Obituary: Bill Robinson / Spent 8 seasons with Pirates
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Bill Robinson, who earned a World Series ring while playing for the 1979 Pirates, died yesterday. He was 64.
Mr. Robinson, a graduate of Elizabeth Forward High School who played with the Pirates from 1975 to 1982, was working as the Los Angeles Dodgers' minor league hitting coordinator. He was in Las Vegas to visit the team's Triple-A affiliate and was supposed to meet De Jon Watson, Dodger director of player development, to drive to the ballpark together.
But Mr. Robinson failed to show up at the appointed time, and he was found dead in his hotel room, a Dodgers spokesman said. The official cause of death was pending.
Mr. Robinson was in his second season with the Dodgers, after spending four years as a member of the Florida Marlins' coaching staff, where he was the hitting coach when the team won the 2003 World Series. He also had been the hitting coach for the New York Mets from 1984 to 1989, which included their 1986 world championship.
Mr. Robinson spent 16 years in the majors and compiled 1,127 hits, 166 home runs and 641 RBIs as an outfielder for the Braves, Yankees, Phillies and Pirates. He played in a career-high 148 games for the 1979 world champion Pirates, when he batted .264 with 24 homers, 75 RBIs and 13 stolen bases.
Mr. Robinson's best season was 1977, when he batted .304 and set career highs in hits (154), runs (74) homers (26) and RBIs (104), which ranked eighth in the National League. He also finished 11th in National League MVP voting that season.
In addition to his major league coaching career, Mr. Robinson served as the hitting coach for the Columbus Clippers -- the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate -- from 1999 to 2001 and was a minor league coach and manager in the Phillies' farm system from 1994 to 1998. He managed the Caracas Leones to the Venezuelan League Championship and a berth in the Caribbean Series in 1988.
He also was an analyst for ESPN's "Baseball Tonight" from 1990 to 1991.
"Bill was a wonderful family man and a great baseball player, coach, manager and friend to everyone he met," said Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti. "Even though he never played for the Dodgers, it was an honor that he chose to be a part of the organization.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Alice; two children, William III and Kelley Ann; and three grandchildren.
Memorial services are pending.Post-Gazette
Bill Robinson tips his hat to the crowd after collecting his 1,000th major league hit in 1980.
Click photo for larger image.
First Published July 29, 2007 11:36 pm