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The Baltimore Orioles legendary 3B Brooks Robinson Passes Away at the Age of 86
On Tuesday, September 26th, 2023 the legendary Hall of Fame 3rd - baseman, Brooks Robinson, whose amazing and skillful glove - work as well as his unpretentious manner transformed Robinson in to one of the most beloved and accomplished ball players in the long history of Baltimore, has passed away at the age of 86.
"We are deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of Brooks Robinson," his family and the Baltimore Orioles expressed through a publicly released statement. "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."
That press release did not disclose the cause of death for Robinson.
Paying their Respects to one of the Game’s Greatest Ever
The Baltimore Orioles held a ceremonial moment of silence prior to the start of their game versus the Washington Nationals, and both of the ball clubs lined up outside their dugouts to pay their respects to the late great Brooks Robinson. Also, before the game, a large amount of baseball fans gathered around the 9 - foot bronze statue of Brooks which can be found inside the historic and legendary Camden Yards located in Baltimore, Maryland.
"Great player, great guy on the field, great guy off," says the fellow Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer, Jim Palmer, who was completely overcome with emotion upon hearing this latest tragic news. "Respectful, kind. And you don't meet too many guys like that. Brooks was a genuine person. There was no acting. Brooks was just a genuine person."
Brooks Robinson’s Legacy on the Ball Field
Brooks spent his whole 23 - year professional baseball career with the Baltimore Orioles, and he almost single - handedly helped the Baltimore Orioles beat the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970 MLB World Series as Robinson homered during game - 1 of the Baltimore Orioles' 1966 sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers for their first Major League Baseball title.
Robinson managed to play in a total of 18 - MLB All - Star Games while earning himself the 1964 American League Most Valuable Player Award for batting .318 to go along with his 28 - home runs and an exciting league - leading 118 - RBIs. Brooks completed his big - league baseball career with a total of 268 - home runs, 1,357 - RBIs, and a respectable .267 career batting average over the course of the 2,896 - games that Robinson participated in.
He will be forever remembered for his tireless work ethic and the unbelievable talent that Robinson consistently demonstrated at the 3rd - base position, where he dominated as one of the finest defensive 3rd - baseman in history of Major League Baseball. Whether he was charging slow rollers or snagging line drives down the 3rd - base line he didn’t let very much by him and was absolutely revered for his defensive glove work on the diamond.
Recognizing all of the MLB Gold Glove Awards for Brooks Robinson
Known as the "Human Vacuum Cleaner," Brooks won 16 - straight Gold Glove Awards which is good for 2nd of all time to only the all - time great pitcher in Greg Maddux's who had compiled 18 - Gold Gloves Awards making Maddux the MLB leader by a ball player at one single position. Robinson also placed 3rd in career defensive WAR at 39.1 behind only the amazing shortstops in Ozzie Smith with 44.2 as well as Mark Belanger with 39.5. Belanger was Brooks' teammate for 13 - years with the Baltimore Orioles back in the day.
"Brooks was maybe the last guy to get into the clubhouse the day of the game, but he would be the first guy on the field," the former Baltimore Orioles manager, Earl Weaver, mentioned. "He'd be taking his groundballs, and we'd all go, 'Why does Brooks have to take any groundballs?’ I wouldn't expect anything else from Brooks. Seeing him work like that meant a lot of any young person coming up. He was so steady, and he steadied everybody else."
The Houston Astros current manager in Dusty Baker recalled his great personal relationship with Robinson during the early years of his major - league career, when he broke in with Atlanta way back in the late 1960’s.
"I'm just sad. Another great one is called to heaven," the Houston Astros manager, Dusty Baker, explained. "They got some all - stars up there. He was really nice to me when I was a rookie with the Braves. We used to barnstorm with him all the time and he was a real gentleman. ... I never heard anything negative about him, ever. And he was on a team that with the Orioles had a number of African - American players. I think they had 10 or 12. They all loved him. That's saying a lot. Especially back in that day."
Brooks Robinson’s Background
Robinson was born in Little Rock, Arkansas back in 1937, and he eventually made Baltimore his home - town, but Brooks never really gave up his southern twang, which was alright with fans in the blue - collar town of Baltimore, Maryland who appreciated his unsophisticated pleasant charm and his unassuming demeanor.
The Great Johnny Unitas of the Baltimore Colts
Nicknamed, "Mr. Oriole," Robinson was a sports hero and icon in Charm City, playing the pantheon with the former Baltimore Colts quarterback, Johnny Unitas, and the Baltimore Orioles infielder Cal Ripken (shortstop), who performed just as well on the field for a later generation.
Ripken was known as “The Iron Man” due to the fact that he played in 2,632 - straight baseball games, but Brooks was not fond of sitting on the bench either. From the year of 1960 through the year of 1975, Robinson played in at least 152 - big - league - ball - games over the course of 14 - MLB seasons and in 144 - major league contest the other 2 - years.
