Brooks Calbert Robinson, Jr. was born May 18, 1937 in Little Rock, Arkansas. His father, Brooks Robinson, Sr., was a semi-pro second baseman who played with his son in his younger years. Brooks, Jr. went on to play third base for the Baltimore Orioles from 1955 to 1977. Nicknamed “the Human Vacuum Cleaner,” he is considered by many to have been the greatest defensive third baseman in major league history.
Robinson was an 18-time All-Star and also won sixteen Gold Glove Awards. He won two World Series with the Orioles, being named World Series MVP in 1970. Robinson also earned American League MVP honors in 1964 when he led the AL in RBIs for the season. In 1972, he was presented with the Roberto Clemente Award, and he was inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame in 1977, with his number 5 being retired a year later.
Brooks Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983 with 91.98% of the vote in his first appearance on the ballot.
He passed away yesterday, September 26, 2023 at the age of 86. Rest in peace.
It’s too bad the Red Sox aren’t doing as well these days as they were when this song first came out, but it’s pretty catchy all the same. And William Shatner’s cameo as home plate umpire adds a fun touch to the video.
MLB Network has announce that this coming December, they will be featuring a documentary on the king of pine tar himself, George Brett. The feature is titled “MLB Network Presents: Brett,” and as 2023 marks 50 years since Brett made his MLB debut, MLB Network decided it was the perfect time to come out with this documentary. I look forward to it.
In a Players’ League game between the Buffalo Bison and the Chicago Pirates on September 15, 1890, Bison pitcher Bert Cunningham threw five wild pitches in the first inning at South Side Park. This performance established a dubious regular-season record, which would later be matched by Cardinals pitcher Rick Ankiel during a 2000 playoff game against the Mets.
Cunningham was nevertheless inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame in 1996.
This documentary is currently available for free on YouTube, if you feel inclined to check it out. The film covers the history of minor league baseball in Omaha, Nebraska, currently home to the Kansas City Royal’s Triple A affiliate, the Omaha Storm Chasers. Not only does the documentary delve into the politics and challenges behind the minor league team’s history, but also looks at the College World Series, as it takes place in Omaha.
In defeating the St. Louis Browns 12-1 on September 8, 1939, Bob Feller became the youngest pitcher ever to record 20 wins in a season. The 20-year-old Indians pitcher would finish the season with a 24-9 record and an ERA of 2.85.
Babe Ruth showed up late to batting practice on August 29, 1925 following a night out on the town. Yankees manager Miller Huggins suspended Ruth and slapped a $5,000 fine on him for disobeying orders on the field and team rules off the field. Ruth would be forced to apologize before he’s reinstated nine days later.
Most folks have heard of Alcatraz, the island just 1.25 miles off the shore from San Francisco, California. Even more infamous than the island itself was Alcatraz prison, a federal penitentiary that operated from 1934 to 1963. The prison was known for its high security and harsh conditions, as well as for housing some of the most notorious criminals in American history, such as Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Robert “Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud.
Alcatraz prison was originally a military fortification and prison, dating back to the 1850s. It was designated as a federal prison in 1933, as part of a nationwide campaign to combat organized crime and gang violence. The prison was designed to hold the most dangerous and escape-prone inmates, who were transferred to Alcatraz from other federal prisons across the country. The inmates were subjected to strict rules and regulations, such as silence during meals and work, isolation from the outside world, and limited recreation and privileges. The prison also employed myriad security measures, such as guard towers, metal detectors, barred windows, and a 12-foot-high fence. On top of all this, the strong currents of the bay waters surrounding the island and frigid water temperatures made escape nearly impossible.
Baseball and softball proved to be popular sports among the inmates of Alcatraz prison, who were allowed two hours each Saturday and Sunday in the recreation yard. There were no team uniforms, but gloves, bats, and balls were provided. In 1938, there were four amateur teams, the Bees, Oaks, Oilers, and Seals, named after minor league clubs, and four league teams named after major league clubs, the Cardinals, Cubs, Giants, and Tigers. Amateur teams featured a more intramural style of play, whereas league games were more intensely competitive. Some inmates would play for both an amateur team and a league team.
The infield featured a dirt diamond while the outfield was concrete and did not have standard dimensions. Innings within games were shorter and balls hit over the wall were considered outs, not home-runs. The games themselves proved highly competitive and sometimes violent, as tensions and rivalries flared among the prisoners. On May 20, 1956, for example, a riot broke out over racial taunts on the diamond between a white and black prisoner during a softball match.
Baseball also provided a rare opportunity for the inmates to enjoy some entertainment and relaxation, as they listened to radio broadcasts of professional games or received visits from famous players. Players who visited the prison included Warren Spahn, Stan Musial, and Joe DiMaggio.
On October 4, 1955, radio jacks were installed in the cells. Inmates were given the day off and were permitted to listen to Game 7 of the World Series on headphones. Cheers echoed throughout the cellhouse as inmates heard the Brooklyn Dodgers shut out the New York Yankees, 2-0, to win their first championship.
Organized baseball games ceased in the recreation yard when the federal prison closed in 1963.
In a 22-inning game against the Dodgers on August 22, 1917, Pirates outfielder Carson Bigbee set a major league record with 11 at-bats. Bigbee collected 6 hits with two RBIs in Pittsburgh’s 6-5 loss to Brooklyn.
Thirteen other players have since matched Bigbee’s single game at-bats mark.