Wilbert Robinson

Wilbert Robinson (June 29, 1863 – August 8, 1934), nicknamed "Uncle Robbie", was an American catcher, coach and manager in Major League Baseball. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945.

Wilbert Robinson
Wilbert Robinson 1916
Robinson in 1916
Catcher / Manager
Born: June 29, 1863
Bolton, Massachusetts
Died: August 8, 1934 (aged 71)
Atlanta, Georgia
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 19, 1886, for the Philadelphia Athletics
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 1902, for the Baltimore Orioles
MLB statistics
Batting average.273
Home runs18
Runs batted in722
Managerial record1,399–1,398
Winning %.500
Teams
As player

As manager

Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction1945
VoteVeterans Committee

Career

Born in Bolton, Massachusetts, Robinson was a catcher in the minor New England League in 1885 and made it to the major leagues in 1886 with the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association, where he remained until 1890. He lasted in the majors until 1902, playing much of his career with two separate Baltimore Orioles franchises – from 1890 to 1899 with the Orioles team which folded after the 1899 National League season, and in 1901–02 with the American League team which moved to New York City in 1903 and became the Yankees. He also spent one season, 1900, with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Wilbert Robinson Baseball Card
1895 Baseball Card

Over the course of his career, Robinson played 1,316 games as a catcher, which prepared him for his second baseball career as a manager. The star catcher of the Orioles dynasty which won three straight titles from 1894 to 1896, he compiled a career batting average of .273, with a peak of .353 in the heavy-hitting season of 1894. Durable behind the plate, he caught a triple-header in 1896, followed by a double-header the following day. He also was the first catcher to play directly behind the batter at all times, as the previous practice had been to play farther back when there were fewer than two strikes. A highlight of his career was a seven-hit game June 10, 1892. He also batted in 11 runs in that game; on September 16, 1924, as manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, he saw that record eclipsed as Jim Bottomley of the St. Louis Cardinals batted in 12 runs. (Robinson, whose team was in contention for the pennant at the time, lamented, "Why did he have to save all those hits for us? Couldn't he have made some of them against [ Giants manager] McGraw?")

AL Orioles

Robinson and McGraw joined as business partners in the Baltimore Orioles, a team that would debut in the new American League in 1901.[1] McGraw served as player-manager of the AL Orioles in 1901 and the beginning of the 1902 season, at which point he departed to the New York Giants. Robinson succeeded McGraw as manager of the Orioles.

After the season, McGraw enticed Robinson to be his pitching coach from 1903 to 1913, during which time the Giants won five NL pennants.

Brooklyn Dodgers

Robinson would not don the manager's cap again in the majors until 1914, when he took over the Brooklyn franchise in the National League. The team was known by various nicknames, including Bridegrooms, Superbas, and Dodgers, but during Robinson's managerial tenure, which lasted until 1931, the club was as often referred to as the "Robins" in honor of their manager, who had acquired the nickname "Uncle Robbie". (The frequently error-prone Dodger teams of this era were also sometimes derisively known as "Uncle Robbie's Daffiness Boys".)

In his 18 years at the helm of the Brooks, Robinson compiled a record of 1375–1341, including National League championships in 1916 and 1920 – Brooklyn's only pennants between 1901 and 1940. Those two clubs lost in the World Series to the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians, respectively. His 1375 NL victories were, at the time, the 3rd-highest total in NL history, trailing only the totals of McGraw (then with 2652) and Fred Clarke (1602).

Robinson was highly regarded for his ability to draw outstanding performances from his pitching staffs, a result of his many years as a catcher. Among the pitchers he guided to success were Joe McGinnity with both Orioles teams and the Giants, Rube Marquard with the Giants, and Dazzy Vance and Burleigh Grimes with the Dodgers. Another pitcher who would later recall Robinson's excellent advice, although they never played together during a regular season, was John Tener, who in the 1910s served simultaneously as NL president and Governor of Pennsylvania.

