Sad, but not unexpected news coming out today that MLB Legends, Frank Robinson has died at the age of 83 after a battle with bone cancer. In my opinion he is the most underrated players to ever lace them up, and also one of the most important players. The laundry list of things that Robinson accomplished while playing goes on and on. Reports had been going around the past few weeks that he was sick and in hospice so this doesn't come as a shock, still sad nonetheless to lose an absolute legend of the game.
He played in over 2,800 games spanning 21 years in the bigs with five different teams. He played on some of the best teams in baseball history with the Reds and Baltimore back in the day. Robinson made the All Star team 14 times, won a triple crown, won Rookie Of The Year, was a two time World Series Champion, World Series MVP, All Star Game MVP, won a Gold Glove, a Batting Title, won Manager Of The Year, and was also the first African American Manager in MLB history. He is up there for the most accomplished players ever. He also won two MVPs, here is a list of the MLB players who have won MVPs in both leagues.
- Frank Robinson
Frank's career started off with a bang winning the Rookie Of The Year award with Cincinnati in 1958 after hitting 38 bombs, driving in 83, hitting 27 doubles, a .290 average, and a .379 OBP. Robinson would go on to make an All Star appearance that year as well as finish seventh in MVP voting. In 1961 he won his first MVP with the Reds with a ridiculous season where he hit 37 homers, knocked in 124, and hit .323. Frank really could do it all.
After 10 seasons with the Reds he was traded to Baltimore after the Reds' owner said Robinson was "an old 30." What a mistake that was Frank showed how old he was by winning MVP and hitting for the triple crown in his first season in Charm City in 1966. 49 home runs, 122 RBIs, and a .319 average brought home the triple crown that season, some damn good numbers. One of those homers literally left Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, something that people thought was impossible. It wasn't, and Frank did it. Not easy to put a ball 541 feet away, but that was just what Robinson did. After six seasons with the Orioles he played one season with the Dodgers, two with the California Angels, and three with the Indians. His final numbers still rank among the best ever.
586 homers, still good for 10th all time, a .294 career average, 1,812 RBIs, 204 stolen bases, .389 OBP, .537 slugging, 2,808 games, 2,943 hits, 528 doubles, and a bWAR of 107.3. His name is rarely brought up when discussing the best players ever, but it sure belongs there. He was inducted into Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall Of Fame on his first try. Frank has his number 20 retired by three different teams, the Reds, Orioles, and Indians, and has statues in all of those cities as well. He was a HUGE reason for the success of baseball in Baltimore, as well as all the places he played.
Even though he lost more than he won as a manager, Frank was one of the most important skippers ever. He did this in 1975 when he was a player-manager for the Indians. He continued managing them after he retired in 1977. Robinson would manage then manage the Giants from 1981 to 1984, the Orioles from 1988-1991, and finally the Expos/Nationals from 2002-2006.
Frank will and should go down as one of the best to ever do it. They don't make them like Robinson anymore, RIP to an absolute stud and legend!