It was an incredible career in baseball, and it all started in Arkansas. Starting from modest roots in Little Rock, Brooks Robinson, Jr., would build one of the most successful careers in baseball history
Born in 1937 to a firefighter and semi-professional baseball player, Brooks Robinson showed a lot of athletic promise from an early age. In high school, he ran track and played basketball for a time, but his real passion always lay with baseball. Immediately after his graduation from high school in 1955, he signed a contract to play for the Baltimore Orioles.
The Orioles sent him to their minor league farm team in York, Pennsylvania, and was called up to Baltimore late in the 1955 season. Robinson would play 23 seasons with the Orioles, mostly as third baseman. He became almost unstoppable defensively, getting the nickname “the human vacuum cleaner” for his fielding ability. In 1960, he won the first of 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards for his defensive play, the most for any third baseman in baseball history. That year, he also elected to play in the All-Star Game, his first of 15 consecutive appearances. He would lead the American League in fielding percentage 11 times and had a career .971 fielding average, the most for any third baseman ever. He would have a career .267 batting average with 268 home runs. He would be named the Most Valuable Player for the American League in 1964 and named the Most Valuable Player for the 1966 All-Star Game. The Orioles would go on to win the 1966 and 1970 World Series, with the key home runs and catches by Robinson seen as essential to the Oriole wins. In 1970, he would bat .429 in the World Series and would be named the Most Valuable Player for the World Series. The Orioles would lose the 1971 World Series, and though his career was starting to decline, he was still widely respected for his sportsmanship and abilities as a player, winning the Commissioner’s Award (later named the Roberto Clemente Award) in 1972 for his play. In 1977, Robinson retired from baseball and would become a commentator for televised Orioles games on WMAR. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983 and is still a popular figure among players and throughout the Baltimore area.