Monthly Archives: August 2013

Frank Robinson’s Incredible 1957 Topps Rookie Card!!!

Frank Robinson’s Incredible 1957 Topps Rookie Card!!!

Man, oh man.  How nice would it be to own one of these bad-boys???

If I ever had a ‘Top Ten’ list of vintage cards to add to my collection, this one would surely land on it.  I am a huge fan of Robinson’s – from both his days with the Reds and with the Orioles.

I have a few re-print versions of his card, but it is nothing like owning the original…

Frank Robinson – The Manager

Frank Robinson – The Manager

Frank Robinson holds the distinction of being baseball’s first African-American manager.

After being considered as a managerial candidate for several years, Robinson was finally given the chance to manage a squad in 1975.

In total, Robinson managed four different teams over a 16-year span.  Compiling a win-loss record of 1,065-1,176, Robinson was hardly put in a place to win.  The teams he managed?  The Indians, Giants, Orioles, and Nationals – not actually threats to any pennants…

Frank Robinson – World Champion

Frank Robinson – World Champion

In 21 baseball seasons, Frank Robinson played in 5 World Series match-ups.  That is not a bad clip, if you ask me…

And in those 5 trips to the Fall Classic, Robinson helped his squad win two World Series titles.

In 1966 and then again in 1970, Robinson’s Orioles teams won the rings.

As for Frank, he played in a total of 26 World Series games.  Compiling just a .250 batting average, Robinson was able to deliver production with his eight home runs, 14 RBI, and 19 runs scored.

Frank Robinson & The 500-Home Run Club!!!

Frank Robinson & The 500-Home Run Club!!!

On September 13, 1971, Frank Robinson connected for the 500th home run of his amazing baseball career!!!

At home and sitting in first place in the American League East division, the Orioles were hosting the Detroit Tigers.  Robinson entered the game with 499 home runs on his resume and was looking to make history in front of the fans at Memorial Stadium.

And he delivered…

He made the faithful Oriole fans wait until the bottom of the 9th inning, but he crushed a 2-run homer for #500.  The shot came off of Tigers pitcher Fred Scherman and the crowd erupted in applause for Robinson even though his team trailed the Tigers by 5 runs and eventually lost the game by a score of 10-5.

Frank Robinson Rests Just 57 Hits Shy Of 3,000…

Frank Robinson Rests Just 57 Hits Shy Of 3,000…

I enjoy watching a player chase a milestone that will help solidify their career.  Most recently, it was Derek Jeter.

But with Frank Robinson’s career, I wonder if there was an official ‘count down to 3,000’.

Amazingly talented at the plate, Robinson finished his career with 2,943 hits – 57 shy of 3,000.  Had he collected just 3 more hits in each season he played in 3,000 would have been surpassed.  Had he played in just 2-3 more games in each season of his prime, it is very likely that 3,000 would have been surpassed.

Robinson joins a long list of baseball legends that just fell short of reaching a specific baseball milestone.  Still, it does very little to tarnish his tremendous career.

Frank Robinson And ‘The 1966 Major League Triple Crown’

Frank Robinson And ‘The 1966 Major League Triple Crown’

The Triple Crown is quite possibly baseball’s greatest offensive accomplishment.  And rare too – it has now been more than 40 years since the last time a player accomplished this feat.

And of the very few players that have reached these heights, my favorite is Frank Robinson.  Traded in the offseason between the 1965 and 1966 seasons, Robinson was off to Baltimore to help the Orioles.

And what did he do during his debut campaign playing for the O’s?

Let’s see…

He led the league in batting with his .316 average.

He led the league in RBI with 122.

And, he led the league in home runs with 49.

What a legend!!!

Frank Robinson Is A 2-Time Most Valuable Player!!!

Frank Robinson Is A 2-Time Most Valuable Player!!!

Any player, in the right circumstance, can be a contender for the MVP award.

But it is the highly skilled player that can be a challenger for the award on an annual basis that separates himself from the pack.

Over the course of his 21-year career, 20 of which were full-time, Robinson finished in the Top 10 for the MVP award nine times.  Truly ahead of 99% of his peers, Robinson was able to do it in both leagues as well.

Ultimately, he won the award twice, once in 1961 with the Reds and then again in 1966 with the Orioles.  As a matter of fact, Frank Robinson was the first player in major league history to win the MVP Award in both leagues.

Frank Robinson’s Lone Gold Glove Winning Season…

Frank Robinson’s Lone Gold Glove Winning Season…

I am not sure how the voting for the Gold Glove Award was handled back during Robinson’s era, but for today’s game, there seems to be quiet a bit of political play occurring.

For the most part, today the award is hardly given to the league’s best defenders.  Instead, it seems like the award is used to keep stars in the spotlight.

Frank Robinson won his only Gold Glove Award in 1958.  In 138 games that year, Robinson spent time in left field, center field, and even third base.  In total, he committed just five errors while amassing a fielding percentage of .991.

The other two National League winners from the outfield in 1958?  Hank Aaron & Willie Mays.  Solid company right there!!!

Frank Robinson Is A 12-Time All-Star

Frank Robinson Is A 12-Time All-Star

When you consider that Frank Robinson played during an era that featured some of the greatest outfielders in the history of the game, it is an amazing feat that he made the All-Star team twelve times.

It’s a true compliment too!!

During those All-Star Games, Robinson shared space in the outfield with Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Reggie Jackson, Carl Yastrezemski, Willie Stargell, Al Kaline, and Roberto Clemente.

Frank Robinson & The 1956 Rookie Of The Year Award

Frank Robinson & The 1956 Rookie Of The Year Award

I enjoy celebrating the Rookie of the Year Award because I like to see a young guy play and act like a veteran on the field.  Typically reserved for the more well-rounded player, the award does not always lead to an award filled career, but it does indicate that for a young player, the stats compiled are well above the competition.

And in 1956, Frank Robinson did not disappoint.

Winning the award unanimously by capturing all 24 votes, Robinson put up some very solid numbers during the 1956 baseball season.  Robinson collected 166 hits en route to a .290 batting average.  Of his 166 hits, 27 were doubles, 8 were triples, and 38 were home runs.  He also contributed 83 RBI while scoring 122 runs.

A heck of a way to start a career in the major leagues if you ask me…