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Norman Robinson

Norman Wayne Robinson
Nicknames: Bobby, Norm

Career: 1939-1950
Positions: cf, lf, ss, 3b
Teams: Satchel Paige's All-Stars (1939), Baltimore Elite Giants (1940, 1943-1947), Birmingham Black Barons (1947-1952)
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Born: April 1, 1918, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

An outfielder with exceptional speed and good range in the field, he was the center fielder for the Birmingham Black Barons before Willie Mays joined the team. Robinson suffered a leg injury, allowing Mays the opportunity to play on a regular basis. After recovering, Robinson played left field upon his return to the lineup. Always one of the fastest men on his team, he was a good base runner. Although a light hitter, he was considered at his best in the clutch.

The Oklahoman got his start with the San Angelo Black Sheepherders, and after playing center field with Satchel Paige's All-Stars for a year, he joined the Baltimore Elite Giants in 1940 as a substitute outfielder. For the next two seasons he played with lesser teams in the Baltimore area until he caught on with the Elites again during World War II, in 1943. After two years as a substitute, he earned a spot in the starting lineup, playing as the regular right fielder and batting in the seventh slot during 1945-1946. During these three seasons he hit for averages of .361, .321, and .206. In the latter year his brother, Henry Frazier Robinson, joined the Elites as a catcher, forming a brother combination.

During the 1947 season he joined the Black Barons as the regular centerfielder and batted in the lead-off position under manager Tommy Sampson. The next season he was again the centerfielder with the Birmingham Black Barons under manager Piper Davis and hit .299 as the Black Barons won the 1948 Negro American League pennant and faced the Homestead Grays in the last World Series played between the Negro American League and the Negro National League. Robinson remained with the Black Barons for four more seasons, batting .323 and .309 in 1949-1950 and retiring after the 1952 season.

Source: James A. Riley, The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1994.