Drew Robinson
(Rob Tringali/Getty Images)

Drew Robinson Is An Inspiration, And We Can Learn From His Story

Sports bring us incredible stories of athletes overcoming adversity to achieve great heights. In 2020, Alec Mills of the Chicago Cubs threw a no-hitter. Mills, a former walk-on pitcher, was out of minor league opportunities and faced the reality of being designated for assignment unless he performed well enough to stay with the team.

Mills’ story is one that would have never occurred had the MLB gone through with slashing their minor league system. Such a move would have been hugely detrimental to the sport, and United States Senator Bernie Sanders even ripped various MLB teams apart for conjuring the idea.

Enter Drew Robinson. Robinson had played a few big-league stints as an outfielder for the Texas Rangers, hitting 216 times over two seasons. On December 11th, 2018, Robinson was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for third basemen Patrick Wisdom. Robinson spent most of that year in AAA with the Memphis Redbirds, as well as hitting seven times for the Cardinals during the 2019 season.

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Drew Robinson’s Story

On April 16th, 2020, Robinson’s life changed forever. Four days before turning 28, he attempted to commit suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot. In an interview with ESPN, Robinson opened up about his struggles with mental health. Having coped with mental health troubles for years, the COVID Pandemic exacerbated his issues. When the baseball world stood still waiting for announcements about the season, superstars did not have to worry about their financial and professional futures. The bubble-roster players, the September call-ups, and minor leaguers, however, had to concern themselves with their wellbeing.

Robinson resided at his home in Las Vegas, doubting his future in professional baseball. Riding on a minor-league deal with the San Francisco Giants, Robinson purchased a handgun and contemplated for sixteen days before attempting to commit suicide. Following the attempt, Robinson called 9-1-1 himself, nearly 20 hours after the attempt.

Robinson recognized that he was not ready for his story to end and began the load road to recovery. Robinson had lost his right eye in the suicide attempt and his future as a baseball player was bleak. Despite the challenges he faced, Robinson was determined to return to the game he loved.

Robinson regarded the event as the moment he realized he had to change something. “Just have this happen and just move on with my life the way I was before? There’s no way. This was a huge sign. A huge, painful sign that I’m supposed to help people get through something that they don’t think is winnable.”

The Comeback of Drew Robinson

Nearly a week after Robinson had surgery to remove his right eye and fix his orbital bone, Robinson was already lifting and fielding ground balls. It was at this moment that Giants head coach Gabe Kapler realized Robinson’s determination to play baseball again.

The San Francisco Giants were the perfect organization for Robinson to be a part of as he began his road to recovery. At the same time of the previous year, the Giants extended their mental health services beyond the typical department that serves every MLB team, clear evidence that the Kapler and the Giants organization prioritize mental health and believe mental health to be vital to being a successful ballplayer.

After several months of intense physical therapy and baseball training, Robinson was ready to get back on the diamond. He earned a spot on the roster of the Giants Triple-A affiliate, the Sacramento River Cats and Robinson was starting in the outfield for the River Cats in a series against The Las Vegas Aviators when, in the top of the second inning, he crushed a home run over the right-field wall.

The video was cut short, but Robinson pointed to both of his parents in the stands as he crossed home plate. This home run was poetic justice. Hitting a home run at any level of baseball is an impressive feat. To do it in Triple-A, one year after a traumatic event, with one eye? It’s absolutely incredible, and it is a testament to Robinson’s tenacity and determination to get back to the game.

Drew Robinson, An Inspiration To Us All

In addition to teams winning championships and providing constant entertainment, sports expose us to tremendous stories like Robinson’s. While he has not yet fulfilled his goal of making it back to the major leagues, he remains persistent in achieving it.

Furthermore, Robinson’s story speaks volumes to all of us and sends many powerful messages. Messages of hope, perseverance, and the idea that we as people can come back from any setback. That nothing is impossible, and we are capable of anything.

Above this, it’s an inspiration for us to be the best versions of ourselves. Robinson did not seek out help when he was at his lowest point because he felt he was being a burden and that holds true for many of us who are afraid to reach out for help. Robinson’s story reminds us to seek help when we need it. It gives us that glimmer of hope, that light at the end of the tunnel. His is truly a remarkable comeback and should Robinson one day make it back to the majors, it would be an astounding moment for baseball.

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