Nolan H. Rogers in 1998. (Andre Chung, The Baltimore…)
Nolan H. Rogers, a former Duke University lacrosse star who later became a Maryland assistant attorney general and the official tour guide and historian for Oriole Park at Camden Yards, died May 2 of complications from cancer at Sinai Hospital.
The longtime Mount Washington resident was 82.
"Obviously, Nolan was present at the creation of the Camden Yards project, for which he did all of the land acquisition. He played a very important role in the development of the project," said Michael J. Frenz executive director of the Maryland Stadium Authority. "He also knew its history, gave tours, and was a liaison to the team."
"You've heard that phrase that 'He'd give you the shirt off his back'; well, they coined that for Nolan Rogers," said Lou Kousouris, vice president of the Orioles. "If I mentioned I liked something, the next morning it would be on my desk when I came to work. He was the very best, and they don't come any better than Nolan."
The son of Solomon Rogers, an attorney, and Florence Askins Rogers, a community activist, Nolan Howard Rogers was born in Baltimore and raised on Brooks Lane in Pikesville.
After graduating in 1949 from City College, he enrolled at Duke University.
"Nolan was an outstanding high school athlete in Baltimore and a two-sport athlete, varsity basketball and lacrosse, at Duke University," said Steve Stenersen, CEO of US Lacrosse and a longtime friend.
Mr. Rogers was captain of the Duke lacrosse team. In his senior year, he was a third-team All-American defenseman and played in the North-South All-Star game.
While attending the University of Maryland School of Law, from which he earned his law degree in 1956, Mr. Rogers played for the Maryland Lacrosse Club. In 1970, he earned a master's degree from the Johns Hopkins University.
From 1956 to 1960, he served as a captain in Army counterintelligence and as a legal officer assigned to the Pentagon and the 8th Infantry Division in Bad Kreuznach, Germany.
In 1960, he started a career as a Maryland assistant attorney general that spanned more than three decades and six attorneys general. For two decades, Mr. Rogers served as a criminal extradition officer and an adviser to four governors, Marvin Mandel, Blair Lee III, Harry R. Hughes and William Donald Schaefer.
In his role as an assistant attorney general, he served as chief counsel to the State Highway Administration from 1971 to 1988, where he supervised a staff of 18 attorneys throughout the state who were responsible for the acquisition of property for highway and bridge programs and the state's Department of Parks and Recreation.
"I remember Nolan testifying before the legislature in Annapolis, and he was always well-versed in state road issues," said former Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. "He also liked the idea of being able to show off our two stadiums, which are major assets. "
From 1988 to 1991, when he retired, Mr. Rogers was responsible for all legal activities relating to the acquisition of property and relocation of tenants on the site that became Camden Yards for the Maryland Stadium Authority.
In 1991, as Camden Yards was rising on the site, Mr. Nolan said in an interview with The Evening Sun: "This park will have the feel of an old-time park like Fenway, but it will have the most modern, state-of-the-art conveniences."
"On his retirement as an assistant attorney general, he developed and began to lead tours of Camden Yards, then under construction, and after the ballpark opened, researching and lecturing on the historic significance of the Camden Yards site," recalled Hebert J. Belgrad, former chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority.
"Nolan made Camden Yards come alive for the many ball fans and tourists who had the opportunity to have him lead their tours. For one and all, to know Nolan was to love him," said Mr. Belgrad. "An important part of the history and beauty of Camden Yards is gone."
Mr. Rogers specialized in such arcana as how the streets surrounding the ballpark — Pratt, Camden and Eutaw — were named.
"Nolan had a mind like a steel trap and could recall historical facts and deliver them with a sense of humor," said Mr. Stenersen.
"He was still coming to work and giving VIP tours and tours to school kids until fairly recently," said Mr. Frenz. "He had so much affection for this park, as we did for him."
"All the historical verbiage for the tours was researched and written by Nolan. And he'd take his time for anyone who wanted a tour, whether they were celebrities or little guys," said Mr. Kousouris.
He also gave tours of M&T Bank Stadium.
"If Art Modell called and asked him to give a VIP a tour of Ravens stadium, he'd do it," said his daughter, Suzie Rogers Stevens of Reisterstown.