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Chris Robinson's Home Run And Its Significance

Last night, Chris Robinson became the 4th San Diego Padres catcher to have his 1st Major League hit leave the park since 2011.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA
Last night, as I'm sure you've all seen by now, Padres catcher Chris Robinson, facing a 2-0 count, swung for the fences and sent the ball over them. He joined Tommy Medica as being the 2nd Padres player this month and the 3rd Padre this year, joining Jaff Decker, to record his 1st hit by rounding the bases. That's quite the feat. In this season of shortcomings, it's stories like that which gives these final games some meaning. Now, while it may not be quite a feat for a player to have his first hit be a home run, for me, it is an interesting coincidence that 4 of the last 5 Padres catchers to make it to the Major Leagues for the first time have recorded their first Major League hit with a home run. The only one who has debuted and not gotten a home run is Ali Solis. Yet, he is still hitless. So, there's still time Ali! I know you're in Pittsburgh now, but get back out here and join the party! Now that I got all that out of the way...Everyone! Shuffle into the way back machine!

The year. 2011. The date. July 27th. Yes, I know. We didn't go that way back. But, that's where we have to go. Coming up to the plate for his 6th career at bat, Luis Martinez. He'd made his debut 2 weeks earlier against San Francisco, but tonight, it would be the Diamondbacks who would feel the power of LuMart. With a mighty swing, Martinez sent the ball cowering into the night over the left field fence. I think it went to the 2nd deck, if I remember correctly. Time travel messes with the mind. Though it was just a home run in the record books, it began a strange turn of events. Onward to 2012!

Whoa, where are we? Is this...the moon? The date is June 30th. The player to watch for is Yasmani Grandal. He made his debut nearly a month earlier, but today he makes his first career start against the Rockies in Colorado. On his 3rd career at-bat, Grandal sent one into orbit to give him his first career hit and home run. Then, on his 4th career at-bat, he hit another home run and this time, it was from the opposite side of the plate. He's pretty much just taunting them now. Let's go to the next date. Bye, Yasmani.

Man, we didn't even go that far. It's August 2nd now. We only went over a few states. But, for one man, this time and place will always remain special. Eddy Rodriguez was called up to the Padres after former University of Miami teammate Yasmani Grandal went on the disabled list and made his Major League debut against Johnny Cueto in Cincinnati. Rodriguez stepped to the plate for his 1st ML at-bat and made the most of it. On a 1-2 count, Rodriguez sent it soaring into the sunlight and over the right field wall. Just like that, he became a member of the very prestigious players to hit a home run in their first at-bat. But, this also made him the 3rd straight catcher to be called up by the Padres and have their first Major League hit leave the park. I guess it's time we go back to the present. But, before we do, let's go back to last night.

Chris Robinson joined the strange coincidence that is Padres Catchers Getting Their First Major League Hit For A Home Run. The title needs work, but what doesn't need work is Robinson's story. All of these catchers I've talked about made their debut at a somewhat young age. It's not to say that Robinson is "old", but he's had a journey. Prior to being drafted by the New York Mets in 2002, he was enrolled at Lord Dorchester Secondary School. Seriously, how cool is that name? I mean, the school's mascot is the Canadian Beaver. Anyways, Robinson did not sign with the Mets (good choice) and attended the University of Illinois.

After he was drafted by the Tigers in 2005, he began an adventure that would take him through 5 organizations. In 2006, the Tigers traded him to the Chicago Cubs for habitual amphetamine user Neifi Pérez. For over 5 years, he remained in the Cubs organization just waiting for his chance. From there, Robinson became a free agent and signed with the Texas Rangers in 2012 and joined them in Spring Training. On April 3rd, 2012, he joined the Baltimore Orioles on a minor league deal. On June 20th of this year, he was traded to the Padres and sent to Tuscon. 5 organizations worth of working hard and putting it all on the line built up to last night.

I know he won't be the last Padre to hit a home run for his first career hit. In fact, if this pattern continues, he might not even be the last catcher to do it. Yeah, I'm looking at you, Austin Hedges. What's important is that Robinson did it. He got that monkey off his back. He made it to the majors and made himself a part of Padres lore. So, a big congratulations to Chris Robinson. Welcome to Padres history.