Best Cincinnati Reds Ever: Frank Robinson v. Dan Driessen

Photo via Bleacher Report
Photo via Bleacher Report /

First Round Matchup No. 2 Frank Robinson v. No. 15 Dan Driessen


Frank Robinson got his first chance at a big league career with the Cincinnati Reds in 1956. What did he do with that chance? All The Judge did was unanimously win the Rookie of the Year Award by swatting 38 home runs, knocking in 83 RBIs, scoring a league-high 122 runs all while hitting .290. Oh, and he was just 20 years old. Robinson added MVP votes and an All-Star appearance that season.

He followed himself up by improving his average to .322 the following season before winning his first of two MVP awards as a 25-year-old in 1961 by hitting 38 home runs, knocking in 124 RBIs, stealing 22 of 25 bases, walking 71 times to just 64 strikeouts and hitting .323. He also led the league in SLG, OPS, sacrifice flies and intentional walks that season.

The Reds eventually — and presumably regrettably — traded a then 30-year-old Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles for three nowhere close to Robinson-caliber players, but his mark on Cincinnati had already been made. He spent 10 of his 21 seasons with the Reds compiling 324 home runs (586 career), 1,009 RBIs (1,812), with a .303 average (.294).

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Robinson was a Gold Glove Ward winner in 1958 and added an AL MVP, World Series MVP and Triple Crown all in 1966 — the first season following his trade from Cincinnati. He was a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee receiving 89.2 percent of the vote in 1982.

He was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 1978, has since had a bronze statue erected outside of Great American Ball Park and had his No. 20 jersey retired by the Reds.

We all can make the case Robinson was the most talented player to ever wear a Reds uniform and you would be hard-pressed to find a solid argument against it.


Dan Driessen played the first 11 1/2 seasons of his 15-year career with the Cincinnati Reds. His numbers probably won’t make you double-take, but he was valuable anyway. Driessen had an eight-year span in which he topped double-digit home runs seven times — albeit never more than 18 — and walked (678) more times than he struck out (639) in his Reds career including a league-leading 93 walks in 1980.

His career average with Cincinnati was a respectable .271, a few ticks above his career average, and his best season came in 1975 when he hit .300 with 17 home runs, 91 RBIs and 31 stolen bases. Driessen’s only other plus-.300 season came as a rookie in 1973 when he hit .301 en route to finishing third in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Driessen’s impact was felt on the other side of the ball as well playing arguably the best first-base defense of his era including a career .995 fielding percentage in games he played at first.

He was two-time World Series champion on the Reds’ back-to-back title winners of 1975 and 76. In ’75 Driessen received just two World Series at-bats in two games, but got his chance the following season. In ’76 Driessen played in all four of the games against the New York Yankees in what was a four-game sweep, hitting .357 with a home run, two doubles, a stolen base, two walks an no strikeouts.

In a lineup littered with all-time greats, Driessen had held his own and rewarded as such when he was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 2012.

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