Drew Robinson: The Story of a Survivor

Drew Robinson made his dream come true in 2010. He was selected in the fourth round of the MLB Draft by the Texas Rangers. He was following in the footsteps of his older brother Chad Robinson, whom the Milwaukee Brewers selected in 2006. Drew Robinson struggled in the minor leagues, but he was a grinder. He worked hard, and after seven long years, he finally cracked the Opening Day roster in 2017. Robinson could only stay high for so long. A little over a week into the season, he was headed back to Triple-A.

Drew Robinson is a young man who has struggled with depression. The long journey that is professional baseball was overwhelming for him. His mind was a roller coaster–dealing with highs and dealing with lows. Highs and lows are a part of almost everyone’s life. The difference being, for Robinson, his mind couldn’t allow him to enjoy the highs.

Drew spent 2017 being called up and sent down between the big leagues and Triple-A. He rode that roller coaster not only in his mind but on the field as well. In 2018 Robinson was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. He was prepared for a fresh start. He even proposed to his girlfriend. Robinson thought that things were going to be different. Unfortunately, they were not.

He made the Opening Day roster for the Cardinals but played the same character, being called up and sent down repeatedly. Eventually, Robinson was released in 2019. The feelings of not being good enough became too powerful for him to ignore, and his depression continued to spiral.

One More Shot

In January of 2020, Drew Robinson got another shot. He signed a non-guaranteed minor league contract with the San Francisco Giants. He was doing everything that he thought he could to cope with his mental illness at that point, regularly attending therapy. Through all of his efforts, he still was not able to overcome his battle with depression. Robinson feared this new chapter in his life would end like the last, with him decaying away in the minor leagues.

He was deeply ashamed by his feelings of inadequacy. He believed that he would never make it as a big-league ballplayer and fell victim to the thought that he wasn’t good enough for his soon-to-be bride. Drew Robinson proceeded to call off his wedding. In March of 2020, minor league baseball was canceled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic. Drew returned to his home in Las Vegas and was alone. He had no wife. He only had himself and his thoughts. Robinson shared his mind and his home with his depression. Finally, enough was enough. Drew Robinson began planning the end of his life.

Preparing for Death

As the hours evaporated, much like the hope in Drew Robinson’s soul, he had one task left to complete before carrying out his deed. Robinson was aware of the pain his family was about to endure and was dead set on easing the pain of his loved ones. He spent the hours leading up to 5:00 pm cleaning his home to an immaculate condition. Although Robinson was about to take his own life, he was focused on making sure his family wouldn’t be burdened by having to clean his home in the aftermath of his decisions. The clock struck 5:00 pm. Robinson deposited a suicide letter onto his kitchen counter and headed out the door.

“I hope eventually that you guys will realize that no one could’ve seen this coming to prevent it because of how hard I try to hide it,” he wrote, “and that it’s no one else’s fault.”

His original plan didn’t include dying in his home. He didn’t want that mess for his family. However, after driving to a park, things didn’t seem right. Robinson headed to another location. Ultimately, he diverted from his original plan, deciding that he doesn’t want to die in his truck. Drew Robinson drove home, and he drove home to die.

Drew Robinson Chooses Death

He was alone. His house was still. And now, it was time. At that moment, on April 16th, 2020, Drew Robinson raised his gun to his head and pulled the trigger. He lay still, but moments later, he rose. Drew Robinson was alive. And now a witness to the horror scene he had created. However, in these horrific moments, Robinson’s initial reaction was to get off of the couch. He didn’t want to soil the couch in blood with the thought that perhaps a family member would want it.

After failed attempts to stop the bleeding, Robinson made his way to the bathroom to shower. While in the shower, he collapsed, hitting his head. Robinson curled up into a ball and laid still on the shower floor. He would rise again, leaving the shower and heading for his bedroom to lie down. However, as blood continued to flow into Drew Robinson’s mouth, he began to feel nauseous. Still focused on keeping the place clean for his loved ones, he hurried back to the bathroom to vomit. Robinson returned to his room and laid in his bed. He was prepared to die. His lights went out.

