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Brooks Robinson

Third baseman
Born: May 18, 1937 (1937-05-18) (age 72)
Little Rock, Arkansas
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
September 17, 1955 for the Baltimore Orioles
Last MLB appearance
August 13, 1977 for the Baltimore Orioles
Career statistics
Batting average     .267
Hits     2,848
Home runs     268
Runs batted in     1,357
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction     1983
Vote     91.98%

Brooks Calbert Robinson, Jr. (born May 18, 1937 in Little Rock, Arkansas[1 ]) is an American former third baseman in Major League Baseball.[1 ][2] He played his entire 23-year career with the Baltimore Orioles (195577).[1 ] Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983. [3]

Robinson began his professional baseball career as an 18 year old with the Orioles, and gained great renown for his fielding ability. Nicknamed "The Human Vacuum Cleaner"[4], he is generally acclaimed as the greatest defensive third-baseman of all time.[5] He won 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards during his career,[6] tied with pitcher Jim Kaat for the second most all-time for any player at any position.



Robinson was drafted by the Orioles as an amateur free agent in 1955.[7] In 1964, Robinson had his best season offensively, hitting for a .318 batting average with 28 home runs and led the league with 118 runs batted in, winning the American League Most Valuable Player Award.[1 ] [8] In the American League MVP voting, he received 18 of the 20 first-place votes, with Mickey Mantle finishing second. [8] In 1966, he was voted the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, and finished second to team mate Frank Robinson in the American League Most Valuable Player Award voting, as the Orioles went on to win the 1966 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers.[9 ][10][11][12]

In the 1970 post-season, Robinson hit for a .583 batting average in the 1970 American League Championship Series against the Minnesota Twins. [13] In the 1970 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds, Robinson had a .429 batting average with 2 home runs, [13] however, it was his defensive prowess at third base that stood out, making several impressive plays during the series that robbed the Reds of apparent base hits.[14 ][15] His performance won him the World Series MVP Award presented by SPORT magazine,[9 ] as well as the Hickok Belt as top professional athlete of the year.[16] After the 1970 World Series, Cincinnati Reds manager Sparky Anderson quipped, "I'm beginning to see Brooks in my sleep. If I dropped this paper plate, he'd pick it up on one hop and throw me out at first."[17]

In his playing career, Robinson was selected for the All-Star team in 15 consecutive years (1960-74), and played in four World Series.[1 ] He compiled a .267 career batting average with 2,848 hits, 268 home runs and 1357 runs batted in.[1 ] Robinson led the American League in fielding percentage a record 11 times, and at the time of his retirement, his .971 career fielding average was the highest ever for a third baseman. [18] His totals of 2870 games played at third base, 2697 career putouts, 6205 career assists, 8902 career total chances and 618 double plays, were records for third basemen at the time of his retirement. [18] Robinson's 23 seasons with one team set a new major league record, since tied by Carl Yastrzemski. Only Yastrzemski (3308), Hank Aaron (3076) and Stan Musial (3026) played more games for one franchise. [18] Robinson also hit into four triple plays during his career, a major league record. He commented, "I wouldn't mind seeing someone erase my record of hitting into four triple plays."[19]


When the Orioles started their team Hall of Fame, Brooks and Frank Robinson were the first two men inducted. Following his retirement as a player, Robinson began a successful career as a color commentator for the Orioles' television broadcasts. In 1982, local television WMAR's on air newsteam in Baltimore, Maryland went on strike and picketed the WMAR headquarters for the two months approaching the baseball season. When Robinson refused to cross the picket line, WMAR management re-opened the negotiations and the strike ended the next day.


At the conclusion of his final season in 1977, his jersey number 5 was retired by the Orioles.[20] Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983, one of only 16 players to have been honored on the first ballot (not including the five charter members chosen in the first election in 1936). [3] Considered among the greatest all-time Orioles, Robinson and the man usually considered the greatest Baltimore Colt football player, Johnny Unitas, had plaques in their honor in the lobby of Baltimore's Memorial Stadium. When the Orioles played their last game there on October 6, 1991, Brooks and Unitas were invited to throw out the ceremonial first balls. (Unitas threw a football.) After the conclusion of the game, several Oriole players took the field in the uniforms of their time and stood at their old positions on the field, Brooks was chosen to be the first player to come out (Cal Ripken, Jr. was chosen to be the last).

In 1999, he ranked Number 80 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.[21][22]

A longtime supporter of Scouting, Robinson served for many years on the executive board of the Baltimore Area Council, Boy Scouts of America and is a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award. On December 5, 2006 he was recognized for his accomplishments on and off of the field when he received the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award. On May 16, 2007, Radio Tower Drive, a road in Pikesville, Maryland was renamed "Brooks Robinson Drive" in honor of Robinson's 70th birthday.[23]

On July 2, 2008, the minor league team in York, Pennsylvania, where Robinson got his start, held a ceremony honoring him for being voted as a member on the All-Time Rawlings Gold Glove Team.[24] The award was created by Rawlings and voted by fans to celebrate the golden anniversary of the award.


