A Biography in 1,000 Players No. 85 Brooks Robinson (Number 7 Third Base)

In my opinion the greatest fielding third baseman of all time. Both versions of WAR agree. In 1970 we just got back in the Philippines. In the old days we didn’t get by satellite. So, while we were in the Philippines, we didn’t see the World Series live. You could listen on Armed Forces Radio.  We would get our games about six to eight week later. This worked in the regular season because I didn’t remember who won the regular season game. However, we didn’t watch the World Series until December and then only games 1 and 5. Of course I already knew who won the World Series and even the scores. Game 1 wasn’t really fun to watch as I knew the Orioles were going to lose the series. Game 5 was a little better.

We came back from the Philippines in August. I was 11 and primed for the post season. Unfortunately, the two league Championship Series were sweeps. Poor MLB didn’t have much luck. The first two years they had playoffs for the World Series, the series were all three game sweeps. This didn’t help generate any interest in these series and rating were bad.

The World Series that was won by the Orioles four games to one, which doesn’t seem that exciting. Also, two of the games the Orioles won 9-3. However, the other three games were 1 run games where the winning team came back from at least two runs down in each game. Also, in the 5th game the Reds scored three runs in the top of third only to lose 9-3. It hurt, the game as the Orioles scored 2 runs each of the three innings to take a 6-3 lead after 3. Also, Mike Cuellar who gave up three runs in the first gave up only 2 singles and a walk in the next 8 innings.

However, I was thrilled, and I haven’t even told you about the best thing in the series, Brooks Robinson’s fielding. Even though Brooks hit .429 in the series with 2 doubles and 2 homeruns all anybody could talk about was his fielding. It was the best fielding World Series by a third baseman I ever saw. Graig Nettles had the greatest fielding game in the 1978 World Series. The greatest play was in this World Series where Brooks Robinson robbed Lee May of a double. His momentum carried him to outside the third base line deep at third base. Robinson made the throw to get May at first. In the series Robinson also made a play on a small bouncer with his bare hand to get the runner at first. He went as far in on that play as a third baseman could go and was as far out as a third baseman could go on the May play.

The thing I remember most is Sparky Anderson after the Reds came back to win game 4 on a three-run homer by Lee May. Sparky said it was nice to see a ball get by Brooks Robinson the play before on a single hit between Robinson and Mark Belanger. It showed him Brooks was human.

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