At the ripe age of 15, I remember sitting in a booth at a Texas Roadhouse in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, watching the lowly Seattle Mariners take on the Los Angeles Angels on TV. In the bottom of the third inning of a scoreless game, a brand new Mariners outfielder named Trayvon Robinson went toppling into the left field bleachers, coming away with a dazzling catch to rob Torii Hunter of a two-run dinger.
Although the Mariners ended up losing that game in walk-off fashion, Trayvon Robinson’s highlight-reel snag in his major league debut sparked some hope in a fanbase unsure of what their team’s outfield would look like in the coming years; sure enough, Mariners legend Ichiro Suzuki would be traded to the Yankees the following season, and Gold Glove center fielder Franklin Gutierrez would miss the majority of the 2012 season due to injury.
Robinson, just 23 years old at the time of his debut, was acquired from the Dodgers in a three-team trade that sent Seattle starting pitcher Erik Bedard to the Red Sox. A former 10th-round pick in 2005 out of high school, Robinson struggled in the minors initially, but ended up posting a .300 batting average between Single-A and Double-AA in 2009 and 2010, leading to his call-up in 2011.
While Trayvon captured fans’ attention in his debut, he would later exhibit below-average defensive metrics in the outfield for the rest of 2011 and in 2012, and would only post a .215/.272/.330 slash line at the plate between those two seasons. After the 2012 season, Robinson would never make it back to the big leagues.
The Mariners traded Trayvon Robinson in the 2012 offseason for utility infielder Robert Andino, then he bounced around in the Orioles, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, and Tigers’ minor league systems until 2016, when he transitioned to the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball for the next three seasons. Robinson impressed enough in the ALPB to receive minor league contracts with the Pirates and White Sox in 2019 and 2020, but he never made either team’s major league roster.