|Born: October 3, 1973|
St. Louis, Missouri
|September 22, 1998, for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 17, 2006, for the Kansas City Royals|
|Runs batted in||56|
Kerry Keith Robinson (born October 3, 1973) is an American former professional baseball player. Robinson started at an early age playing baseball for N.Y.A. (National Youth Association) in St. Louis MO. Robinson graduated from Hazelwood East High School and was a three sport star, and holds the highest career batting average (.517) in school history, and also for goals scored (29) on the ice hockey team. He went on to attend Southeast Missouri State University. In 1996, he led the Midwest League with a .359 batting average and 50 stolen bases (a tie) and was second in the league in hits, triples, and runs while playing for Single-A Peoria.
Robinson is known from Three Nights in August where he delivered a game-winning, walk-off home run off Chicago Cubs' relief pitcher Mike Remlinger. It was implied that the home run might be a turning point in Robinson's season and his previously marred relationship with manager Tony La Russa, but he never proved himself as a consistent everyday player akin to Juan Pierre, to whom he had previously compared his abilities.
Robinson was originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1995. His professional playing career lasted 12 years between the big leagues and minors. Throughout his time in the minor leagues Robinson was able to tally up 322 stolen bases. His playing career ended in 2007 when he retired to Wildwood, MO and initially became a financial advisor.
In 2009, though he was given an opportunity by a local Frontier League team based out of O’Fallon, MO, the River City Rascals. Robinson had gone on to say that he wasn’t ready to be back in baseball full time, but had agreed to help as a part time coach to help new manager Chad Parker with his philosophy of tireless aggressive base running. Robinson, while a player, was best known as having “good wheels.”
“The great thing about Chad Parker is he wants his team to be aggressive on the base paths and wants to take advantage of that part of the game,” Robinson said.
Though Robinson was known for running in his play style, it started to wane on him near the end of his career. “It wears you down,” he said. “I’ve been a speed guy since I was four or five years old and there’s been some wear and tear there. I’m at ease with not playing.”
He did admit that helping Parker was not part of a bigger plan to one day become a coach. This did come to fruition when he became a scout for the Cardinals the following year in November of 2010 and is still scouting for them presently.
When it came to the “Three Nights in August”, where his supposedly marred relationship with then manager Tony La Russa was publicized, he wanted to clear the air. “(In regards to) the whole misconception of me and the falling out with Tony, we never had a falling out, to be honest,” Robinson said. “One of the things that frustrates me about that perception is everyone thinks we did have a falling out. He was my manager and my boss. I did what he told me to do. If you look back to that time and see the articles, it was lop-sided. If there was problems he had with me, I didn’t know about them.”
Though, being portrayed as the hero in the book after hitting a walk-off home run against the Chicago Cubs, to this day he believes he didn’t show St. Louis his true capabilities. It’s his one regret while playing there.
“All the time I have people come up to me and say they enjoyed watching me play but I don’t think this city got a complete chance to see what I could do,” he said. “I guess that’ll be my only regret. That’s frustrating too, because I am pretty content with my career and now it’s over. Life goes on after baseball.”
Through his minor league career Robinson had 1,194 career hits.
Minor League stats (12 seasons) : H - 1,194 BA - .312 OBP - .364 SB - 322 R - 632 RBI - 366 HR - 16
MLB Stats (7 Seasons) : H - 196 BA - .267 OBP - .303 SB - 36 R - 112 RBI - 56 HR - 3
Kerry Robinson’s contributions to the baseball hasn’t stopped with him playing, coaching, or scouting. In November of 2018 the St. Louis Cardinals announced the comeback of the powder “victory” blue jerseys. This was Robinson’s brain child and he played an integral role in convincing Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III.
Having grown up in the St. Louis area Robinson had gotten to see these jerseys regularly during the 1980s. Be it McGee roaming center field or watching “the Wizard” Ozzie Smith doing flips in blue and also seeing the Cardinals winning it all in the 1982 World Series wearing the blue. Robinson along with others had wondered why the jersey had been dismissed to “throwback” days.
It had been while he was on the road scouting for the Cardinals that he kept seeing fans everywhere he went wearing the blue jerseys, be they baby, powder, or “victory,” and decided to ask fans whether or not they felt that the jerseys should make a comeback with the organization.
The fans clambered, “Play the blues!”
DeWitt was not originally on board with the idea, but after many players and staff in the clubhouse coming up to him liking the idea, he finally changed his mind. He emailed Robinson with a picture of the mock up jersey and admitted to Robinson that his idea was better than good, it was happening.
“Nothing happens unless you throw it out there,” Robinson explained during the reveal press conference in baseball village. He was talking about getting the idea to Bill DeWitt, and he was persistent about it as well.
- Cardinals' Media Relations, ed. (2001). St. Louis Cardinals 2001 Media Guide. Hadler Printing Company. pp. A–191–A192.
- Leventhal, Josh, ed. (2015). Baseball America 2015 Directory. Durham, N.C.: Baseball America. ISBN 978-1-932391-56-5.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
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