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Robbie Tolan

There's a sad story today in the Houston Chronicle about a 23-year-old named Robbie Tolan, who was shot outside his home last Wednesday. He now has a bullet lodged in his liver. He's expected to survive, but his baseball career (written about at the bottom of the story) will probably end. Based on all available information so far, it seems like Tolan was nothing more than a victim of shameful police judgment and racial profiling.

The reason I bring this here is because many in the Nats organization know Tolan. He spent the 2007 season with the team as a minor leaguer, rising from the rookie-level Gulf Coast League to Class A Vermont, then Class A Hagerstown. All told, the reserve outfielder batted .210 with one homer and 10 RBI.

"He was with the organization in 2007, a good kid, worked hard," Nats player development director Bobby Williams said today. "He wasn't an everyday player, but he came to the park every day with a good attitude. You know, it's very unfortunate what happened.

"We signed him as a non-drafted free agent [in May or June of 2007]. He hadn't played professionally yet at that time."

Tolan was invited to spring training with the Nats in 2008, but the team couldn't find a spot for him and let him go. He ended up latching on with the Bay Area Toros of the independent Continental Baseball League.

By Chico Harlan  |  January 6, 2009; 11:59 AM ET
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Sad story indeed. From the story it appears that there is an understated response from the local officials that is also troubling.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 6, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

It is a sad story. In fact, it makes me sick to my stomach.

But we already read about this Chico, in Tracee's earlier post. Got anything original?

Posted by: NatsNut | January 6, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

No one bit on my Dmitri Young stats prediction. Did everyone recognize those as fat 2007 Meat Hook stats?

Posted by: Section506 | January 6, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

506, actually, I did recognize the 320 batting average - his highest average for 2007, as I recall, was 339, and he was leading the league at that time, and you are right, we expected him to lose 20 pounds. Maybe the Syracuse Chiefs will get him in better shape.

Posted by: Traveler8 | January 6, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I had the pleasure of being in attendance the night Robbie Tolan hit his only minor league home run, for the Vermont Lake Monsters. My son and I went to the game, got there in the fifth inning and Vermont was 9 or 10 runs back. The manager at the time, Darnell Coles, had replaced a lot of the starting lineup, and Robbie came into the game. The Lake Monsters kept clawing back until the bottom of the ninth, when Robbie hit a walk off homer to win the game for Vermont, capping a great comeback. Making it even more special is that his dad, former major leaguer Bobby Tolan, was there. You should have seen the smile on Robbie's face when his teammates greeted him at home plate. I am a big baseball fan, and had a chance to chat with Robbie a few times. He is a really nice young man, and I was shocked when I saw this story on CNN. When I told him that the kids in my neighborhood used to imitate his dad's batting stance, he held his hands high above his head the way Bobby used to, again with that big smile on his face. I'm just happy to learn that he will survive.

Posted by: lakemonstersfan | January 7, 2009 2:48 PM | Report abuse

It's too bad the lawyers on one side are turning this into a race war while the lawyers on the other side managed to hush national media attention for a week and have gagged investigation of the truth. Where would we be in this country without lawyers?

Fire the cop, give the kid a fair settlement, reprimand or fire the guy who put the cop on the beat, and raise everyone's taxes so you can afford to compensate them when they get shot.

Posted by: Digger2 | January 8, 2009 12:58 PM | Report abuse

This is directed to Digger2.

I know this kid and his family and know that these people are very good people. The kids did well in school and all went to a Major University. I also know this area and I can tell you that this family may be the only black family in the entire neighborhood. It is a white rich neighborhood and the blacks that are seen there are normally passer-bys or out there to cause some crime... this is very racial and it should have not escalated to shootings... I will tell you this… had this been a white kid... this would have not happened.

Posted by: modlv_32 | January 8, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I remember that Robbie Tolan had a blog a while back -- something to the effect of "sonofaballplayer" or "sonofabigleaguer" -- I can't remember of find it.

He discussed on it how he was trying to make it in pro ball.

Posted by: bubbad | January 8, 2009 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Without question this was racial profiling. I've known this family since Robbie was two. There have never been parents more devoted to a child than this one. His father, former major leaguer, Bobby Tolan is one of the gentlest, kindest men to have ever played ball.

This family has lived in this neighborhood in Texas for years. They have lived with white people ( as I am!!!) and others peacefully forever. There's not one bone in this family that harbors a grudge against any race.

To have this young man's parents insulted and thrown to the ground was just too much. To have his promising baseball career likely cut short is beyond sad.

His father, and the other pro baseball players who know this young man have said what a promising prospective major leaguer he is.

The police are 100% wrong here. Justice needs to be served, but no amount of money on earth can restore Robbie's health and ability to play baseball.

It's shameful that situations like this still happen, as we are set to swear in the first young man of color as our president. But they do. Until EACH of us stands against racism and prejudice against ANY person, black, yellow, red, brown, white, gay or any combination of the above - these things will continue to happen to good men and nothing but a slap on the wrist will happen to the bad.

God bless you, Robbie, may you have a miracle recovery. God be with your wonderful parents, Bobby and Marian too.

Posted by: ConcernedVoter2008 | January 9, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

Looks like Bellaire is going to become a baseball town. Welcome to the map, Bellaire, YOU DESERVE IT! YOU'RE HOT! WHAT CAN I SAY, YOU ARE SO "UP & COMING"!

Posted by: roseyjoey | January 11, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Hey, let's start a minor league baseball team there. We can call them the Bellaire Evolutionists!

Posted by: roseyjoey | January 11, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

There's no f***ing with Baseball!

Let's see some of that staunch baseball pride turn to THIS situation!

Posted by: roseyjoey | January 11, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

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