(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, FIle)

The Legend of Brooks Robinson

His talent on the diamond is just the beginning of Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson’s story. His work outside the game holds immense value. Robinson was a legend both on and off the field.

Early Days

Born on May 18, 1937, in Little Rock, Arkansas, Robinson already had baseball in his blood. His father, Brooks Sr., was a semi-professional second baseman, and his talent clearly rubbed off.

Coming out of high school, Robinson was a star basketball player, earning a full ride scholarship from the University of Arkansas. However, Robinson loved the game of baseball and desired to play in the Major leagues.

Through his connections and undeniable talent, Robinson earned interest from several MLB programs. He ultimately decided to sign with the Baltimore Orioles, with whom he would spend his entire career.

MLB Career

Debuting for the orioles in 1955 at the age of 18, Robinson had to overcome injuries and batting struggles early on.

Bouncing between the major and minor leagues, even spending some time in the Arkansas National Guard, it wasn’t until 1960 that Robinson was unquestionably the Orioles’ third baseman. That year, Robinson earned his first of 18 straight all-star selections, and quickly gained recognition as one of baseball’s premier players.

He won his first AL MVP award in 1964 after significantly improving his batting performance.

Robinson won his first of two World Series’ in 1966, sweeping the Los Angeles Dodgers in four games.

In the immediate years to follow, Robinson remained a top player and class act, but the Orioles were unable to repeat World Series success.

However, in the 1970 season, Robinson stamped his legacy into the history of baseball. Recording his 200th home run and 2000th hit, Robinson propelled the Orioles to the top of the AL East. Blazing through the postseason, the Orioles eventually faced and conquered the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970 World Series. Robinson earned MVP honors as he displayed one of the greatest World Series performances in all of baseball, portrayed by this call from Curt Gowdy.

Robinsons play would slowly decline in the years to follow, despite still being one of the game’s best defensive players. He held all-star status through the 1974 season, before injuries would catch up to him.

Robinson announced the 1977 season, in which he had infrequent playing time, would be his last. He was honored with an hour-long ceremony at the end of the year before a record-breaking crowd.

Off the Diamond

While Robinson’s on-the-field accomplishments speak from themselves, his achievements off the field certainly do not fall short. For the majority of his career, Robinson served as a player representative for the Major League Baseball Players Association, which later led him to start and lead the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association: an organization that protects retired players benefits and helps raise money for charity. He also founded Brooks Robinson Sporting Goods, which outfitted and served the Baltimore community for years.

He was a true class outside of his playing days.

Brooks Robinson displayed great work on and off the diamond. The game of baseball lost a true legend with his passing.


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