Robinson was manager when Al López started out as a catcher in the majors. Robinson watched Lopez' style and finally hollered, "Tell that punk he got two hands to catch with! Never mind the Fancy Dan stuff." Lopez went on to eventually surpass Robinson's record of games behind the plate.

Robinson and Ruth Law

On March 13, 1915, at spring training in Daytona Beach, Florida, Robinson decided to try to set a record of sorts by catching a baseball dropped from an airplane being flown 525 feet (160 m) overhead. Ruth Law, the aviator, supposedly forgot to bring a baseball and instead dropped a grapefruit, which splattered all over the manager. The grapefruit made such a mess that Robinson thought he had lost his eye because of the acid and the bloodlike splatter that covered him. He quickly realized that it was a joke when he saw his teammates burst out in laughter. Outfielder Casey Stengel, later a successful manager himself, is generally believed to have convinced Law to make the switch. From this point on Robinson referred to airplanes as fruit flies.

Retirement and death

After his retirement from managing, Robinson became the president of the Atlanta Crackers minor league team. He died in Atlanta at 71 years of age following a brain hemorrhage, and was buried in the New Cathedral Cemetery in Baltimore.

Family

Robinson's brother, Fred Robinson, also played briefly in the majors, appearing in 3 games for the 1884 Cincinnati Outlaw Reds of the Union Association.

Legacy

Wilbert Robinson HOF plaque
Plaque of Wilbert Robinson at the Baseball Hall of Fame

Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945 by the Old-Timers Committee.

See also

References

  1. ^ "archives – baltimoresun.com – BASEBALL DEAL MADE". pqasb.pqarchiver.com.

External links

1894 Baltimore Orioles season

The Baltimore Orioles won their first National League pennant in 1894. They won 24 of their last 25 games. After the regular season's conclusion, the Orioles participated in the first Temple Cup competition against the second-place New York Giants. The Orioles lost to the Giants in a sweep, four games to none.

The Orioles roster contained six future Hall of Famers: Wilbert Robinson, John McGraw, Dan Brouthers, Hughie Jennings, Wee Willie Keeler and Joe Kelley. Every man in their starting line up hit .300 for the season. They bunted, hit-and-ran, Baltimore chopped, backed up throws, cut off throws, and had pitchers cover first. They also deadened balls by icing them, tilted baselines so bunts would roll fair, and put soap around the mound so opposing pitchers would get slippery fingers if he tried to dry his hands in the dirt.

1902 Baltimore Orioles season

The 1902 Baltimore Orioles season finished with the Orioles in 8th in the American League (AL) with a record of 50–88. The team was managed by John McGraw and Wilbert Robinson. The team played at Oriole Park in Baltimore, Maryland.

During the season, Andrew Freedman, principal owner of the National League's (NL) New York Giants, with the financial backing of John T. Brush, principal owner of the NL's Cincinnati Reds, purchased the Orioles from John Mahon, who was deeply in debt. They raided the Orioles roster, releasing several of Baltimore's better players so that they could sign them to the Giants and Reds. AL president Ban Johnson seized control of the Orioles the next day and restocked their roster with players received on loan from other AL teams.

The Orioles' second season in Baltimore would ultimately prove to be their last, as the team was moved to New York after the season, where they became known as the New York Highlanders.

1914 Brooklyn Robins season

With Wilbert Robinson taking over as the new manager, the team name was changed to the Brooklyn Robins for the 1914 season. The Robins finished in 5th place, just missing finishing with a .500 record.

1916 World Series

In the 1916 World Series, the Boston Red Sox beat the Brooklyn Robins four games to one. It was the first World Series meeting between the teams.

