Bruce Philip Robinson
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 195 lb.
- School Stanford University
- High School La Jolla High School
- Debut August 19, 1978
- Final Game October 4, 1980
- Born April 16, 1954 in La Jolla, CA USA
The brother of Dave Robinson and the father of minor leaguer Scott Robinson, Bruce Robinson, a first-round pick out of Stanford University in the June 1975 amateur draft, got most of his major league at-bats with the Oakland Athletics in 1978. The # 1 and # 2 catchers on the team were Jim Essian, who hit .223, and Jeff Newman, who hit .239. Robinson, for his part, hit .250 after a mid-August call-up when Newman was injured.
Robinson's lasting legacy on the game will be his invention of the "Robby Pad" in 1979. The "Robby Pad", a hinged flap on the right/throwing shoulder of a catcher's chest protector, began seeing widespread use in the early 1980s and can be viewed on most every catcher's chest protector from the major leagues to youth leagues. One of the original two "Robby Pads" is in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Robinson, along with former New York Yankees pitching star, Dave Righetti, were involved in a car accident in 1980 in which Robinson's right shoulder sustained a career-impacting injury, necessitating shoulder reconstruction in May of 1981. A drunken driver rear-ended Robinson and Righetti in Robinson's car that was stopped in a left-hand turn lane.
As a result of the injury, Robinson could not take advantage of being handed the left-handed platoon side of a starting role with the Yankees. Robinson missed the 1981 and 1982 seasons on the disabled list and never made it back to the major leagues. He did lead the Oakland A's in batting average during spring training of 1984 but was sent to the AAA Tacoma Tigers before agreeing to accept a player/hitting coach position with the Class A Modesto A's in the California League. Robinson's primary role was to work with two young hitters, Mark McGwire (fresh from the 1984 Olympic team) and Jose Canseco who was underperforming. McGwire and Canseco went on to prolific and controversial careers in the "steroid age" of baseball in the 1980s and 1990s.