5. Frank Robinson (1956-1965)
Oh what could’ve been? Most Reds fans will remember the trade of Frank Robinson to the Baltimore Orioles rather than the six All-Star appearances, Rookie of the Year and MVP awards. While one of the most boneheaded trades in MLB history involved Cincinnati shipping Robinson to Baltimore following the 1965 season, The Judge put up some impressive numbers with the Reds.
In 1956, Robinson tied the then-record of home runs in a season by a rookie. Robinson sent 38 balls over the fence, led the league in runs scored and recorded 83 RBIs. Robinson’s 83 runs batted in were good enough for third on the team, behind Ted Kluszewski (102) and Gus Bell (84). Robinson took home Rookie of the Year honors in 1956.
Though the Reds finished fifth in the division in 1959, Robinson was building towards greatness. That was the first season that The Judge surpassed 100 RBIs, racking up 125 at just age 23. Robinson was second in the league in Ernie Banks that season in RBIs, as the Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer put up 143 runs batted in that season.
Frank Robinson won the NL MVP in 1961, but his best statistical season was in 1962 when he led the league in runs scored (134), home runs (51) and OPS (1.045). Willie Mays and Tommy Davis outpaced Robinson that season for most RBIs. Robinson ended his Reds career with 1,009 RBIs, but had he not been traded, Robinson may have been No. 1.