Palmer, F. Robinson are honorary AL co-captains

June 11, 1993|By Mark Hyman | Mark Hyman,Staff Writer

You won't find their names on any All-Star ballot, but two of the most celebrated Orioles will have visible roles in the 64th All-Star Game.

Hall of Famers Jim Palmer and Frank Robinson have been picked as honorary co-captains of the American League squad. AL president Bobby Brown finalized selection of the two Orioles stars this week, and a formal announcement on the honorary captains is expected soon.

"It's special to be an honorary captain any time, but that's especially true in your hometown," Palmer said. "As somebody who cares greatly about baseball and is still involved in the game . . . it's very exciting."

Honorary captains don't hit, pitch or manage in the All-Star Game. For the most part, they simply are guests of Major League Baseball. They attend a news conference, dress in game uniforms and are introduced with the players before the game, always to thunderous ovations. Often, the All-Star managers ask them to serve an inning or two as first-base coach.

Phyllis Merhige, an American League spokeswoman, declined to discuss selection of this year's captains, but said the league tries to choose "a great ex-player who has some natural connection to the city in which the game is being played."

"Often, in a year when someone gets into the Hall of Fame, we try to honor them in this way, but there is no hard and fast rule," she said.

Neither Brown nor Robinson could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The National League has not announced its honorary captain for next month's game, set for July 13 at Camden Yards.

Honorary captains have been appointed for the past 18 All-Star games, but Robinson and Palmer are the first to share. The idea apparently originated with Palmer, who said Brown offered him the captain's job for the Baltimore game during Palmer's Hall of Fame induction in 1990.

Then last month, Palmer learned that Robinson had never been an honorary captain. He spoke to Brown to ask about expanding the job to two honorees, and Brown agreed, Palmer said. The only other Orioles player to serve as honorary captain was Brooks Robinson in 1978.

"I would have felt very uncomfortable if he was not honored," said Palmer of Robinson, an Orioles teammate from 1966 until 1971. "It's just the appropriate thing to do because he meant so much to the franchise."

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