Frank Robinson RIP

agibson2000

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RIP Frank
Wasn’t old enough to watch him play, but was to see him manage, one of the all time greatest players of the game.
 

E5 Yaz

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Wow, he died before the home run he hit off Fireball Fred Wenz landed
 

mikeot

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First manager of the Nats. Loved watching him in that role the first couple seasons.
Met him at a fan meet and greet that first season, shared a laugh. One of the highlights of my life; RIP.
 

Kliq

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An All-Time great and one of the great baseball-lifers. His 1966 season (his first in Baltimore) was really one of the all-time great offensive seasons, especially when you consider the state of how pitcher dominant the league was at the time. He led the league in runs, homers, RBIs, batting average, OBP, slugging, OPS, OPS+, Total Bases, Extra Base hits and even sacrifice flies. Posted a 1.232 OPS in the WS sweep over the Dodgers for good measure and took Don Drysdale deep twice.
 

Merkle's Boner

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All-time leader in slugging and OPS at Fenway. Slashed .350/.464/.724 in 62 games there.

Definitely in discussion of most underrated player and I would argue one of the five most important black players of all time.
 

terrynever

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Co-captain of his high school hoops team in Oakland with Bill Russell! Frank Robinson commanded your respect, as a player and a man. He was a perfect fit for the era in which he lived. Exuded pride. Hit with both feet close together. Robinson stood close to the plate and if he got knocked down or drilled, he generally made amends next time up. 586 homers when he retired, which ranked around third at the time.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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586 homers when he retired, which ranked around third at the time.
I’m not trying to be internet contrarian with your post because I’ve seen this a couple of times today but Robinson was fourth in career dingers when he hung them up in 1976 behind Aaron, Ruth and Mays.

He’s tenth now.
 

santadevil

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Shitty news. I read about him when I was younger and knew who he was. He seemed like a good guy and a good manager

RIP Frank
 

terrynever

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I’m not trying to be internet contrarian with your post because I’ve seen this a couple of times today but Robinson was fourth in career dingers when he hung them up in 1976 behind Aaron, Ruth and Mays.

He’s tenth now.
No problem, John. Thanks for correcting my memory. I should have figured it out myself because the top three in the old days was pretty easy, especially after Aaron chased down Ruth and Mays.
 

RGREELEY33

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The only player in MLB history to win an MVP in both the National League (1961 with Cincinnati) and the American League (1966 with Baltimore).

Rest in peace.
 

chilidawg

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Just saw that he and Bill Russell went to high school together. Two real legends and high quality individuals.
 

moondog80

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Look at his b-ref page and tell me that it’s not insane that the Reds traded this guy, when there was no free agency to worry about.
 

richgedman'sghost

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Look at his b-ref page and tell me that it’s not insane that the Reds traded this guy, when there was no free agency to worry about.
I read in a story by Bill Madden of the New York Daily News that Robinson was involved in some sort of off the field incident where he pulled a gun on someone. After the incident, Robinson was never viewed the same by Reds fans. Remember, Cincy is pretty close to Kentucky and in the 1960s was a very racist city.
 

YTF

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I began following baseball in the late 60's and Robby was one of the game's most feared hitters. It saddens me to see the players from this era slip away. Given all that he has accomplished in MLB it is truly amazing that his name is seldom mentioned when people discuss the all time great players of the game. A true baseball "lifer", how many other players with his level of on field success can you think of who continued representing the game as he did? Baseball truly was in the man's blood.
 

loshjott

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If you want a really deep dive from the WaPost's young beat writer (at the time) covering Robinson's year as the Nats' inaugural manager in 2005, here it is. One anecdote Sox fans can appreciate:

In spring training [2005], someone asked a question involving, as the reporter put it, “Hall of Famer Gary Carter.” Eh, Frank said, putting up his index finger as if to “shush.”

“He’s not a Hall of Famer,” he said. “He’s in the Hall of Fame.”
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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That was some serious shade thrown on Carter. I wonder why Robinson said that? Especially considering Carter was considered the best National League catcher not named Johnny Bench in the 1970s and 80s.
 

Mugsy's Jock

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Schilling had a pretty good write up on Robinson who was his manager in Baltimore.
I thought a time or two before giving Schilling the click, but this was worth it. Had never heard that awesome Phil Bradley story before, Thanks Jim Ed.

Posted above the FRobby was a great guy, but that’s not how I (or the Schilling piece) remembers it. I recall a legendary hard ass, without time for humor because he wanted to beat you so badly. But he earned every bit of the respect he commanded, and more, because of his play and his comportment.

