Bob Milacki

Michael Phelps on giving Boomer medals, Oriole who snubbed him

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Michael Phelps rarely takes his Olympic medals out of hiding. So Phelps has one mandate should son Boomer one day want to take one of the 28 prizes for show-and-tell.

Dad has to come, too.

“They [the medals] are never out of my range of sight,” Phelps said on The Dan Patrick Show on Friday.

Phelps said he has taken his medals out once for a photo shoot, and that’s it.

He also was asked what sport he would most like to see Boomer excel.

“I always thought it would be so cool, like Sunday at the Masters, Boomer Phelps leads the Masters by three strokes or something,” said Phelps, who announced on Wednesday that he would play the pro-am at the Waste Management Open next month near his Arizona home.

Phelps also mentioned his “bad sports memory,” when he was growing up and Baltimore Orioles players snubbed him for autographs.

Phelps is from Baltimore, a huge Orioles fan, and even sat in the Camden Yards third-base-line seats at Cal Ripken Jr.’s famous 2,131 game on Sept. 6, 1995, where he broke Lou Gehrig‘s consecutive games-played streak.

Of the snubbing, Phelps said one pitcher in particular stood out, and he’ll never forget his name: Bob Milacki.

Milacki played eight years in the big leagues, compiling a mediocre 39-47 record with a 4.38 earned-run average. He pitched for the Orioles from 1988 through 1992, ending his Baltimore stint when Phelps was 7 years old.

Phelps did get plenty of Orioles autographs, though. He said he recently found a signed baseball in storage with the names of Mike MussinaChris HoilesBen McDonald (who won the 1988 Olympics with Team USA, when it was a demonstration sport), David Segui and Roberto Alomar. Given some of those players’ Orioles careers didn’t intersect, it could have been multiple baseballs.

But back to Milacki. The snub was likely the same story Phelps told in his first book, “Beneath the Surface,” excerpted below:

I remember one afternoon when I saw an Orioles pitcher standing over by the railing, near third base, talking to a friend of his. “I’m going to get his autograph,” I told my dad. “Michael, he’s talking to someone,” Dad said. “If you interrupt him now, it would be rude. Just stand near them and wait until they’re finished. Then you can ask him for his autograph, and I’m sure he’ll give it to you.” It didn’t quite work that way. As soon as the pitcher was finished talking, I spoke up, but he waved me off, because he didn’t feel like signing. My dad had been sitting in the background watching all this, but he shot up to the railing and just about undressed the pitcher in front of everyone. “Now why are you so special that you can’t sign one autograph for this boy? He was waiting for you for ten minutes. I know you saw him. He was the only one waiting and he was very polite. Do you really think you’d be playing baseball in Camden Yards if you didn’t have kids looking up to you like that? The pitcher never did come back to sign anything, but he did sort of crawl away.

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