Wednesday, February 26, 2014
SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Josh Hart needed a history lesson at spring training.
The outfielder, selected 37th overall in last June's amateur draft, was visiting Baltimore's major league spring training camp on Monday when manager Buck Showalter introduced him to Hall of Famer Frank Robinson. Showalter asked Hart if he knew who Robinson was. The 19-year-old did not.
Showalter has embraced Orioles history in his time as the team's manager and wanted to teach Hart a lesson.
"I said, 'OK, I want tomorrow by this time I want a page on Frank Robinson,'" Showalter explained. "I said, 'You go home, you research it and you come back tomorrow and have it on my desk.'"
A few hours before the Tuesday deadline, Showalter was asked whether Hart had completed the assignment. He emphasized Hart had to bring the paper to him and couldn't email it.
Hart quickly complied with Showalter's request. As the son of a high school principal, Baltimore's manager knows about the importance of completed homework assignments.
"I wasn't nervous at all, but I knew he was serious," Hart told MASNsports.com. "He's a serious man. He takes his job as strictly business, and I respect that. Whatever he says, it's done and that's a big plus. You've got to show him respect all the way."
Robinson's number 20 was retired by the Orioles after he led the team to four World Series, and he won the Triple Crown in 1966 when he was voted AL MVP. He became the major leagues' first black manager with Cleveland in 1975 and later returned to Baltimore as a coach, manager and executive.
He currently is MLB's executive vice President of baseball development.
Hart learned that and a lot more about Robinson in his project.
"I knew he was a Hall of Famer, but specifically, I didn't know anything about him," Hart said, "but I did my research and he's accomplished a lot."