RIP Frank Robinson

On February 8, 2019, in MLB, by Stephen

By Stephen Nover

Those of us lucky enough to have watched baseball in the 1960s got to see five of the greatest outfielders of all-time – Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente and Frank Robinson.

The National League went 11-1-1 in All-Star Games played during the 1960s when there were two All-Star Games played from 1960-62. The NL dominated in large part because they had Mays, Aaron, Clemente and Robinson to choose from in the outfield.

Now just Mays and Aaron remain alive after Robinson died today.

How good was Robinson? Of those five great 1960s outfielders, I would rank only Mays above him. Robinson was better than Aaron, Mantle and Clemente in my view. Being better than those true Hall of Famers sets the bar at its highest level.

Robinson never had the popularity of the other four. He didn’t have Mantle’s charisma. He didn’t have May’s all-around skills. He lacked Aaron’s quiet dignity. He didn’t have Clemente’s arm. But Robinson had more power than Clemente. Robinson was on par with the other four in not only being a great hitter but a great power hitter as well. He also may haven been the most fierce every day competitor of the modern era, the Bob Gibson of hitters.

I didn’t root for Robinson like the others when I was growing up, but I sure feared and respected him. If they ever separate the Baseball Hall of Fame into upper echelon and lower echelon, Robinson would be among those at the highest level.



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