Brooks Robinson: The Greatest Defensive Player in Baseball History, at Any Position (6 of 7)

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Game 5

Announcing Game 5 – and this video is in color! – with thanks to YouTube user MLBClassics – again in Memorial Stadium, are Gowdy and Kubek from NBC, along with Thompson from the Orioles. Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 06.42.05.png

Tony Kubek interviews Cincinnati Reds’ manager, Sparky AndersonScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 06.45.05.png Video of the interview.

Tony Kubek interviews Baltimore Orioles’ manager, Earl Weaver. Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 06.49.59.pngVideo of the interview.

“And the rockets’ red glare …” – The 1st Army Band from Fort George G. Meade, MDScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 06.57.15.png

Brooks Robinson at 3rd … ” Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 07.01.55.png

Top of the 1st, no score, 2 out, runner on 2nd, Johnny Bench up, 0-1 count, Mike Cuellar pitching – I’m including this because it’s a rare chance to see a play involving three all-time greats: Pete Rose (on 2nd), Johnny Bench (at bat), and Frank Robinson (playing RF). Video of the play.

Bottom of the 2nd, Reds leading 3-2, none out, none on, Brooks Robinson up, 1-2 count, Jim Merritt pitching – “Batting 6th, playing 3rd base, number 5, Brooks Robinson” – Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 07.07.36.png Gowdy: “Brooks has the most hits of any batter in this series – 8 hits, 16 times up, he’s batting .500. – perfect day yesterday, 4-for-4 … The last man to get 4-for-4 in a World Series was Lou Brock, for the Cardinals against the Tigers in the first game of the ’67 Series … Prior to Brooks Robinson, the last American League player to have a 4-for-4 game was Bill Dickey in 1938. Robinson hits a deep line-out to left-fielder Hal McRaeScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 07.15.29.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 07.15.45.png Video of the play.

Tony Kubek interviews Washington Senators’ owner, Bob Short, and son of President Eisenhower, David Eisenhower:  Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 07.25.02.png Video of the interview.

Bottom of the 3rd, Orioles leading 4-3, none out, runner on 2nd, Merv Rettenmund up, 1-1 count, Wayne Granger relieving Jim Merritt – This is a small detail, but Brooks Robinson, in the on-deck circle, plays “traffic cop,” signaling for Boog Powell – rounding third on Rettenmund’s single – to hit the dirt on his way home. Certainly you expect this from every professional, but it does show that Robinson was engaged in the moment.Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 07.31.18.png Video of the play.

Bottom of the 3rd, Orioles leading 5-3, none out, runner on 2nd, Brooks Robinson up, 1-1 count, Wayne Granger pitching – Gowdy: “Against Minnesota [in the ALCS], he had 7 hits in 12-times up; in the World Series, he’s 8-for-17 – 15 hits in his last 29 times at-bat, a nine-game batting streak. He’s been just as hot with his glove.” Robinson laces a line drive to 2nd-baseman Tommy Helms, who bobbles the ball, but Robinson hit it so hard (and he ran so slowly) that he was still thrown out at first – this was very close to being a base hit, and was a fine, heads-up recovery by Helms – that’s one thing you must do as an infielder: block the ball any way you can, so you can have a second chance to throw the runner out. Rettenmund, on 2nd base, advanced to 3rd on the ground out. Gowdy [on Robinson going to the opposite field]: “Those are things that never show up in the box score, but the good players do them, and help their team. Rettenmund now at 3rd, and the Reds have to bring the infield in with one out.” Rettunmund would score on the next at-bat, as Davey Johnson hit a line-drive single to left-field; had Rettunmund remained at 2nd base, he wouldn’t have made it home, and it was all set up by Robinson hitting to the opposite field – what you’d call a “productive out.” Gowdy: “And Brooks Robinson, getting that man over to 3rd, set up the run.” Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 07.46.18.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 07.46.24.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 07.46.33.png Video of the play

Tony Kubek interviews MLB Commissioner, Bowie Kuhn Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 08.00.48.png Video of the interview.

