Wilbert Robinson

Manager: Baltimore Orioles, 1902; Brooklyn Dodgers, 1914-1931

Catching for the last-place Baltimore Orioles in a game against the St. Louis Browns on June 10, 1892, Wilbert Robinson enjoyed probably the greatest batting day in history. In seven plate appearances, he collected seven hits and 11 RBI. Only twice since then has a player totaled more than 11 RBI in a game, and no one has ever improved on Robinson’s perfect 7-for-7 showing.

Robinson's popularity was already such that his team was dubbed the Robbins by Brooklyn beat writers.
Robinson's popularity was already such
that his team was dubbed the Robbins by
Brooklyn beat writers.

Born in Hudson, Massachusetts, Wilbert Robinson (1863-1934) was a latecomer to professional baseball, not making his entry until nearly age 22 in 1885. The following season, the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association hired him to do the bulk of their mask work.

Sent to Baltimore late in the 1890 season, Robinson had become the regular backstopper of the famous Orioles by the time the club was absorbed by the National League at the end of the following year. He remained the Orioles regular catcher throughout the decade.

During his golden years in Baltimore, Robinson formed a close friendship with third baseman John McGraw. The relationship grew into a business partnership when the two opened a local saloon called The Diamond.

When McGraw was named the American League Baltimore Orioles’ first manager, Robinson became his coach. McGraw defected to the National League in July 1902 to manage the New York Giants; Robinson replaced him as the Orioles skipper and then retired from the game after the club was moved to New York before the 1903 season. He stayed out of baseball until McGraw hired him to be the Giants pitching coach in 1911.

During the 1913 season, the two old friends began to quarrel over strategy and what pitches to call. The arguments swiftly flared into a feud that made them enemies; in addition, the already intense rivalry between the Giants and the Dodgers was heightened when Robinson was hired the following spring to pilot the Brooklyn club.

Before his first year in Brooklyn was out, Robinson had been nicknamed “Uncle Robbie” and sportswriters had begun calling his team the “Robins.” Hailed by Brooklyn fans as a genius after he brought home pennant winners in 1916 and 1920, Robinson later was beloved for his absentmindedness and casual approach to life that in turn became the trademarks of his team.

By the late 1920s, the Dodgers were known as the Daffiness Boys, and Robinson seemed almost to revel in the team’s reputation for zaniness and boneheaded plays. Following the 1931 season, he ended his 18-year association with the club when he resigned under pressure from the front office. Robinson was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1945.

Here are Wilbert Robinson's major league managing totals:


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