The great Brooks Robinson has left the field

For what a patch of spiked sand around third looks like
50 years after
Only a turning wind may remember

… Nelson Algren, “Ballet for Opening Day”

Brooks is the kind of player who exhausts the dictionary’s capacity of superlatives. He was an iron man who played nearly 3,000 major league games. He is generally considered the greatest fielder ever to man the hot corner. He won an MVP, and 16 Gold Gloves. He was selected for 18 all-star games. He is a Baltimore legend who never played for another MLB team.

He was reputed to be as good a person as he was a fielder. Like Stan Musial, Brooks was the kind of guy about whom nobody ever said an unkind word.


5 thoughts on “The great Brooks Robinson has left the field

  1. I was born in 1956 and grew up with Robinson being the definition of 3B and parents naming their children after him. However, I think Nolan Arenado will be remembered as the best fielding 3B of all time and maybe the best all around. He has a weekly highlight as good or better than the one you posted of Robinson

    1. They are quite comparable, with an edge to Arenado because of his power, with everything else quite even.

      Comparing their lifetime records on the road (to eliminate the Coors effect):

      Brooks: 263/316/392
      Nolan: 268/326/487

      Brooks: Road OPS+: 103
      Nolan: Road OPS+: 114


      Defensive WAR per 162 games:
      Brooks: 2.2
      Nolan: 2.0

      Arenado has won the Gold Glove every year he has played, so it’s reasonable to think that he will someday hold the record for the most GGs by a position player, and he may also reach 500 homers, so he’ll certainly enter the argument for the all-time best at 3B. That’s possible, but Mike Schmidt’s 107 WAR is a high mountain to climb.

  2. When I first heard the news, I thought that the legends were dropping like flies. Then I thought Brooks never dropped anything, so I need a better phrase for that.


  3. When Palmer was talking about Brooks, it sounded like when Gibson was talking about Musial. Gibson once said that the Man was the nicest man he’d ever met and then made it clear he wasn’t just talking about baseball people.
    He and Chuck Thompson weren’t a bad broadcasting duo either.
    Of all the greats from my youngers, I think the only ones left are two inner circle guys, Mays and Koufax.
    And Tito’s last home game was in Cleveland last night; they did it up right. Even the weather cooperated. The man is looking at surgeries 41 through 43 in the off season.

  4. One of the true greats. A good natured country boy that was a fierce competitor and played virtually every day for almost two decades. He was a great postseason performer, one who’s playoff numbers were better than his regular season numbers (even with the 1-19 in the 1969 WS).

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