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If you clicked on the info icon or the "Stats / Notes / Bio" link, you've reached this page which contains notes, memories, trivia and more about Andre  Robertson.  If you have anything to add to this player's information, an interesting bit of trivia or a personal memory or story about Andre, please feel free to share it with us by filling out the form at the bottom of the page. Be sure to include your name and town.

Facts, Trivia, Memories and More about Andre Robertson

Biography

Excerpts from a December 20, 2008 Daily News article by Wayne Coffey:

It was near the 25th anniversary of a moment Robertson would never want to commemorate. A guy at the plant had been asking him about his time in the big leagues, a subject Robertson never brings up. It got Robertson reminiscing. Out came the tape, and there Robertson saw himself, No. 18 in pinstripes, fluid and compact, a 5-10, 160-pound shortstop with bowed legs and fast feet and a tidy Afro above his handsome face. He watched himself grab grounders in the hole, up the middle, doing it with a little Mizuno glove that Robertson's 12-year-old son, Jace, uses to this day.

"Man, those were some good plays," Robertson said to himself. "I looked pretty good."

Indeed, he did, and likely would've looked that way for much more than 274 games, the sum total of his big-league career, had it not been for a pre-dawn sightseeing trip he made with a friend and fellow Texan, Shenikwa Dawn Nowlin. The date was Aug. 18, 1983. The plan was to ride the Staten Island Ferry and see the Statue of Liberty. The plan was not to be in a horrific wreck on the West Side Highway, a crash that left Nowlin a paraplegic and Robertson, the lucky one, with a broken neck and a career that would never be the same.


Joining the Yankees in the spring of 1980, Robertson's glovework drew immediate raves. He made the World Series roster in 1981, and after a few stints on the Columbus shuttle, became the Yankee shortstop in 1983, emerging rapidly as an integral part of the team, his defense tightening the infield, his average rising over .290 before two hit-by-pitches hindered his stroke.

By mid-August, the Yankees were a game behind the Blue Jays in the AL East. The White Sox came to town. On the night of Aug. 17, the Sox beat the Yankees in 13 innings. The game took over four hours and ended after midnight.

Robertson had agreed to meet a friend who was in town visiting from Texas after the game. Her name was Shenikwa Nowlin. A law student at UT who was born and raised in Austin, Nowlin was a ballet prodigy, former beauty pageant winner and Texas cheerleader - and the girlfriend of Philadelphia Eagle tight end Lawrence Sampleton. She and Robertson were friends, and now she was back in the city for the first time in nearly seven years, after she spent two years in Arthur Mitchell's renowned Dance Theater of Harlem. Nowlin was ready to have a good time. Robertson was happy to oblige.

Neither of their lives would ever be the same.

"I'd give anything to take that accident back," Nowlin says. "Every day I think about New York. Every day."

Robertson called Nowlin after the game, and they met at Studio 54, where they danced and reconnected. They neither drank nor took drugs; Robertson later testified to that in court. It was around 4 a.m. by now, and the Yankees had a curfew (three hours after the end of a night game), but neither Robertson nor Nowlin was ready to turn in. All the Yankees had the next day was the completion of the Pine Tar game.

They decided to go see the Statue of Liberty. Robertson drove back to his Ft. Lee apartment to pick up a camera. He crossed back over the George Washington Bridge, and turned south onto the West Side Highway. He passed 125th St., 96th St. and then 79th St. Robertson was driving about 70 MPH in a 55 MPH zone, police estimated. He had never been on the road before. He came up fast on 72nd St. A notorious 'S' curve awaited there. By law, the sign announcing it should've been placed 350 feet ahead of the turn. Instead it was at the place where the turn began. By then it was too late.

An instant later, Robertson's jade-green 1982 Buick Riviera was slamming into the concrete median, then into another barrier on the right side, the car flipping over, its occupants thrown onto the cobblestone roadway.

"To see the car, I don't even know how they got out of it alive," Harvest Robertson says.

His son had a broken neck, a cracked rib, a right-shoulder contusion that would never allow him to throw the same way again. Doctors told him that he'd been a millimeter from paralysis or death. It took Robertson a few days to regain his faculties.

"What about Shenikwa? How's Shenikwa?" he asked. Nobody wanted to tell him: his friend was in a coma, her spine crushed, her dancing days done. Just the day before, Nowlin had spoken to Arthur Mitchell about returning to ballet.


For Robertson, the loss was not mobility, of course, but of his big-league career, his promise and millions of dollars. He returned to the Yankees the year after the accident, but wasn't the same player. He had a great spring in 1985, then ripped up his knee and needed surgery. He hit .328 that year in a part-time role, but at age 27, was viewed more as a spare part than an infield anchor. He got traded with Ken Griffey to the Braves, then bounced through the minors for four seasons, never to play in the majors again.

Transactions

Acquired: December 10, 1979: Andre was purchased by the New York Yankees from the Toronto Blue Jays. He was a player-to-be-named later in the November 1, 1979 trade that sent Chris Chambliss and Damaso Garcia to Toronto, and brought Rick Cerone to the Bronx.

Traded: June 30, 1986: Andre was traded with Ken Griffey to the Atlanta Braves for Claudell Washington and Paul Zuvella.

Quotes

"The saddest part about what happened to Andre is that it ended so quick," says Willie Randolph, his former second-base partner. Randolph loved Robertson's low-key consistency, his knack for making the superb plays look routine. When he first played alongside him, Randolph's thought was, "Hallelujah! This kid might be my shortstop for the next 10 years." - From December 20, 2008 - Daily News

"At the time of the injury he was already the best all-around shortstop the Yankees had had since Phil Rizzuto. He was a great fielder, and he was going to hit. He would've gone down as a great, great shortstop. It's a shame he never got to be the player he was going to be," - Scout Al LaMacchia who signed Robertson for the Toronto Blue Jays out of the University of Texas (UT), as a fourth round pick in 1979.


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