We all are familiar with Jackie Robinson and the impact he has had in sports, particularly in Major League Baseball. We are also familiar with Hank Aaron and the history he has made in baseball. Have you heard of Frank Robinson? Like Jackie Robinson, Frank Robinson (no relation) also made history. On this day, September 2 in 1966, Robinson won the MVP for the American League while playing with the Baltimore Orioles.
Prior to playing with the Orioles, Frank Robinson played with the Cincinnati Reds, a team he was drafted by. Robinson made his MLB debut with the Reds in 1956. While on the Reds, Robinson was voted Rookie of the Year. Robinson played nine years with the Reds ball club but it was in 1961 that he had a star year. The Reds won the National League pennant and Robinson won the MVP for the National League. The Reds would go on to lose to the red-hot New York Yankees in the World Series.
After the 1965 season ended, Reds General Manager Bill DeWitt decided to trade Robinson to the opposing American League, playing with the Baltimore Orioles. Robinson was traded for ace pitcher Milt Pappas, Jack Baldschun and Dick Simpson. Pappas only lasted three seasons with the Orioles while Baldscun and Simpson both lasted two seasons with the Reds. Unlike Pappas, Baldschun and Simpson, Robinson excelled with his new team, the Orioles. He dominated in what is called a “Triple Crown” meaning he led the league in three categories – Most Home Runs, Most Runs Batted In (RBIs) and Best batting average with 49, 122 and .316 respectively. Robinson also did the unexpected, he helped lead the Orioles to their first World Series win, an upset against the Los Angeles Dodgers. That season, Robinson won American League MVP and World Series MVP. Robinson became the first MLB player in history to win MVP in both the National League and American League.
Robinson won another World Series title in 1970 against the team that traded him – the Cincinnati Reds. He played on other teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and the California Angels. He played with the Cleveland Indians in 1974. While as a player in Cleveland, Robinson also managed the team making him the first African-American to manage a major league baseball team. He retired in 1976 with 586 home runs, the fourth most at the time.
Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. His jersey #20 was retired by both the Reds and the Orioles. Robinson spent the rest of his career managing teams. One of them being the Orioles. He left the field of baseball with a manager record of 1,065-1,176.
Source: Frank Robinson – History.com