Casey Stengel shone on offense for the Robins in the 1916 Series, but the Red Sox pitching corps ultimately proved too much for the denizens of Flatbush. The Sox's Babe Ruth pitched thirteen shutout innings in Game 2, starting a consecutive scoreless innings streak that would reach 29 in 1918. As with the 1915 Series, the Red Sox played their home games at the larger Braves Field, and it paid off as they drew a then-record 43,620 people for the final game.

Brooklyn fielded some strong teams under their manager and namesake Wilbert Robinson in the late 1910s. The Robins, also interchangeably called the Dodgers, would win the pennant again in 1920, but the American League teams were generally stronger during that interval. It would be 39 years before the Dodgers would win their first World Series title in 1955.

The two franchises met again in the postseason for the first time in 102 years in the 2018 World Series, 60 years after the Dodgers relocated to Los Angeles. The record for most innings played in a World Series game, set by Game 2 in 1916, at 14, was broken by Game 3 in 2018, at 18. Just like their first matchup in the World Series, the Red Sox would eventually go on to defeat the Dodgers in five games to win their ninth World Series championship.

1920 Brooklyn Robins season

The 1920 Brooklyn Robins, also known as the Dodgers, won 16 of their final 18 games to pull away from a tight pennant race and earn a trip to their second World Series against the Cleveland Indians. They lost the series in seven games.

The team featured four Hall of Famers: manager Wilbert Robinson, pitchers Burleigh Grimes and Rube Marquard, and outfielder Zack Wheat. Grimes anchored a pitching staff that allowed the fewest runs in the majors.

1920 World Series

In the 1920 World Series, the Cleveland Indians beat the Brooklyn Dodgers, then known interchangeably as the Robins in reference to their manager Wilbert Robinson, in seven games, five games to two. This series was a best-of-nine series, like the first World Series in 1903 and the World Series of 1919 and 1921. The only World Series triple play, the first World Series grand slam and the first World Series home run by a pitcher all occurred in Game 5 of this Series. The Indians won the series in memory of their former shortstop Ray Chapman, who had been killed earlier in the season when struck in the head by a pitched ball.

The triple play was unassisted and turned by Cleveland's Bill Wambsganss in Game 5. Wambsganss, playing second base, caught a line drive off the bat of Clarence Mitchell, stepped on second base to put out Pete Kilduff, and tagged Otto Miller coming from first base. It was the second of fifteen (as of 2016) unassisted triple plays in major-league baseball history, and it remains the only one in postseason play. Mitchell made history again in the eighth inning by hitting into a double play, accounting for five outs in two straight at-bats.

The fifth game also saw the first grand slam in World Series history (hit by Cleveland's Elmer Smith) and the first Series home run by a pitcher (Cleveland's Jim Bagby, Sr.). And in that same game, Brooklyn outhit Cleveland but lost 8–1.

Cleveland had won the American League pennant in a close race with the Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees. The Sox's participation in the Black Sox Scandal the previous year had caught up to them late in the season, and their star players were suspended with three games left in the season, when they were in a virtual tie with the Indians. The Yankees, with their recently acquired star Babe Ruth, were almost ready to start their eventual World Series dynasty. For Cleveland, it would prove to be one of their few successes in a long history of largely either poor or not-quite-good enough clubs.

It is notable that all seven games of the 1920 World Series were won by the team who scored first. In fact, Game 4 was the only game in which the losing team scored a run before the winning team had scored all of its runs. The lead never changed hands in any game.

This would be the last World Series until 1980 to feature two franchises that had not previously won a championship.

1925 Brooklyn Robins season

The 1925 season was one of tragedy for the Brooklyn Robins. Majority owner and team president Charles Ebbets fell ill after returning home from spring training and died on the morning of April 18. Ed McKeever took over as president, but he caught a cold at Ebbets' funeral and died within a week of pneumonia. Stephen McKeever became the principal owner and team manager Wilbert Robinson was additionally given the position of president. Through it all, the woeful Robins finished in sixth place.

