Songwriter Bruce Robinson, a former Major League baseball player with the New York Yankees and Oakland As during the late 1970s and early ’80s, plays acoustic guitar and ukulele. “I always took a guitar with me on the road when I was playing baseball, but I never dreamed that one day I’d be writing music and performing.”
In 1975, Robinson, who was born and raised in La Jolla, was a first-round draft pick out of Stanford. His professional baseball career was derailed by injuries sustained when a drunk driver rear-ended his car. The final phase of Robinson’s baseball career saw him coaching on one of the A’s farm teams, where he mentored two young hitters — Mark McGwire and José Canseco.
After sports, Robinson turned his economics degree into a career that at various times encompassed land development, mortgage banking, and market intelligence. He still played guitar, but the composing didn’t start until recent days. “It was my fiancée that encouraged me to write songs. I’ve written 12 so far this year.”
He describes his music as “a mixture of country and blues and ballads. I wouldn’t call it rock and roll because it’s all acoustic. I play my Taylor guitar...and a ukulele.” What does the ex-jock sing about? “A lot of my songs are autobiographical, but I haven’t written a baseball song yet.”
His band includes Oceanside drummer Larry Willson, who attended La Jolla High with Robinson, where they were catcher and pitcher on the baseball team as well as basketball teammates. Among the venues Robinson plays in San Diego are Le Papagayo in Leucadia and Jose’s Courtroom in La Jolla.
“Baseball opened doors. I’m not the best musician or singer in the world, and I know that. But people seem to enjoy my music.”
As of 2012, Robinson was 58 and splitting his time between La Jolla and Idaho. After his full-length It’s About Time was released, he played the main stage at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland when the Indians hosted the Yankees on August 24 and 25, 2012.
“Because I played in the big leagues, I got to meet a guy in the administration at the Baseball Hall of Fame. In fact, I even helped him correct some of the errors in their displays. Well, he got a job at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We’ve stayed in touch...” Robinson has been there before, but as a visitor. He says connections got him a VIP insider’s tour. “I got to hold clothing the Beatles wore in Sgt. Pepper’s and Beatles song manuscripts. Things like that.”
2020 saw the release of his fourth full-length Red Rose, recorded at Blue Horse Studios in Ramona.