Brooks Robinson dies at 86

Brooks Robinson dies at 86

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The beloved Hall of Famer was one of the greatest defenders in baseball history, winning 16 Gold Gloves

12:28 am UTC

Brooks Robinson, the legendary third baseman and Hall of Famer who became affectionately known as “Mr. Oriole” for spending his entire 23-year big league career in Baltimore, has died at the age of 86.

“All of us in Major League Baseball are saddened by the passing of Brooks Robinson, one of the greats of our national game and a Baltimore Orioles legend,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Brooks was one of the greatest defensive players of all time. He was a two-time World Series champion, the 1964 American League MVP and winner of 16 consecutive Gold Gloves at third base. He was a model of excellence, durability and loyalty to the Orioles. and winning baseball. After his playing career, he continued to contribute to the game by working with the MLB Players Alumni Association.

“I will always remember Brooks as a true gentleman who represented our game exceptionally well on and off the field throughout his life. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I would like to express my gratitude to Brooks’ family, his contribution to our game, “I express my deepest condolences to his many friends and Orioles fans everywhere.”

The Orioles released a statement on behalf of the team and Robinson’s family: “We are deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of Brooks Robinson. An integral part of our Orioles family since 1955, he will continue to leave a lasting impact on us ” The club, our community and the game of baseball.”

Nicknamed “The Human Vacuum Cleaner” for his exceptional defense at the hot corner, Robinson won 16 Gold Glove Awards, the most by any non-pitcher in baseball history and tied for second most by any player, tying pitcher Jim Catt. But it is. Only Greg Maddux (18) has more wins.

Robinson was an 18-time All-Star, the 1964 American League MVP Award winner, and a two-time World Series champion (1966 and ’70), while he was also named MVP of the Fall Classic in ’70. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983, and became the first third baseman to be elected in his first year of eligibility.

Although he ultimately became synonymous with Baltimore during his playing career and after his retirement, Brooks Calbert Robinson Jr. was born on May 18, 1937, in Little Rock, Ark., where he attended Little Rock Central High School and played baseball. Started playing. at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In 1955, Robinson signed with the Orioles for $4,000 and made his debut for the team later that year at the age of 18.

From 1955–59, Robinson played in only 304 games for the O’s, spending some time in the minor leagues and battling several injuries. But soon after, Robinson became a fixture in the Orioles’ lineup, where he would remain a stalwart player for most of two decades.

Robinson’s breakout year came in 1960, when he was named an All-Star for the first time and won his first Gold Glove. He was an All-Star every year through ’74 and a Gold Glover every year through ’75.

While Robinson held his own at the plate, it was his glove work that always surprised everyone.

The late Hall of Famer and Orioles legend Frank Robinson once said, “He was the best defensive player in any position.” “I used to stand in the outfield like a fan and watch him play game after game. I thought, ‘Wow! I can’t believe it.'”

As the Orioles excelled in the late 1960s and early ’70s, Brooks Robinson helped lead the franchise to its first two World Series titles in ’66 and ’70. Later, he went 9-for-21 with two doubles, two homers, five runs and six RBI in a five-game series against the Reds.

In the mid-1970s, Robinson’s playing time decreased. With Doug DeCinces emerging as Baltimore’s starting third baseman in ’76, Robinson appeared in only 71 games that year.

Robinson nevertheless returned for the 1977 season, serving as player-coach. But he played only 24 games, and on August 21 – when the Orioles needed to clear a roster spot for Rick Dempsey’s return from injury – Robinson ended his playing career by voluntarily going on the retired list at the age of 40. Gave. ,

However, this was far from the end of Robinson’s time in Baltimore, even if he was no longer regularly on the infield dirt at Memorial Stadium. He was there the following year when his number 5 was retired on 14 April 1978. Robinson also served as a color commentator for the team’s television broadcasts from 1978–92.

Robinson never moved out of Maryland, living there until his death with his wife, Connie, whom he met on an Orioles team flight in 1959 while she was working as a flight attendant. Robinson is survived by Connie and his four children – sons Brooks David, Chris and Michael, and daughter Diana.

Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer, Robinson’s Orioles teammate from 1965–77, said, “He was very nice, cordial and kind. Great player and great role model.” “Once you’ve decided who you want to emulate, you’ll go, ‘Brooks Robinson.’ Because he was the real deal. He was a real person. There was no acting or trying to play a role. We were just lucky to have him in our lives. Like [former O’s first baseman] boog [Powell] Said, ‘I loved her.’ And I think we all did that.”

Despite Robinson having health problems later in his life, he was never away from the O’s for long. In 2009, he was successfully treated for prostate cancer. He had emergency surgery in ’11 after he developed an infection after a routine procedure before that. In January 2012, Robinson fell backwards into his chair from an elevated platform at a charity banquet in Florida, breaking his scapula and requiring hospitalization.

Nevertheless, Robinson came to Camden Yards on September 29, 2012, when a statue of him was unveiled beyond the bullpens in left-center field at Legends Park, joining the previously dedicated statues of the other five inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame as Orioles. Was done with. :Eddie Murray, Palmer, Cal Ripken Jr., Frank Robinson and Earl Weaver. It was the second statue of Robinson created in Baltimore; There is also one just outside the ballpark on the plaza between Washington Boulevard and Russell Street. And on that statue, Robinson’s glove is appropriately gold.

Statue of Brooks Robinson outside Oriole Park in Camden Yards.

The O’s regularly invited Robinson back for more special events, such as “Thanks, Brooks Day” on September 24, 2022, which celebrated the 45th anniversary of his retirement.

They were all tributes and celebrations of the lasting impact Robinson left on the Orioles and on Baltimore – perhaps greater than any other player in team history and any other athlete in the city’s long past.

Robinson may have been viewed as a superstar in Charm City, but he approached that status with a humility that endeared him to his fans even more. He demonstrated that humility throughout his life and for this his legacy will be remembered by future generations.

Longtime Associated Press sports writer Gordon Beard once wrote, “Brooks never asked anyone to name a candy bar after him.” “In Baltimore, people named their children after him.”

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