November 22, 1961: Reds outfielder Frank Robinson is named the National League Most Valuable Player for the 1961 season. Robinson batted .323 with 37 homers, 124 rbi, 117 runs scored, a .404 OBP, .611 SLP, and a 1.015 OPS rating (163 OPS+). The Reds won the National League in 1961 with a 93-61 record before losing the World Series in five games to the New York Yankees.
The 1961 season was the second of three consecutive seasons that Robinson led the league in slugging percentage, OPS, and OPS+. Robinson was sixth in the league in batting average, second in runs scored, fourth in total bases (333), third in doubles (32), third in home runs, second in runs batted in and third in stolen bases (22). As typical, this may not even have been Robinson’s best Reds season but it was the only Reds World Series team during his time with the squad. His best Reds season may have been 1962 when he hit .342 with 39 homers, 136 rbi, a .421 OBP, .624 SLP, an OPS of 1.045 and an OPS+ of 172. He finished fourth in MVP balloting in 1962. He finished in top ten in MVP balloting in six different seasons with the Reds.
Robinson is the only player to win the MVP award in both leagues. His best season as a major leaguer came with the Baltimore Orioles in 1966 when he won the Triple Crown, batting .316 with 49 homers, and 122 rbi. He also led with 122 runs scored, a .410 OBP, a .637 SLP, a 1.047 OPS, a 198 OPS+, and 367 total bases. This performance came the season after Robinson was traded from the Reds to the Orioles. Overall, ten times did Robinson finish in the top ten in MVP voting during his 21 season career.
For his career, Robinson batted .294 with 586 home runs, 1812 rbi, 204 stolen bases, and a .926 OPS (154 OPS+). He is ninth on the all-time home run list and 20th all-time in runs batted in. He is eighth all-time in times being hit by a pitch. In ten seasons with the Reds, Robinson batted .303 with 324 home runs, 1009 rbi, and 161 stolen bases and one Gold Glove for outfield defense in 1958. Career wise with the Reds, Robinson is fifth all-time in OBP (.389), second in slugging percentage (.554), second in OPS (.943), fifth in runs scored (1043), second in home runs (324), fifth in rbi (1009), and third in OPS+ (149).
“I don’t want people to say Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays and Hank Aaron in one breath and, in the next, Frank Robinson. I want them to say Mantle, Mays, Aaron, and Robinson in the same breath.” Frank Robinson, 1967.
The quote above is found at baseball-reference.com’s bullpen as is the list of accomplishments found below.
1956 NL Rookie of the Year Award
12-time All-Star (1956, 1957, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1965-1967, 1969-1971 & 1974)
2-time MVP (1961/NL & 1966/AL)
AL Triple Crown (1966)
1966 World Series MVP
1971 All-Star Game MVP
NL Gold Glove Winner (1958/LF)
AL Batting Average Leader (1966)
League On-Base Percentage Leader (1962/NL & 1966/AL)
4-time League Slugging Percentage Leader (1960-1962/NL & 1966/AL)
4-time League OPS Leader (1960-1962/NL & 1966/AL)
3-time League Runs Scored Leader (1956/NL, 1962/NL & 1966/AL)
AL Total Bases Leader (1966)
NL Doubles Leader (1962)
AL Home Runs Leader (1966)
AL RBI Leader (1966)
20-Home Run Seasons: 17 (1956-1967, 1969-1971, 1973 & 1974)
30-Home Run Seasons: 11 (1956, 1958-1962, 1965-1967, 1969 & 1973)
40-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1966)
100 RBI Seasons: 6 (1959, 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966 & 1969)
100 Runs Scored Seasons: 8 (1956, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1964-1966 & 1969)
200 Hits Seasons: 1 (1962)
Won two World Series with the Baltimore Orioles (1966 & 1970)
AL Manager of the Year (1989)
Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1982