Robby honored, gets a memorial plaque at Don Schaly Stadium

Bill “Robby” Robinson always believed that the word “retirement” sounded “too terminal.”

So, the late Marietta Times sports mainstay never really did “hang up the pen per se,” and continued to cover games and write articles for many years after he cut back on his newspaper duties in the early 1990s. He was 58 then.

Robinson’s first love was always writing, and what he loved to write about the most was Marietta College sports, especially the baseball team.

During the last years of his life, he was pretty much on the Pioneer beat.

Recently, a memorial plaque for Robinson was added at Don Schaly Stadium. His plaque joins Big John Wharff and Paul Erb as people who were special to MC Baseball and are permanently memorialized at Schaly Stadium.

Robinson would’ve been honored and tickled pink as he spent many an afternoon there over the years, reporting on games from the press box.

He incidentally had a hand in helping the NCAA Division III World Series come to Marietta in 1976, and also served on the WS committee for several years.

Actually, Robinson has been recognized by MC before. In 1989, he received the Marietta College M-Team Distinguished Service Award for “many years of outstanding services and contributions to Marietta College athletics.”

On press row in the Pioneer press box, he usually donned a St. Louis Cardinals ballcap, and loved to engage in conversation with anyone and everyone in the vicinity. The Cards of course were his favorite MLB team, and he was a big fan of Stan “The Man” Musial.

Yes, Robinson was truly in his element at Pioneer Park, as it was known for many years.

If a person hadn’t known Robinson, he or she might have thought that he was a Marietta College alumnus. But, no, he wasn’t even from the Buckeye State.

Born in Milan, Tennessee, Robinson played both prep football and baseball. In his youth, he also enjoyed drawing skyscrapers, and entertained thoughts of becoming an architect someday.

Imagine that.

Fortunately, he didn’t like mathematics.

Anyways, when he graduated from Milan, he received the U.S. Rubber Co. Award as the outstanding senior in his class.

Later, he attended Memphis State, and got his bachelor of science degree in journalism. Then, he earned a master’s degree at the University of Missouri.

How a native of the Volunteer State ended up in Marietta is an interesting story in itself.

In a nutshell, Robinson was recruited by William E. McKinney, also a Missouri grad and former publisher, general manager and part owner of The Marietta Times. When he first arrived in Washington County, he said he got homesick, and nearly did an about face.

McKinney, though, was patient, persuasive, and talked his protege out of it “over a bowl of ice cream.”

That was in the late 1950s, and the rest as they might say was Bill Robinson history. And, that history has included numerous journalism honors and awards.

Robinson penned his last Marietta Times sports story in mid-June of 2011. It was about Jim Schaly umpiring in the NCAA Division I World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.

Schaly is the son of Robinson’s good friend and late, legendary MC baseball coach Don Schaly.

On Nov. 9, 2012, Robinson passed away at Heartland in Marietta. A week later, he was back home and buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Milan.

Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com