover, 52, called his induction "a huge deal because, as an offensive lineman, you don't really think about this."
Raised in Largo, he was Detroit's second-round pick in the 1985 NFL draft and made the Pro Bowl three times.
"It's amazing to think my name will be on the wall alongside guys like Wes Unseld (basketball) and Renaldo Nehemiah (track and field)," Glover said of previous inductees. "This is a dream come true."
Pyles, who was the nation's top-ranked duckpin bowler for 15 years, agreed. Upon hearing of his selection, "I got goosebumps on my arms," he said. "I mean, to be going in with Brooks Robinson, holy cow!"
The MSAHOF also announced two winners of the John F. Steadman Lifetime Achievement Award — Ed Hale, owner of the Baltimore Blast soccer team, and Jack Zane, sports information director at the University of Maryland from 1969 to 1988. The award is named for the late sports editor of the Baltimore News-American and sports columnist for The Baltimore Sun.