Editor's Note: This is the 291st in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON - Lots of young boys dream of becoming a major league ballplayer. Don Robinson, known to family and friends as "Donnie," saw that dream come true.
A star athlete at Ceredo-Kenova High School, Robinson was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates right out of high school. Debuting with the Pirates in 1978, he pitched nine-plus seasons with the Pirates, then went on to play for the Giants, Angels and Phillies, retiring in 1992.
But Robinson had a dream other than playing major league ball.
"It's always been my ambition to have a bar," he told Herald-Dispatch reporter Mara Rose as he sat in his soon-to-open night spot in downtown Huntington.
Robby's, his namesake night club, opened at 809 3rd Ave. in July 1984. Four months of construction work and an investment of nearly $500,000 turned the former Super Bee store into a sprawling club with a seating capacity for more than 250, two enormous bars and a dance floor that was 22 square feet.
The club was designed by Huntington architect Roy Skarl and built by Structures Inc. of Barboursville.
"I wanted it to be like nothing people around here had ever seen before," Robinson said. "This is where I grew up. I thought it would help to get downtown Huntington going again. This is a prime location."
Robby's closed in 1995. Today, the building houses The Market, an open-concept restaurant and retail complex.