Roberts to be inducted into O's Hall of Fame

Second baseman will be joined by longtime broadcaster Manfra

March 22nd, 2018

SARASOTA, Fla. -- In some ways, it feels like yesterday. On June 14, 2001, Brian Roberts made his Major League debut. It was the start of a 13-year career with Baltimore that will now be forever cemented in Orioles lore.

Roberts is the newest member of the Orioles Hall of Fame, with his election announced Thursday along with longtime radio broadcaster Fred Manfra, who is the recipient of the 2018 Herb Armstrong Award. The pair will be publicly inducted during an on-field ceremony before the Orioles' matchup against the Red Sox on Aug. 11 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

"I just feel blessed to have the opportunity to be alongside so many great Orioles," Roberts said. "I feel incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to play so long in Baltimore.

"Two thousand one seems like a long time ago, but on the other hand, it seems like yesterday. You try to soak it all in and you try to understand what it means at the time, but I don't think you do, because it's all happening so fast. … I enjoyed it, but I wish I could go back and do it again, for sure."

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Roberts is the all-time leader in virtually every major offensive category among Orioles second basemen. In his 13 years with Baltimore, Roberts' numbers ranked among the club's overall best in steals (278, second), doubles (351, fourth), triples (35, sixth), runs (810, sixth), walks (581, seventh) and hits (1,452, ninth). Roberts represented the Orioles in the All-Star Game twice, in 2005 and '07.

"Tell me a leadoff hitter like him in today's game. There is none," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Elusively, you're always looking for a leadoff hitter like Brian, and I don't think we're going to find him. It's very deserving. He was something.

"He's a guy you were looking at [in the opposite dugout, wondering] how many more times can you keep him from hitting, because it seemed like good things always happened. And he made himself into a good second baseman, too. I know what he meant to our club when he was healthy and available."

Roberts, who lives in Sarasota, Fla. , said it's been a pleasure to watch some of his former teammates -- like , Zach Britton and Chris Tillman -- continue their careers. While Roberts wasn't part of the winning years, he was there for the start of Showalter's time and felt the organization's shift out of years of losing.

Roberts has seen a lot of Hall of Fame ceremonies and joked he wanted his own to be short since no one likes a long speech.

"A lot of the guys I saw, I was teammates with at some point," said Roberts, who mentioned Mike Bordick and B.J. Surhoff as two of those. "It's a really special honor to be beside those guys, guys who mentored me and helped me get to this place today. I had so many incredible veterans that really took me under their wing and showed me the ropes and treated me like their son almost at the time. So I have seen a lot of them and I'm excited. Just overwhelmed a little bit still at this point."

So was Manfra, who retired from the O's booth last year. He spent 24 years calling games on the Orioles Radio Network, including the night Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played, as well as five postseason appearances for the club.

The Armstrong Award is given for outstanding service to baseball, presented to a non-uniformed person by the Orioles Advocates.

Manfra called many other marquee events outside Baltimore -- including the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Final and the Olympics -- and opened his interview by congratulating Roberts.

"It's really neat to be able to broadcast his entire Oriole career and it's a well-deserved honor for Brian Roberts, who was such a spark plug over the years as an Oriole. And such a great Oriole," Manfra said over the phone.

"For me, it's something I never expected. Having been an Oriole fan all my life, broadcasting the Orioles, it was the farthest thing from my mind that I would ever be mentioned among the great names that are in the Orioles Hall of Fame and the Herb Armstrong Award. It's something that's beyond belief and very humbling."