The Baltimore Robinsons

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Yank Robinson in 1888 with the St. Louis Browns

Of all the Robinsons that have played baseball (34 at my count), Baltimore has had two of the top three. (The top three being Jackie, Brooks, and Frank, naturally.) The other Robinsons that played for the Baltimore Orioles were: Earl (OF, 1961-64); Eddie (1B, 1957); and Jeff (P, 1991).

But did you know there was also Yank Robinson? And today is his birthday.

William H. “Yank” Robinson was born on September 19, 1859, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While his nickname conjures the name of Baltimore’s arch enemy, the New York Yankees, the origin of his nickname is unclear. According to SABR, the name “started to appear in print in 1886. Robinson was playing in St. Louis by then. The city had been divided on the slavery issue and was occupied by Union forces during the Civil War because of its strategic importance. The sympathies of the citizenry were split between the North and the South even after the conflict. This undoubtedly contributed to the nickname for a player with roots in Philadelphia and Boston.”

Yank played baseball back when teams had names like the Detroit Wolverines, the Pittsburgh Burghers, and Cincinnati Kelly’s Killers, three of the teams Yank played for. He also played for the Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns, and Baltimore Monumentals. Yank was with the Monumentals of the Union Association in 1884, where he was primarily the third baseman although he also played in 14 games as the shortstop, 11 games as catcher, and 11 as a pitcher. The Monumentals disbanded after the 1884 season, so Yank then signed with the St. Louis Browns (who would move to Baltimore a half a century later). Yank was with the Browns for 6 seasons, five of which were pennant-winning seasons for the team (1885-1889).

In 1890, Yank played for the Pittsburgh Burghers of the short-lived Players’ League, before returning to the American Association with Cincinnati in 1891. He was with the Senators in 1892, though his health was failing and played only 58 games that season.

Sadly, Yank Robinson died in August 1894 at the age of 34. But we are honored to consider him one of the Baltimore Robinsons.

~ baseballrebecca




Happy Birthday, Orlando!

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Orlando Cepeda with the Giants in 1962

Orlando Cepeda turns 82 today. Born on September 17, 1937, in Ponce, Puerto Rico, Cepeda made his MLB debut on April 15, 1958. Between 1958 and 1974, the right-handed first baseman played for San Francisco (1958-66), St. Louis (1966-68), Atlanta (1969-72), Oakland (1972), Boston (1973), and Kansas City (1974). He was the NL Rookie of the Year in 1959, an 11-time All-Star, and the 1967 NL MVP.

Whenever I hear Cepeda’s name, I think of this song by Danny Kaye – even though its about his Los Angeles Dodgers, the San Francisco Giants and Orlando Cepeda are an important part of the tale:



~ baseballrebecca



MLB Strikeouts Record

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Tom Cheney’s 1957 baseball card

On this date in 1962, the Washington Senators beat the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 in a 16-inning game. Senators pitcher Tom Cheney struck out 21 Orioles, setting an MLB record for strikeouts in a regular season game. These are the Orioles that struck out:

  1. Jerry Adair
  2. Russ Snyder (struck out 3 times)
  3. Brooks Robinson
  4. Jim Gentile (also struck out 3 times)
  5. Dave Nicholson (3 strike outs)
  6. Hobie Landrith
  7. Jackie Brandt
  8. Marv Breeding (3 strike outs)
  9. Dick Williams
  10. Milt Pappas (2 strike outs)
  11. Dick Hall (3 strike outs)

The orioles that didn’t strike out? Boog Bowell, Jackie Brandt (1 at bat), Charlie Lau (1 at bat), and relievers Billy Hoeft and Wes Stock. The 1962 Orioles ended up having a 78-84 record, finishing in seventh place in the American League.

If it makes O’s fans feel any better, four years later, the Baltimore Orioles went on to win the World Series. (Ok, that really didn’t make me feel any better.)

~ baseballrebecca

Happy Women’s Baseball Day

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Boston National Bloomer Girl’s Base Ball Club, photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

Today is “Women’s Baseball Day” – commemorating the first professional women’s baseball game in which fans were charged an entrance fee and women players were paid. It occurred on September 11, 1875, in Springfield, Illinois. The Blondes beat the Brunettes 42-35, although only three of their runs were earned. According to’s Cut4, the games played by these two teams “were meant to be more like vaudeville shows.” Several of the players were actresses who learned the game from the event organizers.

Since then, women’s baseball has become a serious endeavor. The early 20th Century saw the “Bloomer Girls” and the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League debuted in 1943. Currently, women are having success in amateur and professional baseball, but there is more work to be done.

~ baseballrebecca




Bret Boone Makes History

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Bret Boone with the Calgary Cannons in 1992 (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

On this date in 1992, Bret Boone made his Major League debut and became the first third-generation Major League Baseball player. Boone made his debut with the Seattle Mariners, who he played for through 1993 and again between 2001 and 2005. In his career, he also played for the Cincinnati Reds (1994-98), Atlanta Braves (1999), San Diego Padres (2000), and Minnesota Twins (2005).

