Bruce Robinson (baseball)

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Bruce Robinson
Bruce Robinson Oakland A's 1975.jpg
Born: (1954-04-16) April 16, 1954 (age 64)
La Jolla, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 19, 1978, for the Oakland Athletics
Last MLB appearance
October 4, 1980, for the New York Yankees
MLB statistics
Batting average.228
Home runs0
Runs batted in10

Bruce Philip Robinson, (Robby) (born April 16, 1954, in La Jolla, California) is a former Major League Baseball catcher. He played parts of three seasons from 1978 until 1980 and was on the New York Yankees disabled list during the 1981 and 1982 seasons. He is the son of John Munro Robinson (1917- ), a law school graduate (U. of Minnesota) and banker/estate planner, and Kathleen (née Tanner) Robinson (1925-2002), a career housewife and homemaker.

A first-round pick by the Oakland Athletics in the 1975 Major League Baseball Draft, Robinson's career was derailed by an automobile accident while playing for the New York Yankees in 1980. He never returned to the majors, though he continued to play in the minor leagues in 1983, with the Pittsburgh Pirates AAA affiliate in Hawaii and in 1984 with the A's in Tacoma and Modesto. During that time, Robinson was a player-coach for the Modesto A's in 1984, where he worked with future stars Mark McGwire and José Canseco.

Robinson is the father of ambidextrous former minor league first baseman, catcher, and player/coach Scott Robinson. Scott Robinson played 8 years of professional baseball, 5 years in the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners organizations, one season with Macon, Georgia, where he was league MVP and the league-leading hitter, and two years as a player/coach with O'Fallon, Missouri. Robinson's next-oldest brother, Dave Robinson, played in the major leagues for two seasons with the San Diego Padres.

Early years[edit]

Bruce Robinson was born in La Jolla, California, a beach community within the city of San Diego. Bruce is the youngest of three: brothers John Junior (Skip), Dave, and Bruce were all multi-sport stars in youth leagues and at La Jolla High School. Dave, Bruce's senior by eight years, graduated from San Diego State University and went on to become an outfielder in the Major Leagues with the San Diego Padres. Following his baseball career, Dave became a middle school physical education teacher in San Diego County. Oldest brother "Skip" was a collegiate pitcher and graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara. Skip was a career banking executive to the wineries of Sonoma and Napa counties in northern California.

Bruce showed a love of music at 8 years old, and by age 10, when the Beatles took the world by storm in 1964, he was saving his weekly allowance to buy 45s for $0.99 and Beatles albums for $3.00. Bruce's first "gig" was at a La Jolla Elementary School P.T.A. meeting, singing with group of sixth-grade classmates. The musical group Nau & Them (Jim Nau, Robert McCleod, Tim Fallis, and Bruce) performed two songs made popular by Herman's Hermits, "I'm Henery the Eighth, I Am" and "Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter". Nau & Them recast the members for the following year and played two shows, including the annual La Jolla Fall Carnival, which gave them a dose of rock stardom. The band consisted of Jim Nau (piano & organ), Joe Fawcett (lead guitar & vocals), Robert McCleod (rhythm guitar), Larry Mulvaney (drums), and Bruce (bass guitar and lead vocals). That 1967 show was the last musical performance for Bruce until he performed at an open-mic 41 years later in Twin Falls, Idaho.

After graduating from La Jolla High School in 1972, Bruce was chosen in the fourth round by the Chicago White Sox in the 1972 Major League Baseball draft, but elected to turn down their offer to attend Stanford University on a full baseball scholarship. Robinson received All-American recognition during both summer and college seasons at Stanford, breaking the university's single-season home run record in 1975.[1] To this day, Robinson hit more home runs with a wooden bat in a single season than any other Stanford player.

After finishing the school year at Stanford, Bruce would fly to Fairbanks, Alaska, to join the top summer collegiate program in the nation, the Fairbanks Alaska Goldpanners. Robinson played with dozens of players who went on to stardom in the Major Leagues, helping the Goldpanners win 3 consecutive national championships at the National Baseball Congress (NBC) Tournament in Wichita, Kansas. Robinson's 1974 squad is widely acclaimed as the best amateur team ever assembled.

Professional baseball career[edit]

Bruce Robinson Yankee Stadium During National Anthem
Bruce Robinson At Bat At Yankee Stadium Looking For Sign

A first-round pick in the 1975 Major League Baseball draft (21st choice overall), Bruce got most of his major league at-bats with the 1978 Oakland Athletics. After batting .299 with 10 home runs and 73 RBI in 102 games with AAA Vancouver in 1978, he received a mid-August call-up to the Major League club and hit .250 in 88 plate appearances over the final 28 games of the season.

