At 75, Brooks Robinson can still throw a good one liner or two.
The legendary Baltimore Orioles third baseman was the U.S. Mint’s
choice to kick off the Mint’s design contest for the shared obverse of
the 2014 National Baseball Hall of Fame commemorative coins.
And once again the man nicknamed “The Human Vacuum Cleaner” for
his fielding delivered.
Robinson regaled a small crowd of coin collectors in an ornate
Senate hearing room April 11 as he helped launch a design contest for
the common obverse of three coins that benefit the Cooperstown, N.Y.,
baseball museum where he and other baseball greats are enshrined.
It’s not easy being one of those honored for a career that few of
today’s young people remember, Robinson told the audience in the
Senate Agriculture Committee hearing room.
He recalled driving up to a retirement home and being greeted by a
senior who he believed could remember his baseball career.
“Do you know who I am?” Robinson eagerly asked the man.
“No, but that lady over there will know who you are and which room
you are in,” the man told Robinson.
Robinson predicted that the set of three baseball coins will be an
overwhelming success because “everyone has a baseball memory.”
That’s about as precise as the 30-minute ceremony got about
details of the coins or the contest.
U.S. Treasurer Rosa “Rosie” Gumataotao Rios pointed out that the
New York baseball museum could get $9.5 million in surcharges from the
coins if all the 1.2 million gold $5 half eagles, silver dollars and
copper-nickel clad half dollars are sold.
And she said the Treasury Department hopes the first “curved”
coins ever produced by the U.S. Mint will prove to be a model for the
production of similar other coins by other nations.
But little discussion was held about the technical features of the
unusual gold coin and silver coin, which will each have convex and
concave sides. The half dollar will be a flat, traditionally shaped coin.
Mint officials were predicting that they would be flooded with
proposed designs for the coins as soon as the competition opened,
about an hour after the ceremony.
Any U.S. citizen or permanent resident aged 14 and above may enter
the contest, which will remain open until noon May 11 or until 10,000
entries are received.
The winner of the contest will be awarded $5,000 and have his or
her initials appear on the coins.
The Mint is sponsoring a separate contest for children 13 and
under, called “A Kid’s Baseball Coin Design Challenge.”
The winner of that contest will receive one of the silver dollars
and a certificate, according to the Mint.
Entries for the design contest and rules for the competition may
be found at the Mint’s website, www.usmint.gov.
Designs are to be submitted at www.challenge.gov.
Information about the kid’s challenge program is at www.usmint.gov/kids/kidsbatterup.
After the ceremony, Rios presented Robinson with a “money ball.”
It was a baseball covered by what appeared to be a $100 bill.
She signed the bill for Robinson, after having given him and
others her autograph on other pieces of paper currency.
“You know something is wrong with the world when Brooks Robinson
is asking for my autograph,” she joked.
Robinson autographed contest posters for the design contest and
baseballs during the ceremony.
He also said he was going to be one of judges of the design
contest and was looking forward to reviewing the designs.
“Every American can support baseball through these coins,” he said.
Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., one of the House sponsors of the
baseball coin legislation, pointed out that passage of that measure
was proof that bipartisan cooperation was still possible in Congress
and “a sign that we can get something done.” ■