Ex-Tiger Eddie Robinson, oldest former MLB player, dies at 100

Detroit News
Associated Press |  Associated Press

Bastrop, Texas — Former Tiger Eddie Robinson, the oldest living former major league player whose more than six decades in professional baseball included being general manager for two teams, has died. He was 100.

The Texas Rangers, the team for which Robinson was GM from 1976-82, said he died Monday night at his ranch in Bastrop, Texas.

Robinson was the last surviving player from the 1948 World Series champion Cleveland Indians. That championship was part of the first baseman’s 13 big league seasons, during which he played for seven of the eight American League teams that were active during his career and was a four-time All-Star.

In 1957, Robinson played in 13 games with the Tigers with no hits and three walks in nine at-bats. The Tigers (78-76) finished in fourth place in the American League under manager Jack Tighe in 1957 and featured 22-year-old outfielder Al Kaline (.295 batting average, 23 homers, 90 RBIs) and pitcher Jim Bunning (20-8, 2.69 ERA).

After Robinson finished playing, he was a coach for Baltimore before switching to player development and scouting for the Orioles and several other teams. He was GM of the Atlanta Braves from 1972-76, then had that role with the Rangers.

He worked as a scout and consultant for former New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in the early 1980s, and his last year in baseball was as a scout for the Boston Red Sox in 2004.

Robinson made his big league debut with Cleveland at age 21 in 1942, then served in the military during World War II before returning to the Indians from 1946-48.

He also played for the Washington Senators (1949-50), Chicago White Sox (1950-52), Philadelphia Athletics (1953), New York Yankees (1954-56), Tigers (1957) and Baltimore (1957). The only AL team of that period he didn’t play for was Boston.

He hit .268 with 172 homers and 723 RBIs in 1,315 career games. He had three consecutive 100-RBI seasons, with at least 22 homers in each of them, for the White Sox in 1951-52 and the A’s in 1953.

“The Texas Rangers are incredibly saddened with the passing of the legendary Eddie Robinson, who spent nearly 70 years in professional baseball as an All-Star player and respected executive,” the team said in a statement. “For Eddie Robinson, it was truly a life well lived.”

The Rangers helped Robinson celebrate his 100th birthday last December, and said he made a final spring training visit to Arizona last February. The Texas native was a regular visitor to Rangers home games in his later years.

Robinson is survived by his second wife, Bette, and his four sons, Robby, Marc, Paul and Drew.

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