Orioles Top Ten All-Star Moments #3: Brooks Robinson's Dominant 1966 Performance

Brooks Robinson participated in a lot of All-Star Games. Fifteen of them, in fact, in fifteen consecutive years beginning in 1960. He put up a number of good performances in those games, but his best game came in 1966, a year the American League lost the game 2-1 in extra innings.

The 1966 All-Star Game, held on July 12th in St. Louis, was your garden variety pitcher's duel. And do you know what's important in a pitcher's duel? Defense. And you know who was awesome at defense? You know where I'm going with this. But not only did Brooks flash the leather during this game, he was also responsible for nearly all of the AL offense that day.

Sandy Koufax started the game for the National League and pitched three innings, giving up just one hit. That hit went to Robinson, who tripled to left field with one out in the second inning. With Robinson on third and the Tigers' Bill Freehan at the plate, Koufax threw a wild pitch that allowed Robinson to score and give the AL a 1-0 lead. That lead held until the bottom of the fourth inning when Ron Santo hit a single off of Jim Kaat to knock in Willie Mays and tie the game.

The score remained 1-1 until the bottom of the tenth inning, thanks in part to Robinson's performance in the field. Robinson played all ten innings of the game and cleanly fielded three pop ups, one liner, and four ground balls in support of his pitching staff. At the plate he did all he could to try and give the AL the lead; in addition to his second inning triple, Robinson singled to lead off the seventh inning but was erased on a double play. He led off the tenth inning with another single and moved to second on a wild pitch, but was stranded as the Giants' Gaylord Perry retired the side.

Finally, in the bottom of the tenth inning, the NL prevailed. Tim McCarver singled with no outs and came around to score the winning run on a hit by Maury Wills. Each team managed just six hits in the ten-inning game, with Brooks Robinson responsible for half the AL's total. That combined with his outstanding efforts in the field earned him the honor of being All-Star MVP despite the fact that he was on the losing team. The All-Star Game MVP was first recognized in 1962, and only twice since then has the losing team gotten the MVP. First with Robinson in 1966, then again when Carl Yastrzemski won the MVP for his efforts in the the AL's 5-4 loss in 1970.

The Orioles would, of course, go on to win their first World Series in 1966. The recognition of their outstanding third baseman in the All-Star Game was just another feather in the team's cap in that outstanding year for Orioles baseball.

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