Brooks Calbert Robinson, Jr. (born May 18, 1937) played his entire 23-year career for the Baltimore Orioles (1955–1977). He batted and threw right-handed, in spite of the fact he was a natural left-hander. Nicknamed "The Human Vacuum Cleaner," he is considered one of the greatest defensive third-baseman in major league history. 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.
Author of The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych, Doug Wilson returns to baseball’s Golden Age to detail the birth of a new franchise through the man who came to symbolize it as one of baseball’s most beloved players. Through numerous interviews with people from every part of the legendary player's life, Wilson reveals never-before-reported information to illuminate Brooks's remarkable skill and warm personality.
Brooks Robinson is one of baseball’s most transcendent and revered players. He won a record sixteen straight Gold Gloves at third base, led one of the best teams of the era, and is often cited as the greatest fielder in baseball history. Credited with almost single-handedly winning the 1970 World Series, this MVP was immortalized in a Normal Rockwell painting. A wholesome player and role model, Brooks honored the game of baseball not only with his play but with his class and character off the field.
Brooks takes readers back to an era when players fought for low-paying yearly contracts, spanning the turbulent 60s and 70s and into the dawning of the free agent era. He was elected to the MLB All-Century Team and as president of the MLB Players Alumni, Brooks continues to influence today’s baseball players.
Robinson was drafted by the Orioles as an amateur free agent in 1955. 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.
This is an excellent read--worthwhile in every respect. Most sports stars and "celebrities" these days have books done on them which detail their awful and often aberrant behavior. In contrast, Dr. Wilson's book chronicles the life of a true American role model for kids and adults. This is a fine baseball biography--Dr. Wilson understands the game and understands his subject. Brooks Robinson represents how professional athletes should perform, but more importantly how they should behave. Brooks was perhaps the finest fielding third basemen in baseball history; was an excellent hitter (particularly in clutch situations); but most important he was almost universally revered by his fellow players, coaches, baseball writers and fans. Brooks comes across as a man who lives his Christian values, fulfills his duties as a husband and father, treats everyone with respect and never let his fame go to his head. Great book--don't miss it.
In the current climate of astronomic salaries, steroids, off-field troubles, and heroes who let down their fans, Brooks reminds baseball fans of the honor and glory at the heart of America’s favorite pastime.