The Following Morning

Drew Robinson woke up once again. Call it luck, call it a miracle, or call it astonishing. Many words can be used to describe what was happening to Drew Robinson, but only one word could be used to describe Robinson himself at that point, alive.

But now, he was faced with a decision to live his life or attempt to end it once more. For hours Robinson laid in bed, not sure if he would live or die. Now in indescribable pain, he attempted to make his way to the kitchen. Finally, he arrived. Then, the man that had shot himself in the head the night prior, reached into his cabinet to take a Tylenol. A Tylenol, of all things, to alleviate the pain of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

Robinson began to think about baseball, the sport he had played professionally and loved since his childhood. Why would someone that was supposed to be dead be thinking about baseball in a moment like this? Robinson wondered the same thing.

Drew Robinson Chooses Life

Drew Robinson sat down on his couch; it was roughly 3:30 pm. The same spot that nearly 20 hours before he had chosen to die. In his left hand, he held death. Death in the form of the gun that he used to shoot himself in the head. In his right hand, he held life. Life in the form of his cellphone in which he had already typed the numbers 9-1-1.

Twenty minutes passed. Twenty minutes of contemplating a fresh start, or finishing what he had started. Finally, Drew Robinson made his decision. He said to himself, “I want to live.” He put down the gun and snapped a quick selfie. Robinson wanted to remember the moment that he chose to live. He then called 911.

When police arrived at the home of Drew Robinson, he was taken to the hospital in an ambulance. Robinson was asked by a police officer why he tried to take his own life. Drew Robinson told the officer, “because I hate myself.”

I’m Meant to be Alive

Drew Robinson was adamant about maintaining his silence for the time being. He wasn’t ready for his family to face the harsh reality of what he had done. Word broke to his family that there had been an incident. He spoke on the phone from the hospital to his sister Britney. He relayed no information about his suicide attempt. Robinson’s brother Chad also reached out to the hospital and demanded his younger brother told him what was going on.

“I’m meant to be alive. Chad, I’m meant to be alive. I’m meant to be alive.”

Drew Robinson Begins a New Life

It’s not easy for Drew Robinson, but he is working towards becoming a new man. He attends therapy multiple times per week. He picked up meditation and works out like crazy. The Robinson family shares the words, “I love you,” like they never have before. They communicate over the phone daily, and Drew is working on his new life. He ends every day with an entry in his journal. No matter how long or how short the entry, they all end with the same sentence. “I love myself, and I love my life.”

After relentless amounts of work and dedication, Robinson had a conversation with Giants manager Gabe Kapler on October 22nd. Kapler told Robinson that he needed to stay a part of the organization. They offered him a contract and an invitation to minor league spring training.

May 5th, 2021

It had been exactly one year and nineteen days since Drew Robinson pressed a gun to his head and pulled the trigger with the intent to end his life. And on this day, May 5th. 2021, Drew Robinson was added to the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats roster. He had made it.

The following day Robinson put on his uniform and took the field as a professional baseball player once more vs. the Las Vegas Aviators. Drew Robinson took the field as a visiting player. He was a visiting player in his hometown—a visiting player at Las Vegas Ballpark. The park that Robinson picked his baseball career back up off of the ground at, sat roughly two miles from where Robinson attempted to end his life one year earlier.

One week later, on May 11th, Robinson walked toward the plate. He had started the season 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts. However, on this day, that didn’t matter. Robinson swung hard and smashed the ball, which was quickly soaring over the right-field wall. Drew Robinson had done it.

The New Drew

Drew Robinson was quoted as saying that he had shot himself, but he killed his ego. He was a man that used to hold everything in. Damaging voices of doubt and self-hatred filled his head. He closed doors on those that he loved because he didn’t feel worthy of love. Drew Robinson is now filled with love. He never hesitates to say those words. He hugs, he smiles, and he is once again chasing his dreams. Robinson is active in sharing his story in the hopes of helping others who are suffering. A man that was once lost now walks the earth with an immense amount of purpose.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan sat down with Robinson for an exclusive interview and was the first to break this story. You can read it for even more information on the inspiring story of Drew Robinson and his battles with mental illness.

 

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Players Mentioned:

Drew RobinsonChad Robinson

 

 


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