Top of the 4th, Orioles leading 6-3, none out, none on, Lee May up, 2-2 count, Mike Cuellar pitching –  Gowdy: “Lee May is the only hitter who has hit safely in every game, including today. Brooks Robinson and Bobby Tolan still have their chance to do so. They asked May if he’s altered his swing to keep the ball from getting away to [sic: “from”] Brooks Robinson – he said, “No.” May has had seven hits, and twice, he’s been robbed of hits by Robinson at 3rd. They have a shift on for him now … first time we’ve seen them shift – Robinson, Belanger, and Davey Johnson all on the left side of the infield.” Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 08.11.23.png Once again, May rips a line shot down the 3rd-base line – Robinson spears it in foul territory, and notices that May had fallen down near home plate, so despite a good stop, Robinson was able to simply jog towards 1st base, and lob an easy throw over to Powell. Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 08.13.47.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 08.14.13.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 08.14.20.png If May hadn’t have fallen, this would have been another memorable one, but alas, he did. Video of the play.

Tony Kubek interviews Chairman of the Board of the Baltimore Orioles, Jerry Hoffberger Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 08.23.30.png Kubek [after exchanging some plesantries]: “Well, you’ve put on a fine performance, and that guy you’ve got at 3rd is unreal.” Hoffberger: “Come back and see him *next* year, Tony.” Hoffberger knew – he had seen it for eleven years, and he would see it for five more. Video of the Interview.

Bottom of the 5th, Orioles leading 7-3, 1 out, none on 2nd, Brooks Robinson up, 1-1 count, Tony Cloninger relieving Milt Wilcox – When it rains, it pours, I guess – Robinson got jammed by Cloninger, and popped the ball up to short-center. But the ball had eyes, and landed in between three converging Reds for a lucky single – this is one that shouldn’t have happened, as Cloninger made a perfectly fine pitch; no complaints were heard from Baltimore fans, however. Robinson fell rounding first, perhaps because he felt guilty about this.Thompson: “But that’s now the 9th hit in the 1970 World Series for Brooks Robinson, tying a record that Curt Gowdy mentioned earlier- the last one to do it: Bobby Richardson (it must be noted that Paul Blair also got 9 hits in this Series, batting .474, and tying the 5-game record which has happened a dozen times; interestingly, Babe Ruth got *10* hits in a 4-game series, besting all of them!) In the next at-bat, Davey Johnson would drill a double down the left-field line (which Robinson almost surely would have caught), but Robinson was held up at 3rd base, and eventually thrown out at home on a bunt attempt by Mike Cuellar – both occurrences indicating Robinson’s slow running speed.Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 08.30.03.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 08.30.20.png Video of the play.

Bottom of the 6th, Orioles leading 7-3, 2 out, runners on 1st and 3rd, Brooks Robinson up, 0-0 count, Tony Cloninger pitching – Robinson sure is hitting a lot of ground-outs to Perez at third – here, Perez makes the easy force-out on Powell running to 2nd, and Robinson strands runners on 1st and 3rd. Again, he jumped on the first pitch.Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 14.56.19.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 14.56.48.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 14.56.56.pngVideo of the play.

Tony Kubek interviews Connie Robinson, Brooks’ wife. Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 15.03.44.png Kubek: “With me down on the field, one of the all-time great 3rd-baseman’s wives, Mrs. Brooks Robinson. Connie, I think you’re going to be driving a new Dodge around after this World Series – it looks like he’s heading for that MVP.” Robinson [smiling]: “Maybe, I don’t know.” Kubek: “He’s having a heck of a Series – is he always that easy-going, as he is on the field?” Robinson: “Always, always.” Kubek: “Never hollers at the kids or you?” Robinson: “Not too often.” Kubek: “Nice talking to you, Connie – a real pleasure.”  Video of the interview

Bottom of the 7th, Orioles leading 7-3, 1 out, none on, Paul Blair up, 2-2 count, Ray Washburn relieving Tony Cloninger – It’s important to include this, Paul Blair’s 9th hit of the Series, because it shows the difference between a “great 3rd baseman,” and “the best 3rd baseman who has ever lived.” Blair hits a hard grounder between 3rd and short – Perez lunges for it and misses, leaving Concepcion to wait an extra split-second, and having to fire a rifle towards 1st base, with Blair beating out the infield single. Robinson cuts off this ground ball 19 out of 20 times, and that’s yet another thing that doesn’t show up on a stat sheet (if you’re skeptical, read my summary post, which will be immediately following this one, and hopefully, you’ll see).

Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 15.15.02.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 15.15.23.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 15.15.30.png Video of the play

Bottom of the 7th, Orioles leading 7-3, 1 out, runners on 1st and 2nd, Boog Powell up, 0-0 count, Ray Washburn pitching – This was fabulous baseball by two players, neither of whom was the hitter, or the fielder. Powell slapped a hard grounder to a handcuffed Lee May, who fell down and dropped the ball. However, an alert Tommy Helms had the presence-of-mind to run over, barehand the ball, and flip it to Washburn covering 1st base, getting Powell out. Perhaps even more impressive: Blair raced around from 2nd base, and was somehow able to score on the play – just sensational playing by both Helms and Blair, this play was pure pandemonium: Baseball at its finest and most entertaining. (Pssst … Powell was safe at 1st – take a close look at the replay.)Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 15.34.12.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 15.34.19.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 15.34.25.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 15.34.30.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 15.34.37.png Video of the play.

Tony Kubek interviews American League President Joe CroninScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 15.49.54.png  Video of the interview.

Bottom of the 8th, Orioles leading 8-3, 1 out, runners on 1st and 2nd, Brooks Robinson up, 0-0 count, Clay Carroll relieving Ray Washburn – The Orioles’ fans knew this would be the last time they’d see their World Series MVP at-bat. Thompson: “A standing ovation for Brooks Robinson.” Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 15.42.47.png Had Robinson gotten a hit here, he’d still, in 2018, stand alone as having the most hits in a five-game World Series. Alas, Mighty Casey has struck out for the second time in the Series. Thompson: “As he heads to the Baltimore dugout, they’re getting up behind the dugout, and this most-popular of all to wear the uniform of a Baltimore Oriole … if the Series ends today, you can use all the superlatives you can think of, and it would describe his play in this Series.” Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 15.53.03.png Video of the play. (PS – You didn’t *really* think Robinson would end this Series on a strikeout, did you? If there’s such a thing as Fatalism, it’s on full display here.)

Top of the 9th, Orioles leading 9-3, none out, none one, Johnny Bench up, 1-2 count, Mike Cuellar pitching – Yes, he caught it. He could have let it go foul, but he knew he could catch it, so … why not? Robinson was also keenly aware of what Bench had done precisely three pitches before this blazing line drive. Gowdy: “That’s a … OHHHHHHH !!! ROBINSON DOES IT AGAIN !!! Brooks Robinson! Making another phenomenal play at 3rd!” Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 16.00.14.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 16.00.06.png Video of the play.

Gowdy: “And Robinson has already been named the winner of the 16th-annual Sport Magazine World Series Award as the outstanding player in the 70 Series. No question about it.”

Top of the 9th, Orioles leading 9-3, 2 out, none on, Pat Corrales up, 0-0 count, Mike Cuellar pitching – The same play that Robinson committed an error on in Game 1, ended the World Series – this time, the throw wasn’t high. Somewhere in the middle of that mob is Brooks Robinson. Screenshot 2018-01-31 at 16.13.16.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 16.13.20.pngScreenshot 2018-01-31 at 16.13.33.png Video of the play.

Here is Chuck Thompson with the locker-room interviews – I’m not going to comment, other than to say that there are some important interviews here, and hopefully you can see what good people were involved with this team, and what a nice, humble guy Brooks Robinson is – also, a special mention to Sparky Anderson for his classy gesture. Video of the interviews.

Final Score: Orioles 9, Reds 3 – Box Score

Brooks Robinson’s Cumulative Statistics:
Slash Line: .429 / .429 / .810, OPS: 1.239, Hits: 9, Doubles: 2, HRs: 2, RBIs: 6, Runs: 4
Total Chances: 24, Putouts: 9, Assists: 14, Errors: 1, Double-Plays: 2, Fielding Percentage: .958

Continue with Part 7

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