1931 Brooklyn Robins season

The 1931 Brooklyn Robins finished in 4th place, after which longtime manager Wilbert Robinson announced his retirement with 1,375 career victories.

1932 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1932 Brooklyn Dodgers season was the first season the franchise was officially known as the Dodgers, with the name making its first appearance on some of the team's jerseys. The Dodgers nickname had in use since the 1890s and was used interchangeably with other nicknames in media reports, particularly "Robins" in reference to longtime manager Wilbert Robinson. With Robinson's retirement after the 1931 season and the arrival of Max Carey, the nickname "Robins" was no longer used. The team wound up finishing the season in third place.

1945 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1945 included the first regular election conducted in three years and a strong response to criticism of the slow pace of honors.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent players and elected no one. The Old Timers Committee responded by electing the biggest class yet, ten people: Roger Bresnahan, Dan Brouthers, Fred Clarke, Jimmy Collins, Ed Delahanty, Hugh Duffy, Hughie Jennings, King Kelly, Jim O'Rourke, and Wilbert Robinson.

After the baseball centennial and grand opening of the Hall of Fame in 1939, the BBWAA had determined to vote only every third year. After electing three players that year, it elected one in 1942 and none in 1945. New rules now provided that the writers would return to voting on recent players annually.

Frank Bowerman

Frank Eugene Bowerman (December 5, 1868 – November 30, 1948) was an American catcher and manager in Major League Baseball with the Baltimore Orioles, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the New York Giants, and the Boston Doves, as well as a player-manager for the Doves in his last season in professional baseball. While always playing in the shadows of Wilbert Robinson and Roger Bresnahan, he was a solid player who could play any position in the diamond, and he even pitched an inning for the Giants in 1904. He was also the first to catch Hall-of-Famer Christy Mathewson.

Bowerman was known for having a short fuse, as he repeatedly got into fights with players, umpires, and fans. In one such case in 1903, he punched a heckler in the face and got arrested. He also started a fight with manager Fred Clarke while with the Pirates and gave him a black eye.

The Doves hired him as manager during the 1909 season, but his fiery temper did not go well with his team, and he was relegated to player-only status after only 76 games.

Bowerman died in his birthplace of Romeo, Michigan five days shy of his 80th birthday.

Fred Robinson (baseball)

Frederic Henry Robinson was a Major League Baseball player. He played three games at second base for the Cincinnati Outlaw Reds of the Union Association in 1884. Perhaps more famously, Fred was the older brother of Hall of Fame manager Wilbert Robinson.

Jay Hughes

James Jay Hughes (January 22, 1874 – June 2, 1924) was an American Major League Baseball pitcher, who played four seasons from 1898 to 1902.

Hughes was born in Sacramento, California. He attracted attention in 1897 when he threw a three hit shutout during a west coast exhibition game against the famed Baltimore Orioles, a team featuring such notable baseball stars as Wilbert Robinson, John McGraw, Hughie Jennings, Willie Keeler, and Joe Kelley. Orioles Manager Ned Hanlon hired him and brought him east, where he had four excellent seasons, including a league-leading 28-6 mark with the 1899 Brooklyn Superbas.

He pitched a no-hitter on April 22, 1898 (another no-hitter, by Cincinnati's Ted Breitenstein, was thrown the same day, marking the first time that two no-hitters were thrown on the same day). Hughes was transferred to the Brooklyn Superbas in 1899; the Orioles and Superbas were both owned by the same group of individuals. Jennings, Keeler, and several other key Orioles were transferred, including manager Ned Hanlon, who had an ownership stake. The owners wanted to transfer McGraw and Robinson as well, but they refused to leave due to their business interests and family in Baltimore.

Preferring to play on the west coast, he joined the Pacific Coast League in 1903. As a Sacramento native, he hated pitching in the East, and on several occasions refused to sign contracts with eastern clubs so he could remain on the west coast. In 1903, playing for the Seattle Rainiers, he tied Doc Newton for the lead in wins with 34, including 12 in a row from September 8 through November 4. He pitched there until a back injury ended his career.

