Frank Robinson burst onto the big league scene as the NL Rookie of the Year for the Reds in 1956. An All Star in his first season, he was just 20 years old.
Ten of his first 14 years he slugged over 30 homers. Robinson’s first decade in the majors came with Cincinnati. In each of his first seven seasons Robinson received support in MVP balloting.
In 1961 he hit 37 homers with 124 RBI with a .323 average and a .404 on-base percentage. His .611 slugging mark, 1.015 OPS topped the Senior Circuit. For his efforts, writers voted him the National League MVP
Robinson’s time in the Queen City included .303 with a 154 OPS+. The outfielder averaged 32 homers and 100 RBI per year with the Reds.
After the 1965 season Robinson was traded to the Orioles. His first season in Baltimore was magnificent. Robinson batted .316 with 49 homers and 122 runs batted in to earn the Triple Crown. By earning the AL MVP he became the first man to claim the award in both leagues.
He capped off the campaign by slugging two homers with a 1.232 OPS in the four-game sweep over the Dodgers in the World Series. His performance earned him the World Series MVP.
After the ’71 season he left Baltimore. Over the next five years Robinson played for the Dodgers, Angles, and Indians.
In 1975 he broke the managerial color line when he was named player/manager of the Tribe. Showing his usual flair, he hit a home run in his first at bat in that capacity.
By the time he retired as a player in 1976, Robinson had 2,943 hits, 528 doubles, 586 homers, and 1,812 RBI. When he left the game his home run total was surpassed by only three men – Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Willie Mays.
Shown here is a Topps 1966 batting leaders card autographed by the top three finishers, Robinson, Tony Oliva, and Al Kaline.
HE WAS GOOD, BUT NO WILLY MAYS