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Saturday, October 17, 2020

Napoleon Robinson saw a pitch get away and impact his first year; Played six seasons, made AAA

A Napoleon Robinson pitch got away from him in rookie ball in 1988 and struck the batter in the eye, The Salem Statesman Journal wrote.

The pitch ended the batter's career and also psychologically impacted Robinson, Dodgers pitching instructor Dave Wallace told The Statesman Journal in 1989.

"I think that set him back last year," Wallace told The Statesman Journal that July as Robinson pitched at short-season Salem. "He wasn't the same guy for about 1-1 1/2 months. ... He came back this spring and was throwing well."

Robinson did come back and he eventually threw well enough to make AAA by 1992. But, in a career that spanned six seasons, he never made the majors.

Robinson's career began in 1988, taken by the Dodgers in the 34th round of the draft out of Columbus State University in Georgia. Robinson was also credited as Nap Robinson and as Pokey Robinson.

Robinson started with the Dodgers in the rookie Gulf Coast League. Despite his issues with that pitch, he saw time in 24 games and ended with a 1.36 ERA and nine saves.

He then moved to Salem for 1989, where he saved six and ended with a 3.50 ERA. He made high-A Bakersfield for 1990, then moved to the Braves system in the Rule 5 draft for 1991.

The Braves assigned Robinson to AA Greenville for 1991, moved him to starter and he had a career year. He went 16-6, with a 2.27 ERA over 28 starts. 

"There is no doubt he has been our most consistent starter," Greenville manager Chris Chambliss told The Greenville News after Robinson's 15th win late that August. "He's always throwing strikes. In games where he hasn't had good stuff, he'd still pitch a good game because all of his pitches go down and he doesn't let a walk and that kind of stuff beat him."

Robinson made AAA Richmond for 1992. He went 11-10 there, with a 3.57 ERA over 28 starts. He then started 1993 at Richmond before he moved to the Indians system and AAA Charlotte and AA Canton-Akron. His 1993 campaign proved his last as a pro.

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,482
Made the Majors:1,215-34.9%
Never Made Majors:2,267-65.1%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:504
10+ Seasons in the Minors:299

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