"I'm a guy who just wanted to see his name in the line - up every day," says Cal Ripken Jr. "To me, baseball was a passion to the point of obsession."
The Retirement of Brooks Robinson
Robinson retired back in 1977 following him carrying a batting average of only .149 throughout 24 - total games. Brooks’ jersey number 5 was retired by the Baltimore Orioles that same year to commemorate all that he did for his team and the game of baseball throughout his long and illustrious MLB career.
"I will always remember Brooks as a true gentleman who represented our game extraordinarily well on and off the field all his life," the commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred, stated. "On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to Brooks' family, his many friends across our game, and Orioles fans everywhere."
Looking Back on the Amazing MLB Career of Brooks Robinson
Maybe Robinson's most memorable on the field performance came as he was honored by winning the MVP Award of the 1970 World Series, when the Baltimore Orioles came back hard after their stunning loss to the New York Mets just 1 - year before, and Brooks redeemed himself after batting just 1 for 19 in that previous series. He was so sensational playing the infield during the Baltimore Orioles' 5 - game World Series over the Cincinnati Reds that very few even remember Robinson hitting an astonishing .429 and belting 2 - huge home runs while driving in a total of 6 - runs or that he made an uncharacteristic error on his 1st - play in the field at 3rd - base.
In game - 1 of the 1970 World Series Robinson delivered the tie - breaking home run during the 7th - inning.1 - inning previous to that, he made a sensational back - handed snag of a hard ground - ball hit hard down the line by Lee May as Brooks spun around in foul territory and somehow managed to throw out the May at 1st - base.
Brooks also contributed an RBI single during game - 2 and became forever a part of World Series history with his standout performance in game - 3 of the series as well. Robinson made a remarkable leaping grab of a ground ball by Tony Perez to begin a 1st - inning double play, he charged a slow rolling grounder in the 2nd - inning and then he threw out Tommy Helms, then he capped his unforgettable afternoon with a diving catch of a line drive by the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Famer in Johnny Bench. The 1970 World Series eventually ended with a ground - out to Brooks in game - 5 with a final score of the Baltimore Orioles 9 to the Cincinnati Reds 3.
"I'm beginning to see Brooks in my sleep," the Cincinnati Reds’ manager, Sparky Anderson, said during the MLB World Series. "If I dropped this paper plate, he'd pick it up on one hop and throw me out at first."
Post Baseball Career
Robinson was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York on the 1st - ballot back in 1983. In 1999, Brooks was named to baseball's All - Century team, which honored the best 25 - MLB players of the 20th century. Robinson’s jersey number - 5 is one of only 6 – jersey numbers retired by the Baltimore Orioles long - standing Major League Baseball franchise.
Beginning back in 2009, Brooks was plagued by a string of serious health scares. Robinson was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009, had abdominal surgery in 2010, developed an infection while recovering from the abdominal surgery in 2011, and in 2012 his chair somehow fell off a platform at a banquet, which forced him to spend a solid month cooped up in a hospital. During his later years, Brooks auctioned off nearly all of his vast memorabilia for good causes as well.
"My children, they have everything they ever wanted from my collection," Brooks Robinson revealed back in the year of 2015. "We've been very blessed, my whole family, all the years we've been in Baltimore. So, it's time to give back."
Robinson said "every cent" of the proceeds went to go to the Constance and Brooks Robinson Foundation for distribution to great and worthy causes.
Back in July of 2018, Brooks was named as the Baltimore Orioles' special ambassador, with Robinson saying he will be more focused on community events from that point on moving forward.
"I talked to [chair and managing partner] John Angelos about three weeks ago, and we had lunch," Robinson goes on to say. "I told him, 'I'll do anything, but I don't want to have to make any decisions about baseball. That's passed me by, if you want to know the truth.'"
In addition to his role in the Baltimore Orioles front office, Brooks served as the President of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association as well. His long - lasting and historic legacy will always remain in the minds of anyone around the great American past time of baseball.
Brooks Robinson’s Baseball Career Achievements, Honors, & Awards
- 18 - Time MLB All - Star Selection (1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974)
- 2 - Time MLB World Series Champion (1966, 1970)
- American League MVP Award Winner (1964)
- World Series MVP Award Winner (1970)
- 16 - Time Gold Glove Award Winner (1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975)
- Roberto Clemente Award Winner (1972)
- American League RBIs Leader (1964)
- Baltimore Orioles Retired his Jersey Number 5
- Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame Selection
- Major League Baseball All - Century Team Selection
- Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee (1983)
“Hall of Fame 3B, Orioles legend Brooks Robinson dies at 86”, espn.com, September 26, 2023.
“Brooks Robinson”, baseball-reference.com, September 26, 2023.