Robinson, along with former New York Yankees pitching star and longtime San Francisco Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti, were involved in a car accident in 1980 in which Robinson's right shoulder sustained a career impacting injury, necessitating shoulder reconstruction in May 1981. A drunken driver rear-ended Robinson and Righetti in Robinson's car that was stopped in a left-hand-turn lane as the players were nearing their residence. Due to the shoulder injury he sustained in the accident, Robinson has forced to pass up being the left-handed platoon side of a starting role with the Yankees in 1981. Robinson missed both the 1981 and 1982 seasons while on the Yankees disabled list, and never made it back to the Major Leagues. He did lead the Oakland A's in batting average during spring training in 1984, but was sent to AAA Tacoma before agreeing to accept a player/hitting coach position with Oakland's class-A Modesto club in the California League. Robinson's primary role was to work with two young hitters, Mark McGwire (fresh from the 1984 Olympic team) and José Canseco, who at the time was under-performing. McGwire and Canseco both went on to prolific and controversial careers in the "steroid age" of baseball in the 1980s and 1990s.

Robinson's lasting legacy on the game is his invention of the "Robby Pad" in 1980. The "Robby Pad", a hinged flap on the right/throwing shoulder of a catcher's chest protector, began seeing widespread use in the mid-1980s and can be viewed on most every catcher's chest protector from the Major Leagues to youth leagues. One of the original two "Robby Pads" is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Robinson retained the original prototype and it is framed in his home in Idaho.

Bruce is the only former Major League player who can claim an affiliation with both the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On August 24, 2012, Bruce performed 24 original songs as a solo act with his guitar and ukulele on the main stage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.


Bruce Robinson was shaped by the music of the 1960s. At the prodding of classmates, he became part of a band in the sixth grade, singing and playing bass guitar. The band played a few gigs at school carnivals and churches before Bruce dropped out due to his commitment to baseball. A serious guitar player since college, Bruce carried a guitar on road trips throughout his baseball career. He started writing songs in 2008 and has written and copyrighted 50 songs through February 2014, 44 written since November 2011.

It's About Time[edit]

Robinson released his self-produced debut music CD in January 2012, It's About Time, consisting of 20 original songs. Robinson plays guitar, ukulele, harmonica, banjolele, and provides lead vocals on all the tracks. The album was born out of Bruce's desire to leave a memory of his music for his kids and grandchildren. Originally intended to be a combination of cover songs and a few originals, Bruce wrote 14 songs the month prior to flying to Kansas City to devote a few days recording with a friend he had met at the National Association of Music Merchants (N.A.M.M.) trade show months earlier. Never having been in a studio, Robinson felt the pains of the process but gained the wisdom he would build upon to one day create future fully produced CDs.

In Good Hands[edit]

After recording his debut album, Robinson played numerous gigs in San Diego, Idaho, Las Vegas, and one at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in August 2012, and continued to write more songs. In mid-July 2012, he assembled a team to take on the task of recording all 33 of his original songs. The equivalent of 3 normal-length albums, the huge project was a challenge he and his sound engineer, Richard Livoni, were able to meet. Bruce was now familiar with the recording process and was able to better vocalize what he wanted for his music when the team of musicians were brought into the studio in San Diego.

In October 2012, Robinson released his second (and first fully produced) CD, In Good Hands, a 2-CD collection of 33 lyrically articulated country, blues, jazz, rock, and ballad originals. Robinson re-recorded the 20 songs from his first self-produced CD and added in 13 new songs in order to have his entire catalog of music fully produced. The second CD, In Good Hands, features Robinson's lead vocals with him playing guitar and ukulele. Backing him are musicians Aristotle Georgio (Harmonica), Rick Nash (bass guitar), John Cain (keyboards and accordion), Joe Marillo (saxophone), Katie "Cat" Catinella (backing vocals), and Richard Blitz (lead guitar, dobro, percussion, and drums).


In June 2014, Robinson released his third CD, 3, consisting of 17 new original songs. As with his second CD, "3" leans country, but includes blues, rock, and one jazz tune. The band that backed Robinson for In Good Hands was reassembled for 3, with the addition of a pedal steel player. Behind Robinson's guitar and lead vocals are Aristotle Georgio (Harmonica), Rick Nash (bass guitar), John Cain (keyboards), Tim "Steelbone" Cook (pedal steel), and Richard Blitz(lead guitar, percussion, drums and harmonies).

