Back in the first part of the twentieth century, managerial changes were pretty much a rarity when it came to Big Apple baseball teams. The Giants had the legendary John McGraw as their skipper for thirty years. For the Yankees, it was Miller Huggins from 1918 until 1929 and it took the death of “Hug” for the Yankees to make a change. In Brooklyn, it was “Uncle Robbie.” Before he got the field skipper’s job with Brooklyn, however, today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant had been a very good catcher with the old Baltimore Orioles teams of the 1890’s, when that franchise was part of the original National League. He was sold to the Cardinals in 1900. Just a year later, the new American League was formed and Baltimore was granted a franchise. Robinson’s old Oriole teammate, John McGraw was named manager and he convinced Wilbert to return to Baltimore and play for the new team. The catcher did so but when McGraw was later suspended by AL President Ban Johnson, he left the league and took a job as the manager of the New York Giants. Robinson then became the Orioles’ player Manager in 1902. The Orioles finished 24-57 that season prompting Wilbert to accept McGraw’s invitation to become the Giant pitching coach, a job he held for over a decade. That same season, the Orioles AL franchise was relocated to New York and became the Highlanders.
In 1914, Brooklyn hired Robinson to replace Bill Dahlen as Dodger skipper. He stayed in that job for eighteen seasons and helped bring respectability to a franchise that had pretty much become a laughing stock for its ineptness. Under Robinson, Brooklyn won the NL pennant in both 1916 and 1920 and he compiled a 1,375 – 1,341 career record. He shares his birthday with this long-ago Yankee outfielder and this former Yankee reliever who also played in pinstripes.
Robinson’s Yankee(Orioles) seasonal and MLB career playing stats:
|BLN (10 yrs)||780||3073||2838||361||836||129||27||10||456||81||187||195||.295||.341||.370||.711|
|PHA (5 yrs)||372||1527||1453||180||330||50||13||7||155||88||66||75||.227||.265||.294||.558|
|BLA (2 yrs)||159||606||574||70||170||28||10||1||83||20||22||33||.296||.327||.385||.712|
|STL (1 yr)||60||224||210||26||52||5||1||0||28||7||11||20||.248||.291||.281||.572|
Robinson’s Yankee(Orioles) seasonal and MLB career managing record:
In 1995, this veteran starter turned reliever joined the Yankees appearing in three games out of the bullpen. He gave up three runs during his one cumulative inning of work and then never pitched again in pinstripes. Honeycutt pitched in the big leagues for 21 seasons, with six different teams. He retired in 1997 with a 109-143 lifetime record.
In 1903, the Baltimore Orioles became the New York Highlanders. The Orioles Manager and starting catcher in 1902, was Wilbert “Uncle Robbie” Robinson. He had succeeded John McGraw as skipper in Baltimore after “Little Napoleon” got the Managerial position for the New York Giants. Robinson was in line to become the first Yankee skipper when the team was moved but he instead accepted an offer from McGraw to join the Giants’ coaching staff. In 1914, Robinson became manager of the Brooklyn Robins where he remained for the next 19 seasons. Why am I bringing this up? Because Uncle Robbie is technically part of the Yankee’s All-time franchise roster and he too was born on June 29, way back in 1863, in Bolton, MA.
Sharing Honeycutt’s and Robinson’s June 29th birthday is the only Yankee to ever pinch hit for Babe Ruth.