@YTF makes a great point above — even knowledgeable baseball fans, if you wake them up in the middle of the night and ask them to name the ten greatest players of all time — might forget to include Frank. Fact is he probably belongs closer to #5 than #10.
 

jaytftwofive

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Maybe the most under appreciated or underrated player of all time. And I believe involved in the most one sided trade of the modern era. Worse then the Lou Brock trade and the Ferguson Jenkins trade and even the Joe Morgan trade. Milt Pappas and a few others??? Anybody know why the Reds did something so stupid?? Was it race??? Can you imagine the 70, 71 Reds with him?? He got his revenge in 70 World Series. He was better then Clemente and comparable to Joe D.
 

The Allented Mr Ripley

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Here's an interesting article regarding the design of Camden Yards and Robinson's input in the process (he was Orioles manager at the time). I wasn't aware of his influence:

“I can tell you, Frank was very much a part of it. He had very definite ideas about the design on the playing field and the clubhouse and his input was invaluable. When things mattered to Frank, they really mattered and, thankfully, Camden Yards really mattered to him."
The philosophy behind Oriole Park — a retro design evoking the look and feel of an old ballpark while still offering modern conveniences — reverberated throughout ballpark design in both the majors and the minors after it opened, with other facilities like PNC Park and Oracle Park following suit in imaginative ways. And much of what Robinson recommended, such as a core old-time design and field features like minimal foul space and asymmetrical outfield fences, became a core part of modern ballpark design.
 

Average Reds

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Look at his b-ref page and tell me that it’s not insane that the Reds traded this guy, when there was no free agency to worry about.
My memories of Frank Robinson, the player, are from the Baltimore teams of the early 70s. He was the quiet slugger who didn't have the flashy play or the outsized personality. He just got it done.

I think I was 8 when I got his baseball card. (This would be 1970.) And when I first discovered that he came up with the Reds - and had been the NL MVP - it felt disorienting, because, in those days of absolute team control, exceptional players were almost never traded. Discovering that not only had Robinson played for the Reds, but that he had been their superstar in a past life ... it just didn't make sense.

That was some serious shade thrown on Carter. I wonder why Robinson said that? Especially considering Carter was considered the best National League catcher not named Johnny Bench in the 1970s and 80s.
Carter was a very good pallplayer. He was also reputed to be a me-first glory-hound who rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Frank Robinson was old school. He believed in merciless bench-jockeying and was openly contemptuous of what he saw as "weakness of character."

https://www.upi.com/Archives/1983/07/31/Several-Los-Angeles-players-were-ready-to-fight-Frank/8928428472000/

I'm not surprised that he didn't care for Gary Carter.
 

dcmissle

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This is the kind of teammate and man Frank Robinson was:

https://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/feb/10/frank-robinson-brooks-robinson-set-tone-os/

He came to the majors at a very challenging time for African American ball players. Cincinnati then was not a hotbed of enlightened thinking.

He refused to be intimidated, to allow anyone to strip him of dignity. That passed for “hothead” in more than a few places. That characterization is belied by the article above.

In context, given where he hailed from, Brooks Robinson was a remarkable man also.
 

LoweTek

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I had the opportunity to spend a decent bit of time talking to Brooks Robinson a few years back. He is a treasure and a gentleman. I asked him who he thought belonged in the HoF and wasn't in. He said Dwight Evans and Luis Tiant.
 

Big John

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Tiant definitely belongs. Evans is borderline, although if Harold Baines got in, Evans should be a shoo-in. Baines was a DH. Evans was an outstanding right fielder. Doeas anyone keep stats on how many runs a right fielder saves because no one dares to go from first to third (or second to third) when he fields the ball?

From one of the best baseball books of all time, Jim Brosnan's "The Long Season:"

“Did you hear what Robinson said to Pinson after Vada hit the home run the other day? Pinson ran round the bases so fast you’d have thought he was trying to beat out a bunt,” I said. “Robby shakes Vada’s hand when he gets to the bench and says, ‘Little man, you just better stick to singles and leave the long ones to us cats who know how to act ’em out.’”

Robinson wasn't a five tool player (weak throwing arm after an injury early in his career) but the four tools he had were pretty spectacular. He was old school too: leaned out over the plate and is currently 9th on the all-time HBP list. He would beat you any way he could.
 

snowmanny

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Wow, he died before the home run he hit off Fireball Fred Wenz landed
Late to this.
So I have a very clear memory of being there for this, although i am trying to recall how I went on a Tuesday afternoon during the school year. Robinson had seen Wenz while managing in Winter Ball and knew he was straight gas.

Here is Clif Keane in the April 16, 1969 Globe: "Frank hit the ball so hard over everything in leftfield that an astronaut would have acrophobia had he been perched on it."