One of the premiere sluggers during his time in the Majors, Frank Robinson's career spanned from 1956 to 1976. Known primarily as a superstar with the Cincinnati Reds and Baltimore Orioles, he was a 2-time MVP who won the Triple Crown, played on 2 World Series-winning teams (the 1966 and 1970 Baltimore Orioles), and amassed the fourth-most career home runs at the time of his retirement. Upon his retirement, he became the first African-American to serve as a Major League manager. Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, his first year on the ballot.
I completed this sketch card in September 2012.
10 random facts about Frank Robinson:
- In his first season with the Reds in 1956, Robinson tied the then-record of 38 homers by a rookie; he was subsequently named National League Rookie of the Year.
- He was named MVP for the Cincinnati Reds in 1961 and the Baltimore Orioles in 1966, becoming the first and, to date, only player to accomplish this feat.
- Robinson's league-leading .316 batting average in 1966 is the lowest by a Triple Crown winner.
- On May 8, 1966, he became the only player to ever hit a homer completely out of Baltimore's Memorial Stadium.
- On June 26, 1970, Robinson hit back-to-back grand slams (in the fifth and sixth innings) in the Orioles' 12–2 victory over the Washington Senators at RFK Stadium. The same runners were on base on both home runs—Dave McNally on third, Don Buford on second and Paul Blair on first.
- He is the Reds' all-time leader in slugging percentage (.554).
- In 1975, Robinson was named player-manager for the Cleveland Indians, making him the first black manager in the Majors.
- He was awarded the American League Manager of the Year Award in 1989 for leading the Baltimore Orioles to an 87–75 record, a turnaround from their previous season in which they went 54–107.
- He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom on November 9, 2005, by President George W. Bush.
- Both the Reds and Orioles have retired his uniform number 20.