  • Brooks Robinson started his career at Lamar Porter Field, a neighborhood baseball field in Little Rock, Arkansas.[25]
  • In 2008, Brooks released a charity wine called Brooks Robinson Chardonnay with all of his proceeds donated to the Baltimore Community Foundation in a fund created in the name of Brooks and his wife Connie Robinson.
  • Brooks Robinson currently serves as president of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA), an organization that assists players and fans to interact off the field. Major League legends Bob Boone, George Brett, Chuck Hinton, Mike Hegan, Robin Yount, Rusty Staub, Carl Erskine and Al Kaline preside as Vice Presidents. As well as the non-profit missions of the MLBPAA, the organization assists former major-leaguers through its wholly owned for-profit organizations MLAM (Major League Alumni Marketing), and MLAS (Major League Alumni Services). MLAM goals include implementing a player pool and gaining compensation for former players through appearances and endorsements, while protecting the name and likeness of former players from unauthorized uses.

Robinson is one of the investors in the Opening Day Partners group, of which owns four teams in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. The group named the Brooks Robinson Plaza at the entrance of Sovereign Bank Stadium in York, Pennsylvania in his honor. In the 1970s, Robinson published his autobiography entitled "Third Base is My Home." The book is notorious for the story about how he met his future wife. She was a flight attendant on an Orioles team flight, and he was so smitten with her, he kept ordering iced teas from her until he eventually ended up helping her in the galley.


Orioles5 retired.png
Brooks Robinson's number 5 was retired by the Baltimore Orioles in 1977

Perhaps the greatest accolades he received as a player came from his opponents. After the 1970 World Series upon seeing him receive his World Series MVP award ceremony in which he received a brand new Toyota as part of his award, Cincinnati Reds catcher Johnny Bench said, "Gee! If we had known he wanted a new car that bad, we'd have chipped in and bought him one."[14 ]

"I'm beginning to see Brooks (Robinson) in my sleep. If I dropped a paper plate, he'd pick it up on one hop and throw me out at first." - Sparky Anderson

"That kid plays third base like he came down from a higher league." - Umpire Ed Runge

"Brooks never had a candy bar named after him. In Baltimore, people named their children after him." - Gordon Beard

"Very nice (play)...where do they plug Mr. Hoover in?" - Lee May

See also

External links


  1. ^ a b c d e f Brooks Robinson at Baseball Reference
  2. ^ Brooks Robinson at Baseball Almanac
  3. ^ a b Brooks Robinson at the Baseball Hall of Fame
  4. ^ Baseball Hall of Fame entry for Brooks Robinson
  5. ^ All-Time Best Third Basemen Starred as Hitters, Fielders, by Bob Kuenster, Baseball Digest, September 1994, Vol. 53, No. 9, ISSN 0005-609X
  6. ^ List of Gold Glove Award winners at Baseball Reference
  7. ^ Brooks Robinson Trades and Transactions at Baseball Almanac
  8. ^ a b 1964 American League Most Valuable Player Award voting results at Baseball Reference
  9. ^ a b Post-season Awards at Baseball Reference
  10. ^ 1966 All Star Game at Baseball Almanac
  11. ^ 1966 American League Most Valuable Player Award voting results at Baseball Reference
  12. ^ 1966 World Series at Baseball Reference
  13. ^ a b Brooks Robinson post-season statistics at Baseball Reference
  14. ^ a b ESPN: Top 10 Plays of All Time
  15. ^ The Incomparable Brooks Robinson, Baseball Digest, Jan 1971, Vol. 30, No. 1, ISSN 0005-609X
  16. ^ Brooks Robinson at hickok sports
  17. ^ Quotes about Brooks Robinson
  18. ^ a b c Tips on Third Base Defense Shared by Brooks Robinson Baseball Digest, June 1995, Vol. 54, No. 6, ISSN 0005-609X
  19. ^ Brooks Robinson Quotes at Baseball Almanac
  20. ^ Baltimore Orioles retired numbers at
  21. ^ Brooks Robinson at The Sporting News 100 Greatest Baseball Players
  22. ^ Brooks Robinson at The Major League Baseball All-Century Team
  23. ^ Baltimore County news release
  24. ^ Brooks Robinson at the Rawlings All Time Gold Glove Award winners
  25. ^ "Stifft Station Historic District, Little Rock, Pulaski County". Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. Retrieved 2008-05-19.  
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Dick Stuart
American League RBI Champion
Succeeded by
Rocky Colavito
Preceded by
Elston Howard
American League Most Valuable Player
Succeeded by
Zoilo Versalles
Preceded by
Juan Marichal
Major League Baseball All-Star Game
Most Valuable Player

Succeeded by
Tony Perez
Preceded by
Vern Law
Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
Succeeded by
Ernie Banks
Preceded by
Donn Clendenon
World Series MVP
Succeeded by
Roberto Clemente
Preceded by
Al Weis
Babe Ruth Award
Succeeded by
Roberto Clemente
Preceded by
Tom Seaver
Hickok Belt Winner
Succeeded by
Lee Trevino

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