Bret’s grandfather, Ray Boone, was the first member of the family to play the game. The elder Boone was born in 1923 and made his Major League debut with the Cleveland Indians in September 1948. After playing for the Detroit Tigers (1953-59), Chicago White Sox (1958-59), Kansas City Athletics (1959), and Milwaukee Braves (1959-60), Ray Boone made his final appearance with the Boston Red Sox on August 11, 1960.

Ray and his wife, Susan, had three children – two boys and a girl. Younger son Rod Boone played in the minor leagues from 1972 to 1975. He was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in 1972 from Stanford University and assigned to the Waterloo Royals. He was promoted to the high-A San Jose Bees in 1973 and the double-A Jacksonville Suns in 1974. After being traded to the Astros, he started the 1975 season with the double-A Columbus Astros before being promoted to the triple-A Iowa Oaks.

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Bob Boone in 2012 (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Twelve years after Ray’s retirement from baseball, on September 10, 1972, Ray’s older son, Bob Boone, made his Major League debut with the Philadelphia Phillies. Bob played in the majors for 18 years, until his retirement in 1990. He played for the Phillies (1972-81), Angels (1982-88), and Royals (1989-90). After his playing career, Bob managed the Kansas City Royals and the Cincinnati Reds. Currently, he is a Vice President and Senior Advisor to the General Manager for Player Development for the Washington Nationals.

Bob Boone had three sons: the aforementioned Bret Boone, born in 1969; Aaron Boone, born in 1973; and Matt Boone, born in 1979. Matt Boone was drafted by the Tigers in 1997. He played in the Tigers’ system from 1997 to 2002, rising to the high-A Lakeland Tigers in 2000 and staying there in 2001 and part of 2002. Be went to the Reds in 2003 and played for both the single-A Dayton Dragons and the rookie-level Gulf Coast Reds. Aaron Boone, on the other hand, spent over 12 years in the Major Leagues and is currently the manager of the New York Yankees.

With any luck, the Boones will add a fourth generation to their MLB Legacy. Bret’s son, Jake Boone, was drafted out of high school by the Washington Nationals (his grandpa’s employer) in the 38th round of the 2017 draft. He was also offered a scholarship to Princeton University, where the 20-year old is about to enter his junior year.

The Sociology of the Family is a fascinating sub-topic in the field of Sociology. Thus, the Sociology of the Baseball Family is an important part of Baseball Sociology. Now that I know more about this historic baseball family, I need to do more research on other baseball families.

~ baseballrebecca









Stat-urday, 7/20/2019: Gaylord Perry’s “Moon Shot”

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Gaylord Perry with the Tacoma Giants in 1961 (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

On July 20, 1969, pitcher Gaylord Perry hit is his first major league home run. In his 22-year career Perry would amass a batting average of .131 with 141 hits, including 17 doubles, 6 home runs, and 47 RBI. As a Hall of Fame pitcher, however, he’d finish his career with a 3.11 ERA, allowing 399 home runs with a win-loss percentage of .542.

One of the myth’s surrounding Perry is the tale that his manager with the Giants once said, “a man will land on the moon before Gaylord Perry hits a home run.” According to’s Cut 4, the story goes as follows:

One day during the ’64 season, [San Francisco Giants Manager Alvin] Dark and San Francisco Examiner reporter Harry Jupiter looked on as Perry smacked some home runs during batting practice. Jupiter told Dark that Perry looked pretty good with a bat in his hands and remarked that the pitcher might even hit a home run one of these days. Dark’s response set in motion one of the weirdest coincidences in baseball history: “Mark my words,” he said, “a man will land on the moon before Gaylord Perry hits a home run.”

And if you don’t believe that, here’s Perry telling the story himself:


Happy Stat-urday! Happy Moon Landing Day!

~ baseballrebecca




Earthmen and Spacettes at the Ballpark

Our countdown to the moon landing anniversary continues with this photo of the Houston Astros grounds crew (circa 1965), which was tweeted out a few years ago by @AstrosDaily:

The photo reminds us the links between the Houston Astros and the space program and how sport and community are closely intertwined. The Astros and their former stadium, the Astrodome, were named in honor of NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston, which had opened its doors in Houston in 1963 (it was renamed Johnson Space Center in 1973). At the Astrodome, Earthmen tended to the astroturf, Spacettes helped you find your seats, and the Astros played baseball.

Check out more cool pics from the Houston Chronicle, Houston History Magazine, Uni Watch, and Getty Images.

~ baseballrebecca

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The Houston Astrodome in 1965 looking a little extraterrestrial (photo courtesy of Wikipedia).