Bill Robinson
vs. the Mets
Game Log Memories of
Bill Robinson
Bill Robinson
William Henry Robinson
Born: June 26, 1943 at McKeesport, Pa.
Died: July 30, 2007 at Las Vegas, Nev.
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Height: 6.02 Weight: 189

Non-playing roles with Mets
  • Coach 1984 - 1989

Share your memories of Bill Robinson


Lee Margolis
February 18, 2002
I remember Bill Robinson as a fiery and involved coach that really contributed to the '86 team. How often can you say that about a first base coach?

For a while (too short) he was mentioned in talks about becoming a major league manager, at a time when there were no active black managers. The rap against him was that he had no experience, so he went to the minors or winter ball (I forget which) and won the pennant.

The guy paid his dues. Both as a player (first as a failed bonus baby with the Yankees, where having been traded for Clete Boyer he was a symbol of the end of the great Yankee era and of the lousy Yankee teams of the late sixties; and then as a solid contributor to pennant winning teams in Pittsburgh and Philly). In short, Bill Robinson was a solid guy that got screwed.

Larry Burns
June 18, 2002
Here is a great example of a coach who is a genius when the team has quality hitters. Yet when the team begins to lose that quality he sucks. He got canned because the Mets were going downhill. I guess his technical expertise which helped win in 1986 was completely forgotten. By his photo he looks like he is running an incognito barbershop quartet in Waco, Texas. There were rumors he was going to be tapped as a Manager. But lucky for us, the Mets went with Jeff Torborg. I needed to be woken up from that nightmare. Overall one of the better 1st base coaches in Mets history.

Lets Go Mets Go
July 31, 2002
Did I see somewhere that Bill Robinson actually started a brawl in 1986 when the Mets were playing the pirates? If anyone remembers this incident please provide some details.

Tom Shannon
May 22, 2004
Rumor has it, that on May 27th, 1986, Robinson had pre-game words with Dodgers (not Pirates) pitcher Tom Niedenfeur. Nobody knows how or why their beef started. Later that night, Niedenfeur unloaded a fastball at Ray Kight's head. Knight charged the mound and Neidenfeur hit him about 4 or 5 times in the back of the neck with his cap. It was the Mets first brawl of the 1986 season; and it wouldn't be their last!

Jonathan Stern
July 13, 2004
I liked the Reds as a kid because I was a big Tom Seaver fan (I was too young to remember Seaver as a Met). So for many years, I hated the Pirates for sweeping the Reds in the 1979 NLCS. And if I hear "We Are Family" one more time, I'll...

1986 was the year I began to be reinterested in baseball after a hiatus of five years (the 1981 strike, among other things, temporarily killed sports for me). Seeing Robinson coaching first that year brought back unpleasant memories of the 1979 Pirates. But seeing him go beserk after the ball went through Buckner's legs, waving Mookie to second then jumping for joy, redeemed him in my eyes, to put it mildly.

Boy, what a night that was! Most people of my generation have no memories of the Miracle years. 1986 was what made us Mets fans. And here we are, almost eighteen years later. The footage is old, the uniforms dated, the members of the team rarely acknowledged by the Mets today (Mex, Kid, and Mookie excepted). The Mets have been generally inept as an organization ever since, cementing their place as the "other team" after almost three decades of owning New York. The 1986 Mets might as well have belonged to a different franchise. Where have you gone, Bill Robinson?

Bob P
July 29, 2004
Jonathan, I'm guessing your question was rhetorical...but for those of you who are curious, Bill is currently the hitting coach for Jack McKeon and the Florida Marlins.

November 15, 2004
Bill was a pretty solid coach with the Mets, and has done a solid job in developing a couple good young hitters. According to Msg Sportsdesk Robinson will be coming back as Randolph's bench coach.

November 18, 2004
The Roger McDowell memories talk about what a good hotfoot he gave...but Robinson was the victim for Roger's all-time best blazer. He rigged some sort of delayed fuse so the matches went off while Bill was standing in the first-base coaching box, and the TV broadcast caught the reaction. The most artful sophomoric baseball goof I've ever seen.

