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Card-by-Yankees Card: The 1977 Topps Set, Card #335, Bill Robinson (Article 65)

by Paul Semendinger

(Continuing a series…)



Bill Robinson played in the Major Leagues for a long time… 16 years to be exact.

16 years.

He was on the 1979 World Series winning Pittsburgh Pirates.

He hit .280 or higher five times.

He blasted 20 or more homers four times.

He had a 100 RBI season.

In two seasons, he gathered MVP votes.

For his career, he put up the following numbers: 258/166/641.

He had 1,127 hits.

And yet, his lifetime WAR was just 7.6. How is that possible?

***

After beginning his career playing in six games for the 1966 Atlanta Braves, Bill Robinson was traded (with Chi-Chi Olivo) to the Yankees for Clete Boyer.

He impressed in the spring of 1967 and won the Dawson Award.

After he came up with the Yankees in the late 1967, he played 310 games as a Yankee, all but one game as an outfielder.

As a Yankee, Bill Robinson didn’t hit:

1967: 116 games, .196/7/29

1968: 107 games, .240/6/40

1969: 87 games, .171/3/21

It was then, back to the minor leagues.

The Yankees traded Bill Robinson to the White Sox. He’d never appear in the bigs for Chicago.

Chicago traded him to the Phillies.

He once again reached the big leagues with the Phillies where from 1972 through 1974 he batted .262/38/115 over 306 games.

It was then on to the Pirates where he played from 1975 to 1982 and where he had his most success. The Steel City was good to Bill Robinson. As a Pittsburgh Pirate, he played in 805 games batting .276/109/412.

Robinson then ended his career with the Phillies in 1982 and the beginning of 1983. Robinson’s last game came on May 23, 1983. He struck out in his last at bat ever.

***

Robinson’s WAR as a Pirate was 7.5

As a Philly, it was 2.1

As a Yankee it was -2.0.

In six games with Atlanta, his war was 0.0.

One thing is for certain, while he could hit a bit, Bill Robinson wasn’t a stellar fielder. HIs lifetime dWAR was -6.4.

It seems, to me at least, that his negative defensive value brought down his overall worth for his career.

***

The Yankees gave up Clete Boyer to get him (and Chi-Chi Olivo, who never pitched for the Yankees). The Yankees gave him a long look. He wasn’t yet ready for prime time.

After not making it as a Brave, a Yankee, or a White Sox, Bill Robinson made it as a Philly and a Pirate.

He had a nice career.

It wasn’t great, but it was very good.

I would have just thought that his WAR would have been higher.


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