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Brooks Robinson dies at the age of 86

Brooks Robinson dies at the age of 86

Brooks Robinson dies at the age of 86

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

September 26, 2023

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

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

The Orioles released a statement on behalf of the team and Robinson’s family: “We are deeply saddened to share the news of Brooks Robinson’s passing. He has been an integral part of the Orioles family since 1955, and will continue to have a lasting impact on our team, the club, our community and the sport 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 the second most by any player, along with pitcher Jim Catt. Only Greg Maddox (18) has won more.

Robinson was an 18-time All-Star, winning the American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1964 and a two-time World Series Champion (1966 and ’70), while also being named the Fall Classic’s Most Valuable Player in ’70. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983, Becoming the first third baseman to be elected in his first year of eligibility.

Although he eventually became synonymous with the city of Baltimore during his playing career and after his retirement, Brooks Calbert Robinson Jr. was born on May 18, 1937 in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he attended Little Rock Central High School and continued to play baseball. At the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In 1955, Robinson signed with the Orioles for $4,000, and made his debut with the team later that year when he was 18 years old.

From 1955 to 1959, Robinson played just 304 games for the O’s, spending time in the minor leagues and dealing with numerous injuries. But soon after, Robinson became a fixture in the Orioles lineup, where he was a stalwart for the better part of two decades.

Robinson’s breakout year came in 1960, when he was named an All-Star for the first time and earned his first Gold Glove. He was then an All-Star every year until 1974 and a Gold Glover every year until 1975.

“He was the best defensive player at any position,” the late Frank Robinson, fellow Hall of Famer and Orioles legend, said. He once said. “I was standing on the field like a fan and watching him play after play. I was thinking: ‘Wow! I can’t believe this.’

As the Orioles excelled in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Brooks-Robinson helped lead the franchise to its first two World Series titles in ’66 and ’70. In the latter, he went 9-for-21 with two doubles, two homers, five runs scored and six RBIs in a five-game series against the Reds.

During the mid-1970s, Robinson’s playing time diminished. With Doug DeSense’s emergence as Baltimore’s third baseman in 1976, Robinson appeared in only 71 games that year.

Robinson still returned for the 1977 season to serve as both player and coach. But he played in only 24 games, and on August 21—with the Orioles needing to clear a roster spot for Rick Dempsey’s return from injury—Robinson ended his playing career by voluntarily joining the retired list at age 40. .

That wasn’t far from the end of Robinson’s tenure in Baltimore, though he was no longer a routine presence on the field at Memorial Stadium. He was there the following year when his number five was retired on April 14, 1978. Robinson also served as a color commentator for the team’s television broadcasts from 1978 to 1992.

Robinson never left Maryland, residing there until his death with his wife, Connie, whom he met on an Orioles flight in 1959 while she was working as a flight attendant. Robinson left behind Connie and their four children, Brooks, David, Chris, Michael, and their daughter, Diana.

“He was kind, friendly and kind. A great player and a great role model,” said Hall of Fame infielder Jim Palmer, Robinson’s Orioles teammate from 1965 to 1977. “When you decide who you want to emulate, you’ll choose 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 lucky to have them all in our lives. like [former O’s first baseman] Bug [Powell] He said: I loved him. “I think we all did that.”

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Although Robinson had health problems later in life, he was never away from the O’s for long. He underwent successful treatment for prostate cancer in 2009. He underwent emergency surgery in 2011, when he developed an infection after a routine procedure before that. In January 2012, Robinson fell backwards in his chair from a raised platform during a charity banquet in Florida, fracturing his shoulder blade and requiring hospitalization.

However, Robinson came to Camden Yards on September 29, 2012, when a statue of him was unveiled in Legends Park behind the bullpen in left-center field along with previously dedicated sculptures of the five other people inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame as Orioles. : Eddie Murray, Palmer, Cal Ripken Jr., Frank Robinson and Earl Weaver. This was the second statue of Robinson built in Baltimore. There is also one just outside the stadium on the plaza between Washington Street and Russell Street. And on this statue, Robinson’s glove is appropriately colored gold.

Brooks Robinson statue outside Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

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

These were all tributes and celebrations of the lasting impact Robinson had on the Orioles and 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 huge star in Charm City, but he arrived at this point with a humility that endeared him all the more to his fans. He demonstrated this humility throughout his life, which is why his legacy will live on in the memory of generations to come.

“Brooks never asked anyone to name a candy bar after him,” longtime AP sportswriter Gordon Byrd said. He wrote once. “In Baltimore, people named their kids after him.”