It’s the most wonderful time of the year — for baseball fans.
Major League Baseball kicked off its 2014 season this week, and while young sluggers across the country hit the field on Opening Day with dreams of leaving their mark on the sport, two masters of America’s pastime celebrated a newly minted tribute to the game — literally.
Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson and Joe Morgan joined the U.S. Mint in launching the 2014 Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin. The first of its kind curved coin is designed to look like a baseball and glove, with the curved side of the coin resembling a baseball and the concaved side depicting a baseball glove.
“They are pretty snazzy,” said Brooks Robinson, dubbed “The Human Vacuum Cleaner” for his famous plunges for the ball as third baseman for the Baltimore Orioles. “This is the first time the U.S. has ever done anything like this, and it was quite a project for them.”
“I think it's great,” famed base-stealer and batter Joe Morgan told “Power Players.”
While both players hung up their caps years ago, Robinson said each spring he still reminisces about his times on the field. “Going to spring training, it was like a paid vacation really more than anything else, but this time of the year, you can kind of feel it in the air,” he said.
The two played in different leagues in the years their careers intersected but each knew of the other’s abilities when it came to playing ball.
“He charged the ball from third base like no one else in the history of the game,” Morgan said of his fellow slugger. “We are still trying to get guys to go forward. With Brooks, every time that ball hit the ground … he charged.”
Robinson similarly admired Morgan’s game, “He did everything, stole bases, played an outstanding second base, hit for power, and I am amazed that someone could do that.”
Both former players said the game has changed a lot since they last hit the dugout.
“I like to think that Brooks Robinson, myself, the guys that played back in the [day??], had a little bit more fun,” Morgan said. “Everybody's under a little bit more scrutiny right now than they were before.”
Robinson and Brooks say modern technology and larger salaries are major factors in the game’s transformation.
“Everything is scrutinized so much and the money has made a big difference,” Robinson said. He later added, “They’re more protective of the players when you are making two or three, or four, or five million dollars a year. They just don't take any chances, so if a kid’s got to a little sore arm, disable list.”
The controversial Instant Replay feature that MLB is debuting this season, they agreed, is going to further change the game.
“I think the biggest criticism of people who come to the ballpark is [it's] too long. And I think that's not going to help the game at all,” Robinson said.
“I think what baseball is trying to do is move into the new ‘now’ generation,” Morgan added. “Football has replay, every other sport has replay, and so I think baseball kind of followed suit. I'm still one of those guys that believe that the umpires do a good job. And I also believe that that's part of the game. … You make a mistake”
For more of the interview with Brooks Robinson and Joe Morgan, including how Morgan felt before a match-up with Robinson on the field, watch this episode of “Power Players.”
ABC News’ Jordyn Phelps, Serena Marshall, Tom Thornton, Tom D’Annibale and Gary Rosenberg contributed to this episode.