Sunday, July 24, 2022

1986 Sportflics Decade Greats Frank Robinson


Some great action photos, better to see the card in person. Nice shots with the Reds at Wrigley Field and the Orioles in a World Series game.

The player: Outfielder Frank Robinson was one of the best players in the major leagues in his ten seasons with the Reds from 1956 to 1965. He hit at least 29 home runs in nine of the ten seasons, hitting .303 with 324 HR and 1,009 RBI in his decade in Cincinnati. After the '65 season, calling Robinson "an old 30", the Reds gambled that Robinson was past his prime and traded him to Baltimore, despite coming off a season when he hit .296 with 33 HR and 113 RBI. Robinson responded with his best year in 1966, winning the Triple Crown with a .316/49/122 season, and earning World Series MVP honors with two home runs off Don Drysdale in the World Series. Though he never came close to Triple Crown type numbers again, Robinson was still a highly productive player throughout the late 1960s, and was considered the leader of the team that won three straight pennants from 1969-1971. He was traded to the Dodgers for the 1972 season, and after one disappointing season was traded to the Angels, where he took advantage of the new DH rule to eke out a couple more productive seasons. He retired with a .294 batting average, 2,943 hits, 586 HR and 1,812 RBI.

The man: Robinson was a tough competitor and respected leader, and in 1975 he was named player-manager for the Indians, becoming the first Black manager in the major leagues. He hit a home run in his first game as manager. Though he won a Manager of the Year award in each league, Robinson was unable to make the playoffs in any of his 17 seasons managing four different teams between 1975 and 2006, with a 1,065-1,176 career record. He died of cancer in 2019.

My collection: I have Robinson's 1966, 1967, 1969, and 1972-1975 Topps cards. I have three oddballs of his from 1969: Globe Imports, Milton Bradley, and MLB Photostamps.


  1. I didn't realize that Robinson played that long in Cincinnati. I've always associated him more with the Orioles. Just looked him up on Baseball Reference and noticed he only played six seasons there... compared to the ten in Cincy.

  2. And somehow he still seems to be underrated!