David Robertson, Drob, “Houdini”. However you like to call him, there is no denying that he is something special. Making his Major League debut in June of 2008, David Robertson has been doing his “Houdini” act for a couple of years now. Most notably in the 2009 postseason where he was brought in to some pretty tough situations with multiple runners on base, but of course, he got out both situations without giving up any runs.
2011 however was his breakout year. With injuries overtaking Joba Chamberlain and Rafael Soriano, Robertson went from being just another guy in the bullpen, to becoming one of the best and most dominant Setup men in all of baseball. Heck, to us Yankee fan he was the Best Setup man in Baseball, receiving recognition for his work as he won “Setup Man of the Year” at the 2011 GIBBY Awards. He was also an All-Star this year which I was very happy about.
Here are some of David’s stats for the 2011 season (from epsn.com)
Strikeout per inning ratio: 13.5
If those numbers aren’t outstanding then I don’t what is. What really stands out to me the most is the fact that in 66.2 innings he ONLY gave up one Home run. ONE! And he also ONLY gave up nine runs in the whole year, that’s crazy stuff.
Now I’ve really only been a fan since the 2009 season, therefore I did not grow up watching Mariano Rivera go from being a setup man to the greatest closer in baseball history. But I have grown up watching David Robertson pitch, and just like I’m sure so many fans felt something special watching Mariano develop into one of the greatest pitchers ever, I feel something special when I see David Robertson pitch. This guy is destined for greatness.
I was watching Jack Curry’s interview with David for Yankees Access last night and you know what, David reminds me of Mo in some ways. They are both amazing pitchers, they are confident in themselves, competitive, they don’t like to lose, and most importantly like so many great Yankees before them, they care about the team. Sure, individual accomplishments are great, but like Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, and so many other Yankees, helping the team win is always the #1 priority. They know what being a Yankee is all about. Its about winning, its about playing the game right, its about understanding such a rich history, its about wearing those pinstripes with honor and dignity. David Robertson certainly does that.
Another thing that makes Robertson so special is the fact that he always wants to improve. A self-proclaimed “perfectionist” David had a season to remember, one I will certainly not forget. But he does think that he can improve, and there is always room for improvement. David and his wife Erin have even bought a house down in St. Peters burg so that he can be closer to the Yankees facilities in Tampa during the off season.
Speaking of David and Erin, one of the other things that makes David so special is his willingness and selflessness to help others. He and his wife Erin have created an organization called “High Socks for Hope” which helps build houses and such for those people down in Alabama who were hit by that devastating tornado.
Now I know as Yankee fans we don’t want to think about the day when Mariano Rivera hands up the glove and retires. We don’t want to think of the day when #42 is proudly displayed in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium along with the greatest Yankees of all time. We don’t want to think of the day when the 9th inning comes along and “enter Sandman” is not playing. When the #42 is not seen trotting from out of the bullpen towards the mound. However, if the next number to come out of that pen in the 9th inning is #30, we are in good hands.
No one will ever be able to do what Mariano has accomplished, and still has left to accomplish, but I still believe with all my heart that David Robertson will be a fantastic closer, one of the best. He has what it takes to become a great closer. He has the heart, the drive, the passion, the competitive spirit, respect for the game, he knows what it means to be a Yankee. When the time comes, I look to David Robertson to help lead the Yankees to many more World Series titles as the future closer of the New York Yankees. “Houdini” certainly is destined for greatness.
And I just added that in for fun.