Personal life[edit]

When not traveling, Bruce Robinson splits time between San Diego and his Idaho home on the Snake River. Oldest son Scott, after 8 years of professional baseball, attained an engineering degree and is a project engineer for Gilbane Construction. Daughter Kelly is a full-time mother to four children and was an impressive athlete as a youngster. Youngest son Tommy runs a successful internet company, has a degree in criminology and justice studies, and is a sheriff's deputy in Idaho.

Bruce credits a girl he met on the first day of kindergarten at La Jolla Elementary School in 1959 (and reunited with in 2007) with being the person that convinced him to write and perform music. Both songwriting and performing began in October 2008 when he wrote his first song, "Not Enough Time", and performed seven songs at his first open-mic in Twin Falls, Idaho.


Bruce Robinson
Bruce Robinson Posing Before Performance At Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.jpg
Robinson posing for a fan before his solo performance at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on August 24, 2012
Background information
Birth nameBruce Philip Robinson
Born (1954-04-16) April 16, 1954 (age 64)
OriginLa Jolla, California, USA
GenresCountry, Blues, Jazz, Rock, Ballad
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, ukulele
Years active2008–present
LabelsBruce Robinson Music
Associated actsAristotle Georgio, Joe Marillo, Rick Nash, Richard Blitz, John Cain, Tim Steelbone Cook, Katie "Cat" Catinella, Larry Willson, Sonny Boy Smith, Sir Richard, Miles to Nowhere, Melanie Kurb
WebsiteOfficial website
Bruce Robinson playing ukulele at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame August 24, 2012
Bruce Robinson's 1st CD, It's About Time, an acoustic quickie
Bruce Robinson's 2nd CD, the fully produced studio double CD, 33 original songs with all star band: In Good Hands
Bruce Robinson's 3rd CD, 17 original songs with his all star band: 3

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart
US Country US
It's About Time
  • Release date: January 17, 2012
  • Label: Bruce Robinson Music
  • Formats: CD, music download
- -
In Good Hands
  • Release date: October 18, 2012
  • Label: Bruce Robinson Music
  • Formats: CD, music download
- -


Year Single Peak Chart Positions Album
US Country US
January 17, 2012 "It's About Time" - - It's About Time
"Don't Rain On My Parade" - -
"When You Look Too Hard For Love" - -
"Gettin' Old Is Gettin' Old" - -
"Gonna See My Sugar Tonight" - -
"I'm Not Afraid Anymore" - -
"When I Wake Up In the Morning" - -
"Traveling With My Baby" - -
"Moving On" - -
"Better Friends Than Lovers" - -
"Says the Light" - -
"I'll Never Be Lost With You" - -
"Only A Vision" - -
"Let's Do It Again" - -
"I Love You" - -
"Not Enough Time" - -
"Dream To Dream Your Dreams" - -
"It's Always Good To Be Back" - -
"I've Been Gone Longer Than You Think" - -
"Wide Open Spaces" - -
October 18, 2012 "It Ain't Right" - - In Good Hands
"This Kind of Truth Hurts" - -
"Don't Rain On My Parade" - -
"Dream to Dream Your Dreams" - -
"Are You Coming Home" - -
"Autumn Rose" - -
"Buck Me" - -
"Give, Love" - -
"Gettin' Old Is Gettin' Old" - -
I'm Not Afraid Anymore" - -
"Let's Do It Again" - -
"Not Enough Time" - -
"It's About Time" - -
"Traveling With My Baby" - -
"Stuffed Monkey" - -
"Dots On the Highway" - -
"Can't Wait" - -
"Only A Vision" - -
"Moving On" - -
"When I Wake Up In the Morning" - -
"Gonna See My Sugar Tonight" - -
"I'll Never Be Lost With You" - -
"I've Been Gone Longer Than You Think" - -
"Spend the Night" - -
"When You Look Too Hard For Love" - -
"Torn Apart" - -
"Listen" - -
"No Website Blues" - -
"Says the Light" - -
"It's Always Good To Be Back" - -
"I Love You" - -
"Better Friends Than Lovers" - -
"Wide Open Spaces" - -
June 15, 2014 "Let Her Go" - - 3
"Crazy Woman" - -
"All I Can Feel Is You" - -
"Different Worlds" - -
"Can't Buy This Cat" - -
"New Love" - -
"When It Comes To Love I'm Dumb" - -
"Reckless" - -
"Knee Deep In Missin' You" - -
"Tell 'Em You're A Star" - -
"Taking Care of Business" - -
"Tell Me You Love Me" - -
"Teen Age Love" - -
"It Could Be Beautiful" - -
"I Been Doin' It Too" - -
"Comin' to Stay" - -
"Lost Love" - -


  1. ^ "Stanford Baseball History" (PDF). Stanford University. 2009. Retrieved 11 October 2018.

External links[edit]