clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Former Tigers pitcher Jeff Robinson dead at 52

Robinson, a once-promising pitching prospect, spent four of his six big league seasons in Detroit.

Leon Halip

Former Detroit Tigers pitcher Jeff Robinson passed away at the age of 52 on Sunday. Robinson, who lived in Kansas City, spent the better part of the last year dealing with undisclosed health issues.

Robinson, a California native, was drafted out of Asuza Pacific University by the Tigers in the third round of the 1983 draft. Current Tigers hitting coach Wally Joyner was selected by the California Angels just two picks earlier. Robinson spent four years in the minor leagues before making his MLB debut in 1987, at 25 years old.

Robinson went 9-6 with a 5.37 ERA and 4.40 FIP for the Tigers in 1987, their third and final AL East championship. He logged 127 1/3 innings that season, but only made three appearances in September and did not pitch in the season-ending sweep of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Robinson's best season came in 1988, when he led the Tigers' rotation with a 2.98 ERA and 1.12 WHIP. He made 23 starts and threw six complete games and two shutouts that year as the Tigers finished with an 88-74 record.

Those two seasons would be the high point of Robinson's career. He allowed a 5.53 ERA in 223 combined innings in 1989 and 1990 for the Tigers, resulting in a combined -1.3 WAR. Following the 1990 season, Robinson was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for catcher/outfielder Mickey Tettleton, who quickly became a fan favorite for his towering home runs.

Robinson struggled for the Orioles in 1991 before being released. He played for the Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates in 1992, his final major league season. He ended his career with a 47-40 record and 4.79 ERA in 708 2/3 innings.

Mr. Robinson is survived by his wife, Meredith, and their three children.