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Eddie Robinson, military vet and oldest former pro baseball player, dies at 100

A folded flag sits on a casket during ceremonial funeral training at Ellsworth Air Force Base, S.D., Feb. 22, 2016. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman Sadie Colbert/Released)
October 08, 2021

Eddie Robinson, the last surviving member of Cleveland’s 1948 World Series championship team, died Monday. He was 100 years old.

Robinson, who hailed from Paris, Texas, was baseball’s oldest former major league player at the time of his passing. He spent five seasons with Cleveland from 1942-48, missing three years while serving in the military from 1943-45.

Robinson batted .254 with 16 home runs and 83 RBI for manager Lou Boudreau’s team the year Cleveland captured the World Series against Boston. He went on to be named an All-Star with Washington in 1949 and three more times with the White Sox and Philadelphia A’s from 1951-53.

Robinson was on hand during Babe Ruth’s final appearance at Yankee Stadium on June 13, 1948 when he noticed the Bambino looked a bit unsteady. Robinson grabbed one of Bob Feller’s bats and handed it to Ruth to use as a cane. The bat can be seen in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo on exhibit in the Hall of Fame, and has been preserved in Cleveland’s archives.

But Robinson was also a controversial figure after stories surfaced from 1947 about his refusal to shake hands with Cleveland legend Larry Doby when Doby joined the club just prior to integrating the American League. Another story, confirmed by Boudreau, told of how Robinson once refused to let Doby use his first baseman’s glove during practice.

Cleveland hosted Robinson in a suite at Progressive Field during Game 6 of the 2016 World Series, where he wore a jacket and cap bearing the 1948 version of the team’s Chief Wahoo logo.

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