He died when he fell from a train in Sacramento, fracturing his skull. He was laid to rest at St. Joseph Cemetery in Sacramento. His older brother, Mickey Hughes, won 25 games for the 1888 Brooklyn Bridegrooms.

List of Major League Baseball single-game runs batted in leaders

In baseball, a run batted in (RBI) is awarded to a batter for each runner who scores as a result of the batter's action, including a hit, fielder's choice, sacrifice fly, sacrifice bunt, catcher's interference, or a walk or hit by pitch with the bases loaded. A batter is also awarded an RBI for scoring himself upon hitting a home run. Sixteen players have batted in at least 10 runs in a single Major League Baseball (MLB) game to date, the most recent being Mark Reynolds of the Washington Nationals on July 6, 2018. No player has accomplished the feat more than once in his career and no player has ever recorded more than 12 RBIs in a game. Wilbert Robinson was the first player to record at least 10 RBIs in a single game, driving in 11 runs for the Baltimore Orioles against the St. Louis Browns on June 10, 1892.As of 2018, every team that has had a player achieve the milestone has won the game in which it occurred. These games have resulted in other single-game MLB records being set due to the stellar offensive performance. Robinson, for example, also amassed seven hits in that same game, setting a new major league record that has since been tied by only one other player. Mark Whiten hit four home runs to complement his 12 RBIs for the St. Louis Cardinals on September 7, 1993, tying the single-game records in both categories. By attaining both milestones, he became one of only two players to hit four home runs and drive in 10 or more runs in the same game, with Scooter Gennett being the other. Tony Lazzeri, Rudy York, and Nomar Garciaparra hit two grand slams during their 10 RBI game, equaling the record for most grand slams in one game. Norm Zauchin has the fewest career RBIs among players who have 10 RBIs in one game with 159, while Alex Rodriguez, with 2,086, drove in more runs than any other player in this group and hit the third most in major league history.Of the eight players eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame who have batted in 10 runs in a game, four have been elected and one was elected on the first ballot. Players are eligible for the Hall of Fame if they have played in at least 10 MLB seasons, and have either been retired for five seasons or deceased for at least six months. These requirements leave three players ineligible who are living and have played in the past five seasons and two—Phil Weintraub and Zauchin—who did not play in 10 seasons.

New Cathedral Cemetery

The New Cathedral Cemetery is a Roman Catholic cemetery located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is the final resting place of 110,000 people, including numerous individuals who played important roles in Maryland history. New Cathedral opened in 1870, replacing Cathedral Cemetery.The cemetery contains several players from the Baltimore Orioles, including four members of the Baseball Hall of Fame: John McGraw, Joseph Kelley, Ned Hanlon, and Wilbert Robinson. It is believed that no other cemetery has so many Hall of Famers.

Robbie Robinson

Robbie or Robby Robinson may refer to:

Robbie Robinson (DJ), DJ on Radio Caroline and Radio Veronica during the 1960s and 1970s

Robbie Robinson (footballer) (1879–c. 1951), English footballer of the early 1900s

Robbie Robinson (soccer) (born 1998), American soccer player

Robbie Robinson, keyboardist and musical director for The Four Seasons

Robbie Robinson (referee) (born 1959), American basketball referee

Robbie Robinson (rugby player) (born 1989), New Zealand rugby union player

Robby Robinson (bodybuilder) (born 1946), American former bodybuilder

Wilbert Robinson (1863–1934), nicknamed Uncle Robbie, American baseball player

Henry W. Robinson (1893–?), American football player for the Auburn Tigers.

