By Kevin Dotson and Steve Almasy, CNN
(CNN) — Baltimore Orioles legend Brooks Robinson, a third baseman who won 16 consecutive Gold Glove awards and is considered by many to be the greatest fielder at that position ever, has died, according to a statement from the Robinson family and the Orioles organization.
He was 86. No cause of death was given.
“We are deeply saddened to share the news of the passing of Brooks Robinson,” the statement read. “An integral part of our Orioles Family since 1955, he will continued to leave a lasting impact on our club, our community, and the sport of baseball.”
Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Robinson made his debut for the Orioles in 1955 and manned the hot corner in Baltimore for the next 23 seasons.
Robinson told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in 1997 his love for baseball came early.
“I never wanted to do anything else with my life,” he said.
Robinson said his father, Brooks Sr., was an amateur player and his inspiration. Brooks Jr. started out as a batboy, he told the newspaper.
According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Frank Robinson described his teammate as “the best defensive player at any position.”
“I used to stand in the outfield like a fan and watch him make play after play. I used to think, ‘Wow! I can’t believe this,’” said the fellow Hall of Famer.
Brooks Robinson was named American League MVP in 1964 and helped the Orioles bring World Series championships to Baltimore in 1966 and in 1970, when he was also named World Series MVP.
It was in the ’70 World Series when Robinson made one of his greatest defensive plays in Game 1. Lee May of the Cincinnati Reds smashed a ground ball down the line but Robinson gloved the ball over the foul line, and as his momentum carried him into foul territory, he whirled and threw out May at first.
Robinson set the standard for third basemen during his career, with 18 All-Star Game selections and a record number of Gold Glove awards for a position player. He holds career records for games at third base, putouts, assists and double plays turned, according to Baseball-Reference.com
Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred called Robinson one of the greatest defensive players who ever lived.
“He was a model of excellence, durability, loyalty and winning baseball for the Orioles,” the commissioner said in a statement. “I will always remember Brooks as a true gentleman who represented our game extraordinarily well on and off the field all his life. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I send my deepest condolences to Brooks’ family, his many friends across our game, and Orioles fans everywhere.”
Robinson was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983 in his first year on the ballot.
In his induction speech, where he thanked his wife, his brother, some of his former managers and even a mayor of Baltimore, Robinson said, “Playing in the major leagues and being recognized at the Hall of Fame is more than any one human being could ask for and yet I realized how many other blessings I can count in my life, all of which have contributed to me standing here before you today.”
He added later, “Throughout my career I was committed to the goodness of this game. In fact, I feel my love for the game of baseball overrode everything else.”
After his playing career, Robinson worked with the MLB Players Alumni Association.
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