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The 100 Greatest Angels - #77, Frank Robinson

#77 - Frank Robinson, - DH

Career Stats

Frank Robinson played 276 games fro the Angels in 1973 and 1974. He hit 50 homeruns as an Angel, averaging one ever 5.5 games. His OPS+ was 150 in 1973, 7th all time for a season in franchise history. That is about all he did as an Angel that was good. If he had been nicer he would have stuck around a little longer and been higher on this list, but he was a big jerk and got traded. And he still is a big jerk, a jackass even, judging from his outbursts during June's inter-league play with the team he now manages.

Our friend Rob McMillin of the fabulous 6-4-2 Blog does not have much nice to say either...

Frank Robinson's in the Hall of Fame wearing an Orioles cap, probably because that's where he helped the famous Earl Weaver-led teams to two World Series titles and four American League pennants overall. Rookie of the Year in 1956, winner of the league MVP in both leagues, and in 1966 a triple crown winner and World Series MVP, he only played for the Angels for two years, near the end of his career in 1973 and '74, right after he spent a year with the Dodgers. Prior to that, the Angels had probably seen too much of him: in 1966, the Angels' first in Anaheim, he hit .522 (12-23) in then-Anaheim Stadium.

Robinson, beset with nagging leg injuries, missed a fair number of games for the 1972 Dodgers, who fought a ceaseless stream of players on the DL and much player ineffectiveness; the team cobbled together no fewer than 100 lineups over the course of the season. Angels GM Harry Dalton, who had previously acquired Robinson when he was the Orioles' GM, was only too happy to make the same move again. The Halos traded for Robinson in a mammoth seven-player deal that brought Andy Messersmith to the Dodgers, and famed bust Billy Grabarkewitz, one-time All Star Bill Singer, about-to-be-released Mike Strahler, and future Mets manager Bobby Valentine to the Angels.

Robinson's first year with the Angels was thus a bounceback season for him, posting a .266 average while pasting 30 homers and driving in 97 RBIs. But while his performance was everything Dalton and the Angels had hoped for when they acquired him, the team was seething with unmet expectations, posting a losing 79-83 record, in part due to a combustible bullpen. In 1974, his power was in marked decline, hitting only 22 homers on the year, driving in a mere 68 runs, yet he led the club on both counts. Worse, inexperienced manager Bobby Winkles admitted he felt intimidated by the future Hall of Famer. Robinson didn't help matters, criticizing his manager in the press. It all lead to a clubhouse meeting in which Winkles told the team he had asked Dalton to trade Robinson. Dalton, who had previously refused to get involved, did so on June 26, firing Winkles. Dalton took Winkles' request to heart in September: with only 15 games left to play, he traded Robinson to Cleveland.

Teammate Nolan Ryan later wrote in The Other Game that "[Robinson] tried to manage the Angels while he was playing with them, and he was a disruptive factor on the team...." It surely explains the prickly and often confrontational manager he became after retiring in 1976.