Who was the Baltimore Orioles’ legendary 3rd baseman Brooks Robinson who passed away at 86?
During a career that spanned more than two decades in MLB, the Orioles legend was crowned world champion with his team on two occasions.
There are few in the history of baseball that have been able to match the defensive feats that the third baseman showcased. Nicknamed “the human vacuum cleaner”, his legacy will live on in the memories of not just Orioles fans but the wider league itself.
Baltimore Orioles legend Brooks Robinson passes away
Major League Baseball was dealt a blow on Tuesday with the sad announcement from the Baltimore Orioles which indicated that legendary former third baseman, Brooks Robinson, died on Tuesday. The Hall of Famer was 86 years old.
“We are deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of Brooks Robinson,” the Orioles’ joint statement with the Robinson family read. “An integral part of our Orioles Family since 1955, he will continue to leave a lasting impact on our club, our community, and the sport of baseball.”
Numbers & Nods: A look back at Brooks Robinson
Robinson of course played all 23 seasons of his career with the Orioles who he also helped to win two World Series titles. Where his numbers are concerned, he batted .267/.322/.401 with 268 home runs and 1,357 RBI. In addition to his impressive numbers, there are also countless awards and accolades. Indeed, Robinson holds a special place in baseball history as he won an astonishing 16 straight Gold Glove Awards, a feat that was surpassed by only Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux and matched by Jim Kaat.
Then, there were his 18 All-Star Game appearances, making his first ballot Hall of Fame induction in 1983 more of a formality than an honor, something you can tell by the fact that he received 92% of the vote. This of course was a player who won Most Valuable Player in 1964 as well as the 1966 All-Star Game MVP Award, and the 1970 World Series MVP. Regarding his two World Series wins, the man whom Pete Rose claimed he saw in his sleep, formed part of an impressive trio with fellow Hall of Famers Frank Robinson and Jim Palmer. Yet, another thing worth noting about Robinson, was that he was not simply a sensational player on the field but a good man off of it, as evidenced by his active role in not only the baseball community but the wider one as well. Post-retirement, Robinson served as the president of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association for 33 years between 1989 and 2022
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred gives statement on Brooks Robinson
In an official statement released by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred, he gave reference to Brooks’ defensive prowess as well as his long history of contributing to the game as a whole:
“All of us at Major League Baseball are saddened by the loss of Brooks Robinson, one of the greats of our National Pastime and a legend of the Baltimore Orioles. Brooks stood among the greatest defensive players who have ever lived. [...] He was a model of excellence, durability, 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. I will always remember Brooks as a true gentleman who represented our game extraordinarily well on and off the field all his life. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to Brooks’ family, his many friends across our game, and Orioles fans everywhere.”
Brooks Robinson: From little known to legend
It’s funny to think about who Brooks Robinson became when looking at who he was. With a signing bonus of $4,000, Robinson was signed by the Orioles as an amateur free agent. It’s understood that at the time his motivation for joining the team was because they had recently relocated to Baltimore, such that his thinking was he could move through the system quickly. True enough, he made his debut shortly after on September 17th, 1955, just four months after his 18th birthday. To date, his contributions carry an estimated worth of 78.4 Wins Above Replacement according to Baseball-Reference. If you’re wondering, that ranks as the seventh most all-time for a player who appeared in at least 50% of their games at third base. In Orioles history, he ranks second behind only Cal Ripken Jr.
To put in perspective the effect that Robinson had on the Orioles and Baltimore as a whole, perhaps it’s best to turn to the famous words once written by an Associated Press: “Brooks never asked anyone to name a candy bar after him. In Baltimore, they name their children after him.”