Pro sports champions Robinson, Nettles and Trammell mean during the Legends & Stars event in Batavia


Dave Robinson, Graig Nettles and Alan Trammell all reached the pinnacle of success in professional sports.

Robinson was a star linebacker for the Green Bay Packers teams that won NFL championships in 1965, 1966, and 1967 — the latter two culminating in victories in Super Bowl I and Super Bowl II.

Nettles was a power hitting and gold glove third baseman for the 1977 and 1978 World Series-winning New York Yankees teams.

And Trammell was an elite shortstop who earned World Series MVP honors in 1984 while leading the Detroit Tigers to the title.


Legends & Stars is a bit popular with fans of sports memorabilia


The trio were in town on Sunday putting their signatures on a variety of collectible sports memorabilia at the Legends & Stars show at Batavia Downs Gaming. Each of them devoted about five minutes of their time The Batavian.


Dave Robinson’s stellar NFL career took place in Green Bay (1963-1972) and Washington (1973-74), where he played for two legendary coaches – Vince Lombardi and George Allen, respectively. He said he still follows both teams and had mixed feelings when they went head-to-head last week.

“Once a Packer, always a Packer,” said Robinson, now 81. “I was dying to see the Packers break their losing streak (then three games) but I hated seeing them do against the Commanders (formerly Redskins). – and they didn’t. But that’s the only time I really have a conflict when the two teams play against each other.”

Addressing Lombardi and Allen, Robinson noted that they were similar in their approach to the game.

“You’ve both done things thousands of times, so it became second nature to you,” he said. “The difference was that Lombardi did it a thousand different ways than he did. George did the same thing over and over again. So his game got a little stale at the end of the season. That’s why his playoff record wasn’t great because the players weren’t that motivated. You had heard all this before.”

Robinson is one of a dozen “Lombardi” packers inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

“I think there’s six in there from defense,” he said. “We didn’t know we were going to be in the Hall of Fame, but we knew we had a tough bunch of guys.”

He said Lombardi, understanding that most quarterbacks were right-handed and teams tended to make more plays to the right, built the left flank of defense.

“We had Willie Davis on my inside, Herb Adderley on my outside, inside linebacker was Ray Nitschke, and safety was Willie Wood,” he offered. “If you looked to the right, there were five future Hall of Famers on the field at the same time.”

After Green Bay’s win over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II, Robinson said he went upstairs to say “good game” to Oakland quarterback (and former Buffalo Bills) Daryle Lamonica when Lamonica shared, that all week he was told not to throw the ball the right.

Robinson said Lamonica told him that in the fourth quarter he thought he had lulled the Packers to sleep and tried to hit receiver Fred Belitnikoff with a quick tilt to that side. At that moment, Adderley intercepted the ball and threw it back 60 yards for the first defensive touchdown in Super Bowl history.

“I said to him, ‘They said you shouldn’t do it. You should have listened to your coaches,” Robinson said with a hearty laugh.

Nettle reviews current Yankees

Nettles, now 78, said he continues to follow the fortunes of the Yankees, the club he played for from 1973 to 1983. Overall, Nettles played for six teams and ended his 22-year career in 1988.

Evaluating this year’s loss to Houston in the American League Championship Series, Nettles said it seems like the Yankees’ batsmen are swinging for the fences.

“Well, to me it looked like everyone was trying to hit home runs instead of hitting bases,” he said. “A lot of strikeouts and a lot of bad pitch swings. It looks like they take a good pitch and swing on the bad pitches.”

He said he often noticed batsmen taking the first pitch, which ended right over the heart of the plate.

“For some reason the boys like to take first place and that’s usually the best seat. My theory was to guess the shot on the first pitch and hit it,” he added.

When asked about Aaron Judge and his record 62 home runs in the American League, Nettles said, “It’s been great for baseball and I really hope he stays with the Yankees.”

“You know, he bet on himself with the contract (not signing a long-term contract with New York before the season) and now he has every right to listen to the offers,” he said. “But I guess he stays with the Yankees in New York.”

When asked why he’s not attending the Yankees’ Old Timers Day celebrations, Nettles said, “They stopped inviting me about five years ago and I really don’t know why.”

“I don’t know if anyone – whoever is in charge, anyone doesn’t like me. I do not know.”

When asked if his nickname “Puff” came from him being a handy joker, Nettles said he got that nickname from his ability to leave the scene without anyone noticing.

“It’s just that after a couple of beers, I could just run away,” he said. “I just say goodbye. I don’t even say goodbye. If I drank too much beer one night, it hurt me the next day. So the next night I just left after two beers… and they didn’t know where I was going.”

When asked about the 1978 playoff game against the Boston Red Sox (won by the Yankees, 5-4), Nettles discussed the final out — a foul pop-up by Carl Yastrzemski that ended up in Nettle’s glove.

“I’m just glad it didn’t get a huge hit because I didn’t like pop-ups,” he said. “That was the hardest thing for me because you never practice it; You can’t practice them during batting practice.


The 1984 Detroit Tigers are arguably one of the greatest teams of all time – a team that won 35 of their first 40 games, went 104-58 in the regular season and won the World Series in five games against the San Diego Padres.

Trammell, now 64, was the leader of this group, led by the legendary Sparky Anderson, and which included stars such as relief pitcher Willie Hernandez (who won AL MVP and Cy Young Awards), second baseman Lou Whitaker and catcher Lance Parrish , outfielders Kirk Gibson and Chet Lemon, and starting pitcher Jack Morris.

When asked about the team’s place in MLB history, Trammell said, “I’m not going to be the one trying to place it because that’s too difficult, but in that particular year … it didn’t matter if we played the 1927 Yankees (with Babe Ruth), we wanted to win.”

“It was just our feeling. If you go into the series and you’re not sure you’re going to win, you shouldn’t be there. So my point is that it was our year and nobody would beat us that particular year.

Trammell, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018, mentioned that the 35-5 start was the best in baseball history, adding that the team had also won 17 straight road games.

“We were confident and had a pretty balanced team,” he said. “I was hoping that maybe we could win another championship, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. But at least in that one year we were the best.”

Photo: Dave Robinson, an All-Pro linebacker with the Green Bay Packers, shows his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring to West Seneca’s Ken Van Remmen during Sunday’s Legends & Stars show at Batavia Downs Gaming. Photo by Mike Pettinella.


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