After 11 seasons spent playing in the majors and another decade away from the game, Bob Robertson returned to baseball in 1990 as a minor league coach and he couldn't have been happier, he told Knight-Ridder Newspapers.
"There's always been something missing in my life since I got out of the game," Robertson told the news service. "I have so much inside to try to teach these young players."
Some of what Robertson had to teach those young players may or may not have included paying attention to signs, bunt signs specifically.
Perhaps Robertson's best-remembered moment of his decade-long career came late in one 1971 World Series contest, where he missed a bunt sign and hit a three-run home run to seal the win.
Robertson's career in baseball began in 1964, signed by the Pirates as a free agent out of his native Maryland.
Robertson started with the Pirates at rookie Salem. He made single-A Gastonia for 1965, then AA Asheville for 1966.
He first made Pittsburgh for 1967. He got into nine games that year and returned for another 32 in 1969. He saw his first full major league season in 1970, when he got into 117 games and hit .287. He also hit 27 home runs.
Robertson's 1971 season saw him hit .271 in 131 games an then hit 26 home runs. That October, he helped the club to the World Series.
In the seventh inning of Game 3, with two men on, Robertson got sent the sign to bunt. Instead, he missed it and swung away. His three-run shot helped secure Pittsburgh's first win of the series the Pirates would go on to win in seven.
"The first I knew that I missed the sign was when I crossed home plate and Willie Stargell said, 'What a way to bunt that ball'," Robertson told reporters afterward, according to UPI. "I don't think I had a bunt sign all year."
Robertson saw another 115 in 1972 and 119 in 1973. hitting .193 and .239. He continued with the Pirates through 1976. He hit .217 in 61 games.
He then played in two final seasons, 64 games with the Mariners in 1978 and 15 with the Blue Jays in 1979.
After his return as a coach in 1990, Robertson stayed through 1993. He moved to single-A Asheville for 1991 and 1992 and then high-A Osceola for 1993.
- Pocono Record, UPI, Oct. 13, 1971: Robertson missed sign on homer
- Newport News Daily Press, July 19, 1990: Robertson back in baseball as coach in minors
Made the Majors:1,241-34.7%
Never Made Majors:2,336-65.3%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:517
10+ Seasons in the Minors:305