March 23, 2005
One summer in the mid 70's I went to L.A. for a few weeks to stay with a friend and his family. My friend's dad was an actor (the late, great Ed Winter - his best known role was Colonel Flagg from M*A*S*H) and he and Bill Robinson who was on the Pirates then had the same agent.

Mr. Winter got tickets to the Dodgers-Pirates game and after the game we went into the Pirates clubhouse. We all met Bill who was very nice and shook our hands. When he got to me and noticed my Dodger cap instead of shaking my hand he pulled the hat down around my eyes and kiddingly chastised me for wearing the wrong hat in his team's clubhouse. He gave us all signed balls before we left.

A year or two later I was sitting in the front row at Shea right next to the visiting dugout. Leaning over and looking into the dugout I caught Bill's eye and said hi. When he said hi back I told him I was a friend of Ed's sons. He retreated to the back of the dugout and came back with one of Dave Parker's bats (intact but cracked so it was unusable) and gave it to me telling me to relay his good wishes to the Winters next time I spoke to them. When the kids sitting around me saw the awesome item he gave me they started yelling at him for stuff. Rather than ignoring them, he came back up out of the dugout with about a dozen balls and distributed them to the kids around me.

In 1986 he was the first base coach for the Mets. I went to Chicago to see them play a series against the Cubs. A friend from college had season tickets at Wrigley two rows behind the visitor's dugout. From those seats the team heard everything we said the whole game. After the last out of the game Robinson looked at me and tossed me the ball as he exited the field.

Keep in mind that inbetween these encounters I never spoke with or had any contact with Robinson. Each time I met him he had no idea who I was or that I'd ever met him before. Count me as Bill Robinson's number one fan.

September 8, 2006
I always liked the way Bill Robinson and Davey Johnson would do the "finger swipe" to celebrate Met victories. They modified it through the years. By 1988 they went from the 4-finger swipe to the 2-finger swipe. I hope Bill Robinson returns to the Mets someday. He was a great player and is a great coach.

July 29, 2007
I just learned Bill Robinson passed away today, and thus the 1986 Mets lost a very important member of their family. Bill was so important to the success of that team. I remember Bill always willing to back the players up during the many fights during the season. We lost a good one today.

July 30, 2007
I will always remember Bill Robinson's finger swipes at first, my friend and I to this day still greet each other that way. I'll never forget the infamous "melee" with the Pirates Rick Rhoden. He was the first coach I ever loved as much as any other player because he had the same swagger and enthusiasm as the players he coached. A major piece to the 86 Mets. God bless Bill Robinson.

Edgy DC
July 30, 2007
One thing I noticed this year is the two-finger-slap greeting that Bill used to congratulate Mets who reached first was re-introduced by Howard Johnson this year. I haven't noticed if it has continued in Rickey's era.

This morning's news is of the sad passing of Bill Robinson. Rest in peace, Uncle Bill.

Chris M.
January 30, 2008
I just learned Bill Robinson passed away. My greatest memory of him was a game at Shea in 1978 when he played with the Pirates. I saw this on TV and, sadly this unbelievable play doesn't seem to have been saved on film. Anyway, Robinson is in left, 2 outs, Wille Montanez sends a booming drive to left center where Robinson leaps at the wall. You see the ball go over the fence along with Robinson's left arm. He crashes into the wall and collapses on the track. Montanez circles the bases and sits down in the dugout, obviously having hit a homer. Robinson is helped to his feet, jogs in, opens his glove and flips the ball to the ump, 3 outs. No better outfield catch, ever. RIP, Bill.

November 30, 2009
Bill had a very fine career. One more thing to add to the mix. I recall that Bill was a can't miss prospect for the Yanks when I was a little kid during their years in the wilderness. If my memory serves me correctly he was traded for Clete Boyer. He washed out with the Yankees, but then resurfaced a few years later with the Phillies and Pirates and had a very good career. I recall him killing the Mets when he was with the Pirates - but then everybody killed the Mets in those days.

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