Frank Robinson 1957 #035
by William Szczepanek
Card number 035 of the 1957 Topps set is the rookie card for Frank Robinson which followed his rookie season of 1956 in which he was voted Rookie of the Year and tied Wally Berger's record for most home runs by a rookie with 38. The record has since been eclipsed by Mark McGwire with 49 for the A's in 1987 when he was a slender chap. While I was not a big Robinson fan, this is one of my favorite baseball cards of all time.
Frank played for the Cincinnati Reds from 1956 to 1965, then for Baltimore from 1966 to 1971 before finishing up with the Dodgers, Angels and Indians. He is the only player to win an MVP Award in both the NL and AL, in 1961 and 1966, respectively. His best year came in 1962, when he hit .342 with 51 doubles, 38 home runs, 136 RBIs and 134 runs scored.
Robinson was both tough at the plate and on the field. He had powerful wrists like Aaron and Banks and would slash drives into the seats. He would crowd the plate and led the league 7 times in getting hit by pitches and is ranked 8th all-time in this category. He was a daring base runner who was not afraid to break up a double play with hard slides and rolling blocks, whether he was near second or not. He played prior to the Hal McRae rule which required players to slide into second rather than block the fielder. He won the Triple Crown in 1966 leading the Orioles to the pennant and World Series. Over a21-year career, he hit .294 with 586 home runs, 1,812 runs batted in and 2,943 hits. He is currently ranked 9th in career home runs.
A 12-time All Star, Robinson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 as a Baltimore Oriole. His number 20 has been retired by both the Reds and the Orioles.
Robinson holds the all time record for home runs on opening day with 8.
"Pitchers did me a favor when they knocked me down. It made me more determined. I wouldn't let that pitcher get me out. They say you can't hit if you're on your back, but I didn't hit on my back. I got up." ─ Frank Robinson
Robinson was the first African-American to become manager in
Major League history. He was a player/managed for the Cleveland
Indians in the final two years of his playing career, compiling
a 186–189 record. Afterward, he managed the San Francisco
Giants, the Baltimore Orioles, and the Montreal Expos who later
became the Washington Nationals.