Monday, December 19, 2011

DAHOF Top 100 -- #83 Frank Robinson

If I had enough money, and I was a major league team owner, Frank Robinson is one of the few men I would have happily built my franchise around as both a (in his prime) player and a manager.

As a player he was a beast. He won the Rookie of the Year, was the MVP in both leagues, and made 14 different All Star teams. He won two World Championships with the Orioles, and should have won two more if his team had played better in 1969 against the Mets & in 1971 against the Pirates. He was a powerful home run hitter (586 of them), an on-base machine (finished his 21 year career with a .389 OBP), and according to shortstops and second basemen... one of the most feared double-play busters of all time. He also holds the distinction of being able to wear two of the worst (or best, depending on your perspective) looking uniforms in MLB history. His #20 has been retired by both the Reds and the Orioles.

As a manager, he is an old school disciplinarian with an unmatched knowledge and unrelenting respect for the game. His first coaching job was as a player/manager, breaking the managerial color barrier with the 1975 Indians. He managed in Cleveland during the last two years of his playing career, compiling a 186–189 record. He also became the first African-American manager in the National League history when he took over the Giants in 1981. While his career managerial record stands at a pedestrian 1065–1176, he has managed some truly awful teams into respectability -- including the Baltimore Orioles of the late '80s, and the Expos/Nationals through the transition from Montreal to Washington DC.

It boils down to this for me... In the modern era, for everything that is wrong with major league baseball, there is the career and passion of Frank Robinson to serve as a counter balance.


Post a Comment