Orioles great Brooks Robinson puts World Series rings, MVP trophy up for auction
BALTIMORE — Brooks Robinson spent decades surrounded by the trophies and souvenirs he gathered during his Hall of Fame career with the Baltimore Orioles.
The shelves in his study are now bare, the result of Robinson's carefully considered decision to auction off more than 200 cherished items to raise money for charity.
The inventory includes his World Series rings from 1966 and 1970, each of Robinson's 16 Gold Gloves and the jewel of the collection, his 1964 MVP Trophy.
Chris Ivy, director of sports collectibles for Heritage Auctions, figures the MVP Award will receive a bid of at least $100,000. He anticipates each of the World Series rings to bring bids of approximately $80,000.
Heritage has projected the entire lot to bring in around $850,000, a total Ivy said is conservative.
"I expect it to go north of $1 million," he said.
The items include game-worn home and away uniforms, the Hickok Belt that Robinson received as the top athlete of 1970, bats he used in several All-Star games and the Hall of Fame induction pin he received in 1983.
"The Hall of Fame ring is all I have left," Robinson said.
His decision to auction off his memorabilia has nothing to do with filling his pockets.
"I'm fine," Robinson said. "I don't need the money."
Robinson, 78, says "every cent" will go to the Constance and Brooks Robinson Foundation for distribution to worthy causes.
"My children, they have everything they ever wanted from my collection," Robinson said. "We've been very blessed, my whole family, all the years we've been in Baltimore. So it's time to give back."
It was not an abrupt decision.
"My wife and I have been discussing this for seven or eight years, talking about what are we going to do with the memorabilia that I have," he said. "We just decided that this was the way to go."
Robinson retired in 1977 and had plenty of time to savor the mementos of a 23-year career.
"I enjoyed looking at them," he said. "After it was all gone I think I had a little seller's remorse, but it is what it is. I'm looking forward to the auction."
Ivy, who helped the Stan Musial family sell his collection in 2013, understands completely how Robinson must feel.
"That's natural. These are items that are collected through a lifetime of accomplishment," Ivy said. "But he's selling for all the right reasons."
Robinson has also offered a Norman Rockwell original painting for private sale in conjunction with the auction, with the proceeds also going to charity. The art work shows Robinson signing an autograph for a young fan leaning over the fence.
"That painting alone could dwarf the sale of the collectables," Ivy said.
Ivy said Christie's, a famous auction house, sold a Rockwell painting called "The Rookie" for $22 million.
The online auction for the Brooks Robinson Collection starts Tuesday and runs through Nov. 6. The website for Heritage Auctions is HA.com.