Sunday, July 14, 2013

Frank Robinson (#500)

Continuing the mini-series on "cards ending with "00", here is #500 Frank Robinson.

I have to take issue with Topps' selection of Robinson. Wasn't #500 the ultimate "hero number" back in the day? ( In 1969, Mickey Mantle's final card was #500.)

Prior to the 1966 season, Robinson came over to the Orioles in a big trade with Cincinnati. In his first season with the O's, he won the Triple Crown, the AL MVP, and the World Series MVP.

Still, that was 2 years ago, and since then Carl Yastrzemski won the 1967 Triple Crown and played in the World Series, and several members of the world champion Cardinals (Bob Gibson, Orlando Cepeda) had monster years. Was Topps making amends for "only" giving Robby #100 in the 1967 set?

Robinson was signed by the Reds in 1953, and after 3 seasons in the minors, he spent 10 full seasons as a regular with Cincinnati.  He was the Rookie of the Year in 1956, and the NL MVP in 1961.

He played in 4 World Series during his six seasons with Baltimore. In 1972 he began bouncing around to several teams as his playing career wound down: Dodgers ('72), Angels ('73, '74), and Indians ('74-'76).

He also managed the Indians (1975-77), Giants (1981-84), Orioles (1988-91), and the Expos/Nationals (2002-06).  In 16 seasons as manager, his teams finished as high as 2nd place twice.

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