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Friday, October 23, 2009
Card #4, Brooks Robinson Record Breaker
When I was making my needs list for this set I had all of the numbers written down and then I went to the checklist to figure out what star players (that would cost me) were on the list. This card was one that I needed, and the checklist listed it as such: “Brooks Robinson/Record Breaker”. That left a certain degree of suspense for me because Brooks owns so many records! In 1977 he owned the record himself of 16 consecutive Gold Glove Awards (Jim Kaat and Greg Maddux have since tied it), he owns the career marks for games, assists, put-outs and double plays by a third baseman and he also owns (shared with Carl Yastrzemski) the record for most seasons played with one team. As it turns out, the latter is the focus of this record breaker card. The title reads “Most Consecutive Seasons, One Club”. When Brooks started the 1977 season it was his 23rd (consecutive) season with the Baltimore Orioles. He started out for them as an 18-year old rookie in 1955 and played there till he was a 40 year old pinch hitter in 1977. Along the way he played in 18 consecutive All Star Games (starting 11 of them), he led the league in fielding percentage 11 times, holds the AL career record for sac flies and was the American League MVP in 1964 when he played in all 163 games, batted .317, hit 28 homers and led the league with 118 runs batted in. He also earned two World Series rings with the Orioles (’66 and ’70) and has a career .303 postseason batting average with 5 homers and 22 RBI. Okay, back to the card, which is #4 in the set, it dictates that Brooks broke the All-Time record for longevity which was previously shared by National Leaguers (and Hall of Famers) Cap Anson, Mel Ott and Stan Musial. It goes on to mention that 2 American League players shared the mark, but doesn’t mention their names. I know that Al Kaline played 22 seasons with the Tigers, so that is one, but it doesn’t mention the other. This will probably keep me up at night till I figure it out… Some of these records that were set in this set were expanded upon, but Brooks’ final year was 1977, I think he had his final at-bat on August 5, 1977 and therefore the mark stood at 23 seasons. He only started 10 games at third base that year and only had 52 at bats total and his batting average was a painful .149. He did hit a homerun that year and I hope it was at home because I can imagine the ovation that would have earned him. He was a defensive specialist, nicknamed the “Human Vacuum Cleaner”, but still delivered at the plate, including 2,848 career hits. Like Musial and Kaline with their respective teams, when you think of the Orioles, you think of Brooks Robinson and you immediately envision him at the hot corner making a diving stop and a dead-on throw to first. This record that he set stood for only 5 seasons until Carl Yastrzemski played his 23rd season for the Boston Red Sox in 1983. That same year Brooks Robinson was inducted into the National Baseball of Fame on his first year of eligibility, receiving 92% of all votes. To this day those 2 share the record and in the current climate of free agency I don’t think anyone will come close to taking this mark from these two legends. I am glad that Brooks broke another this year because otherwise Topps would have completely overlooked this legendary player. As it stands, the greatest third baseman of All-Time, #5, Brooks “The Human Vacuum Cleaner” Robinson’s final regular issue Topps card is from the 1977 set, card #285. This leaves only 3 more record breaker cards to cover and then it is off to the regular set! Happy collecting…
i machine metal for a paycheck, i announce roller derby for reasons other than a paycheck. i put out records, still waiting for the paycheck...i spend a lot of time sitting in front of the computer... i go by a few different names; marck bacontowne, sinkhole marck, side of bacon, mister gin n juice and now you can call me Collective Troll