W. M. Robinson (1902–1982), American football player for the Florida Gators.

Stephen McKeever

Stephen W. McKeever (October 31, 1853 in Brooklyn, New York – March 7, 1938 in Brooklyn, New York) was a construction contractor in Brooklyn, New York in the early 1900s. He and his brother Ed bought half of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team from Henry Medicus on January 2, 1912. Together with Charles Ebbets, who owned the other half of the team, they built Ebbets Field. When Ebbets died on April 18, 1925, Ed McKeever took over as team president. However, he caught a cold at Ebbets' funeral and died on April 29. Steve McKeever became the acting team president until Wilbert Robinson was elected team president on May 25, 1925. Steve McKeever was elected team president on October 12, 1932, and remained a 50% owner of the Dodgers until his death in 1938. He was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn.

Temple Cup

The Temple Cup was a cup awarded to the winner of a best-of-seven, post-season play-offs championship tournament for American professional baseball for the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs (known as the National League - established earlier in 1876) and awarded four times from 1894 to 1897. The 30-inch-high (76.2 centimeters high) silver cup cost $800, ($22.3 thousand in 2018 dollars) and was donated by coal, citrus, and lumber baron William Chase Temple (1862-1917), a part-owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates at the time. Much like the long running Stanley Cup of ice hockey in the National Hockey League and the Temple Cup's predecessor to the professional baseball team champions, the Dauvray Cup (1887-1893), (awarded seven times in the name of the donor, famed stage actress of the day, Helen Dauvray (1859-1923)), there was only one actual Temple Cup passed along to each baseball season's winning team and city.

Since there was only one major league at the time with the folding of the previous American Association 1882-1891, so the series was later played between the first and second-place teams of the surviving NL. The second-place team defeated the first-place team for the Cup in three of the four series that were played. The Temple Cup was also known as the World's Championship Series. If one team won three titles, that team would have permanent possession of the Cup, later given to the city of Baltimore for their .

Having moved over with several other AA strong franchises to join the senior National League after the 1891 folding of the American Association after ten seasons in the AA since 1882, the frequent champions and powerful scrappy teams of the Baltimore Orioles continued their winning ways from the old AA, capturing three NL pennants in a row (1894-1895-1896), and winning the Temple Cup also. Owner/manager Ned Hanlon (1857-1937), a Baltimorean and one of the most talented baseball men of the sport's early era ran the "Birds" with talented players like "Wee Willie" Keeler (1872-1923), Wilbert Robinson (1863-1934), and John McGraw (1873-1934). McGraw was later player/manager/owner with the early American League charter member team (and third to carry the Orioles name) of the new Baltimore Orioles of 1901-1902, one of the 8 original franchises in the new AL when reorganized in 1901, from the former Western League (on the minor level, 1885-1899) under activist first president Ban Johnson (1864-1931).

After the 1903 "peace pact" between the two major leagues, ending the "war" between them, recognizing each other as equal in stature, accepting a joint policy on player contracts and beginning a "best-of-seven" tournament of champions between them resulting in the modern inter-league World Series for the next century whose championship trophy replaced the old Temple Cup and soon exceeded its esteem. Also each league was allowed a franchise in the nation's largest city, so McGraw was responsible for the new AL Orioles team to move that year of 1903, after only two seasons in Baltimore to New York City to represent the AL, becoming the New York Highlanders, renamed a decade later as the New York Yankees. McGraw went on and later returned to the NL as owner/manager of the famous opposing New York team in the borough of The Bronx with the legendary New York Giants competitive in the early 20th century.

Tom Gunning

Thomas Francis Gunning (March 4, 1862 – March 17, 1931) was a Major League Baseball catcher. He played all or part of six seasons in the majors, from 1884 until 1889, for the Boston Beaneaters, Philadelphia Quakers and Philadelphia Athletics.

Gunning was used mainly as a reserve catcher, never playing in more than 48 games in a season. He played that many in 1885 for the Beaneaters, which was more than any other catchers for Boston that year. In his last two seasons, he served as backup to Wilbert Robinson, who went on to a Hall of Fame career as a manager.

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