Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 17, 2006
BASEBALL: Fifty Years of Frank Baseball

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Frank Robinson's major league debut. Robinson, then just 20 years old, went on to hit 38 homers and win the National League Rookie of the Year award, kicking off one of the longest and most remarkable careers the game has seen. Robinson has been drawing a major league paycheck almost continuously since then, as a player, manager, GM and league executive, and among guys still playing major roles in the game he's nearly the last of his generation, i.e., the black players who came along while integration was still a novelty (Robinson was the Reds' first black star). Along the way he's collected a long series of milestones and firsts, from the first (and only) guy to win the MVP in both leagues to the first black manager to the first manager of the Washington Nationals, to the next-to-last Triple Crown winner to (until recently) the #4 man on the all-time home run list. Robinson broke in as a teammate of Joe Nuxhall, who played during World War II, and was later traded for Doyle Alexander; he faced Whitey Ford, Sandy Koufax and Tom Seaver in the World Series. He was an impact player and has been an impact manager, leading the Reds to their first pennant in 21 years in 1961, the Orioles to their first World Championship in 1966, and managing unexpected revivals in San Francisco in 1982, Baltimore in 1989 and Washington in 2005.

Hats off to Frank Robinson.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 7:43 AM | Baseball 2006 | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

I always thought Frank Robby was somewhat underrated for a superstar. Numbers and accomplishments very similar to Mantle (including triple crown and multiple MVP's), but nowhere near the acclaim. Just look at his career numbers!

Posted by: Steve at April 17, 2006 10:24 AM

Great post, Crank. Frank's certainly underappreciated. Forgot about '66...thought it was Weaver for some reason. Thanks for the reminder.

Posted by: seamus at April 17, 2006 10:35 AM

To clarify, Robinson 'led' the '66 O's as a player, winning the Triple Crown. They were managed by Hank Bauer (Weaver started a few years later).

Posted by: Jerry at April 17, 2006 11:20 AM

Frank R. played on the '66 Orioles. Not the manager.

Hank Bauer was the manager I believe. But I may need to look that up.

Posted by: Mike at April 17, 2006 11:21 AM

Wasn't he the last player/manager before Pete Rose? I would think that someone had to command a lot of clubhouse respect as a player to be considered for a promotion to player/manager.

Posted by: WD at April 17, 2006 11:35 AM

Joe Torre was a player-manager shortly after Robinson. I think Don Kessinger may have been, as well.

Posted by: Jerry at April 17, 2006 2:09 PM
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