THE NEW YORK TIMES – Brooks Robinson, the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer who was perhaps the finest third baseman in baseball history, has died. He was 86.
His death was announced by the Orioles in a statement that did not include further information.
In his 23 seasons with the Orioles, from 1955 to 1977, Robinson became known as the Human Vacuum Cleaner for his ability to snare just about anything hit his way.
Charging topped grounders or bunts, backhanding smashes, ranging to his left or his right, he won 16 consecutive Gold Glove awards as the American League’s leading fielder at third base. Only the pitcher Greg Maddux, with 18 Gold Gloves, has exceeded Robinson’s total.
Robinson played on four pennant-winning teams, two of them World Series champions. He was the most valuable player of the 1970 World Series, in which the Orioles beat the Cincinnati Reds in five games, for his spectacular plays and for his hitting:
He had a .429 batting average and hit a pair of home runs. (The Orioles also beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in four games in the 1966 Series.)
Robinson had 2,848 hits, 268 home runs and a career batting average of .267. He was the American League’s Most Valuable Player in 1964, when he hit 28 homers, had a league-leading 118 runs batted in and batted .317, all career highs. But he was best known for his fielding.
Robinson was named an All-Star every season from 1960 to 1974. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983, his first year of eligibility, with almost 92 percent of the votes.
In an interview with the former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent for his 2008 oral history, “We Would Have Played for Nothing,” Robinson recalled that after the 1970 World Series, “all the writers were waiting on me to come to my locker … ”