Floyd Robinson, San Diego Flash

Floyd Robinson played for nine years in the major leagues and while his career was hampered by injuries and eventually curtailed by the injury bug he says the timing was just right. "I enjoyed playing," Robinson related. "But I think the timing was just right - for me to get in and get out. I believe there's a Supreme Being and I think it happened just right. I have no regrets." <br><br>

Robinson was a two-sport star at San Diego H.S. excelling at football and baseball. He seriously considered a football career before settling on baseball.

"Fido Murphy was with the University of Arizona at the time and he really wanted me to come over there. The University of Redlands was also interested. I was a quarterback in high school, but the schools wanted me as a running back. My dad thought I was a little too small - I only weighed 170 pounds at the time - which is why I decided against it."

San Diego's Pacific Coast League team the Padres was his first stop in professional baseball in 1954. It was quite an education.

"The Coast League was great baseball," Robinson said. "They had a lot of old-timers from the major leagues. It was unlimited Triple A - it didn't have a veterans limit.

"When I signed with the Padres, there were old-timers that I idolized. I didn't mingle that much. I remember when John Ritchey signed with the Padres - he was a tremendous third baseman. They turned him into a catcher and that's hard to learn how to handle the pitchers. John could hit and he could run. Dick Sisler was a friend. My son signed with the Cardinals and Dick was one of their minor league batting instructors. Dick was one of the guys who brought me out of my shell. He was a veteran and in those days rookies respected veterans."

Robinson had bounced around with Boise of the Pioneer League and Salem of the Northwest League before settling in with San Diego. In 1958 and 1959 he was in the Marine Corps before coming back to San Diego in the P.C.L. in 1960 and batting .318. The Padres at that time were affiliated with the Chicago White Sox. The Sox called Robinson up for 22 games late in 1960 and he batted .283.

"I went to bat about 25 times after my call up without getting a hit and then I got my first hit and got a stolen base. I think we were in Detroit," Robinson remembered. "Sliding into second base I broke my hand and they couldn't find the break. I went to winter ball and had to come back before they found the break in January. So I didn't start the season in 1961 and didn't comeback until May."

Robinson recalls that he almost wound up the White Sox cross-town rival the Cubs.

"They were waiting for the development of Billy Williams, they weren't sure about him. They didn't acquire me and of course the rest is history."

Chicago's Comiskey Park was one of the largest ballparks in the major leagues at that time and Robinson and the rest of his teammates were built with speed and defense in mind not power.

"It was the biggest ballpark in the big leagues," Robinson mused. "I liked to spray the ball around and there was a lot of room for that. The team was built for that ballpark."

The White Sox relied on pitching in those days with the likes of Juan Pizzaro, Gary Peters, Joel Horlen, John Buzhardt and relief pitching from Hoyt Wilhelm, Eddie Fisher and Bob Locker.

"We had great pitching," Robinson said. "Pizzaro and that group were outstanding."

Robinson's best season in Chicago was 1962 when he batted .312 with 11 home runs and 109 RBIs. He also had a league leading 45 doubles.

The highlight of Robinson career was July 22nd, 1962: he went six-for-six as Chicago beat Boston 7-3 at Fenway Park.

"They were all singles," Robinson recalled. "Two to left, two to center and two to right field." I remember my last time at bat Dick Radatz knocked me down." That winter, Chicago sportswriters named him the city's top athlete.

The White Sox and Yankees had a spirited rivalry in the early 1960's and Robinson became known as a Yankee killer.

"My game was pretty good against all the ball clubs. But I rose to the occasion against the Yankees because you know in those days pitchers would get sore arms and guys would get a toothache because the Yankees were really, really great and not too many guys wanted to really play. I relished playing against the Yankees."

Al Lopez managed the White Sox during the early stages of Robinson's career up until 1965.

"I played for Lopez and if you made a mistake he was going to jump all over you. Fundamentals were stressed.

"The game has changed today - you watch the managers and players nowadays and you say where has the game gone. I'm really proud of all the youngsters that play the game. I would like them to be more dedicated and play the game and earn the money."

Robinson wound up in the doghouse in Chicago when Eddie Stanky took over as manager in 1966.

"Every black man was in the doghouse with Eddie Stanky and my name was Robinson - remember his history," Robinson said. "Things were different then - you couldn't tell it like it was and that's what we had to do. Playing for Stanky was not a pleasant experience."

Robinson was dealt to Cincinnati in 1967 and suffered a knee injury. He spent time with Oakland and Boston in his final season in 1968. But the knee injury was the beginning of the end.

"I enjoyed baseball. I had a lot of injuries that weren't really attended to. A lot of things happened that people were not aware of." Robinson stated. "Or maybe they were aware of it, but they didn't care in those days, but I loved the game."

During his nine-year major league career Robinson wound up with a .283 career bating average with 67 home runs and 426 RBI.

Following his baseball career Robinson returned to San Diego and opened a couple of liquor stores and developed some properties including an old age home.

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