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Smallthoughts: Old School Tuesday…Brooks Robinson

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Hands down one of the greatest third baseman to ever play the position , Brooks Robinson was nickname the human vaccum cleaner for good reason, no matter how you tried to hit the bal either past him or in front of him you were an automatic out. Robinson played his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles.He won 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards during his career, tied with pitcher Jim Kaat for the second most all-time for any player at any position. Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.

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. In the American League MVP voting, he received 18 of the 20 first-place votes, with Mickey Mantle finishing second. In 1966, he was voted the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, and finished second to teammate 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.

In the 1970 post-season, Robinson hit for a .583 batting average in the 1970 American League Championship Series against the Minnesota Twins. In the 1970 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds, Robinson had a .429 batting average with 2 home runs; 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. His performance won him the World Series MVP Award presented by SPORT, as well as the Hickok Belt as top professional athlete of the year. 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.”

In his playing career, Robinson was selected for the All-Star team in 15 consecutive years (1960-74) and played in four World Series. He compiled a .267 career batting average with 2,848 hits, 268 home runs and 1357 runs batted in. 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. 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. 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. Robinson, a slow baserunner, 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.” He is the first player to start two triple plays in one season, as he did in 1973.

Smallthoughts salutes an all time great third baseman…the one and only human vacumm cleaner …Brooks Robinson.

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

Teams

Baltimore Orioles (1955–1977)

Career highlights and awards

18× All-Star (1960–1974)
2× World Series champion (1966, 1970)
AL MVP (1964)
World Series MVP (1970)
16× Gold Glove Award (1960–1975)
MLB All-Star Game MVP (1966)
Roberto Clemente Award (1972)
Baltimore Orioles #5 retired
Major League Baseball All-Century Team

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