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Homeracing

Brooks Robinson and his Maryland-bred namesake

Profile Picture: Rowan Ward

May 19th, 2021

On May 18, Brooks Robinson turned 84.

Even though he grew up in Arkansas and starred on an American Legion team in Little Rock, Robinson is as Baltimore as it gets. The Orioles signed him out of high school in 1955. From the time he was first called up later that year to the day he retired in 1977, Robinson never played for another MLB franchise.

Though he spent the latter half of the 1950s developing and spent time in the Orioles farm system between stints in the big leagues, Robinson was called up for good in 1959 and was Baltimore's regular third baseman by 1960.

Robinson was not the flashiest hitter. With a .267 lifetime batting average and 2,848 hits, he was good, but he didn't have the sizzling bat of most baseball immortals.

But they called him "Mr. Hoover" for a reason. No other third baseman was as mobile and none had as good a sense of where the ball was going. Balls always found their way into Robinson's glove, into his hand, and whizzing to second or first to get his opponents out. 

Robinson earned 16 Gold Glove Awards in a row, from 1960-1975. From 1960-1974, he was elected to the American League All-Star team. He won American League MVP in 1964. He won World Series with the Orioles in 1966 and 1970. After he was named World Series MVP in 1970, Sparky Anderson, manager of the vanquished Cincinnati Reds, quipped, "If I dropped this paper plate, he'd pick it up in one hop and throw me out at first."

There couldn't be a better namesake for a Maryland stalwart than Brooks Robinson, a horse as honest as the baseball player for whom he was named. The six-year-old gelding, a Mary Boskin homebred trained by Hugh McMahon, has won five times in 19 starts. They've all been on the Mid-Atlantic circuit, and most have come at Laurel and Pimlico. He started in claiming and starter races, but by the end of his four-year-old year, he found a home in the allowance ranks.

Unlike his baseball namesake, the equine Brooks Robinson has Maryland ties that long predate his birth. He is by superstar Maryland-based stallion Not For Love. Not for Love stood at Northview Stallion Station in Maryland for his entire stud career. He was pensioned in 2015 and lived out his days in the Old Line State.

His dam Lovely Rose B was bred in Maryland by Boskin, just like he was. His second dam, Martyanna, was Maryland-bred and another Boskin homebred. His third dam was Florida-bred, but all of her foals were Maryland-bred. The family has been running in the Mid-Atlantic for decades.

Like Brooks Robinson the baseball player, the equine Brooks Robinson and his relatives have not been ostentatious. There are a few stakes winners in Brooks Robinson's extended family, like Grade 1-placed Me Darlin Anna B and her daughter, Lovely Tasha.

But Brooks Robinson has been a strong exemplar of his family over the last decades — horses who show up all around the Mid-Atlantic and make honest runs. Fitting that he is named after an Orioles great who didn't have a reputation for swagger — just for making the plays that won games.

The horse's most recent win came Feb. 25, in a Maryland-bred allowance at Laurel. He stalked and then pressed a lively pace, and jockey Alex Cintron got him to take over into the lane, where he held off a blanket of foes to win by three-quarters of a length. Brooks Robinson is still in the midst of a thriving career in Maryland, as easy to root for as his namesake.

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