Johnny Bench

Cornerstone at third base

Brooks Robinson's peers believe his defense wasn't just one of the Orioles' defining characteristics. His play at third base was the defining characteristic, they say. "The Orioles were built on having great defense, and Brooks was the cornerstone," said Ron Hansen, who played shortstop alongside Robinson in the early 1960s. Earl Weaver's tantrums and Cal Ripken's streak also became symbols of the franchise, but nothing over the decades ranks ahead of Robinson's defense. "That's the Baltimore Orioles right there," said George Kell, a Hall of Famer who tutored Robinson in the 1950s. Robinson smiled recently when he heard...