The Frank Robinson Rookie Cards and His Other Vintage Cards
Frank Robinson Rookie Cards
Collectors of Frank Robinson memorabilia should be aware of all his various rookie cards, despite the widely recognized 1957 Topps card (#35) being considered his primary rookie card. The term “cards” is used loosely as some of the options discussed in this article are rare and unique, including one that was released a year before the 1957 Topps card. We will provide an overview of all relevant Frank Robinson rookie cards in this article.
1957 Topps Frank Robinson #35
The 1957 Topps Frank Robinson (card #35) is sneakily one of the premier cards of the 1950s – and would be among the most expensive if players like Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle didn’t start their careers significantly earlier. Frank Robinson was a Major League Baseball player who spent 21 seasons in the league and was widely regarded as one of the best players of his generation. He made his debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 1956 and went on to play for teams such as the Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Cleveland Indians. During his illustrious career, Robinson was a 14-time All-Star who was primarily recognized as an offensive player, but he is also remembered for exceptional defense, having won the Gold Glove award in 1958.
Robinson was a trailblazer in many ways, becoming the first African American manager in Major League Baseball when he was appointed as player-manager for the Cleveland Indians in 1975. He later managed the San Francisco Giants and the Baltimore Orioles, earning him recognition as one of the greatest managers in the history of the sport.
Off the field, Robinson was an advocate for social justice and equality and was actively involved in numerous charitable organizations. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.
Any rookie card of a player with Robinson’s accomplishments would be valuable, but some additional factors make this card one of the most sought-after of the 1980s by collectors.
- MVP in both the National League and American League: Frank Robinson was awarded the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award in both the National League (NL) and American League (AL). He won the award in 1961 while playing for the Cincinnati Reds in the NL and in 1966 while playing for the Baltimore Orioles in the AL. This rare feat solidified his place as one of the greatest players in baseball history and marked him as a versatile and valuable player in both leagues. Collectors tend to stay interested in players who achieve rare and amazing feats such as this.
- Triple Crown Winner: Frank Robinson is known for his impressive power hitting, and in 1966 he accomplished a remarkable feat by winning the Triple Crown. This means that he led the American League in batting average (.316), home runs (.49), and runs batted in (RBI) (122) during that season. This outstanding achievement solidified his place among the greatest hitters of all time and demonstrated his exceptional ability to hit with both power and accuracy. The Triple Crown is a rare accomplishment and Robinson’s achievement stands as a testament to his exceptional talent.
- Jersey Number Retired by Three Teams: Frank Robinson was a remarkable player and his contributions to the game of baseball have been recognized by multiple teams. In recognition of his great achievements, three teams, the Baltimore Orioles, Cincinnati Reds, and Cleveland Indians, have retired his jersey number. This is a remarkable achievement and a testament to his lasting impact on the game. By having his jersey retired by three teams, Robinson is cemented as one of the greatest players in baseball history, and his legacy continues to inspire future generations of players.
1957 Topps Baseball Set Details
The 1957 Topps Baseball set was a significant milestone in the history of baseball cards. It was the first set to feature cards with the standard 2-1/2 by 3-1/2 inch dimensions and to include player statistics on the back of each card. The set also marked a departure from previous baseball card products, as it was the first to use full-color photography of the players. These innovative features, combined with the strong roster of rookies and established stars, make the 1957 Topps set one of the most sought-after vintage sets by collectors.
The set features a talented class of rookies, including Frank Robinson (#35), Brooks Robinson (#328), Don Drysdale (#18), Bill Mazeroski (#24), Jim Bunning (#338), Bobby Richardson (#286), Rocky Colavito (#212), and the legendary manager Whitey Herzog (#29).
- Manufacturer: Topps
- Number of Cards: 407 cards (plus 4 unnumbered checklists)
- Card size: 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ (standard size)
- Team Cards (not sequential)
- Multi-player cards (not sequential)
- Insert Sets
- Contest Cards (4 different)
- Lucky Penny Card
1957 Topps Frank Robinson card #35 Details
- Card no: #35 of 407
- Names on front: Frank Robinson
- Name on Back: Frank Robinson
- Position: Outfield
- Team: Cincinnati Redlegs
- Height: 6’1″
- Weight: 183
- Bats: Right
- Throws: Right
- Born: August 31, 1935
- Home: Beaumont Texas
Front of the card
Design: The front of the 1957 Topps Frank Robinson (#35) features a photo that is one of my favorites of any card. It depicts a young Frank Robson posing with a bat that he’s slightly choking up on. He’s wearing his circa-50s Redlegs uniform with a long sleeve red shirt under a vest. Aside from the photo, the card only has Frank’s name, position, and team in white and yellow text near the bottom of the card. Despite its simplicity, the design is great.
Shop for a 1957 Topps Frank Robinson Rookie card #36 on eBay (affiliate link) because it’s rare in high-grade condition.
Back of the card
Design: The back of the 1957 Topps Frank Robinson card (#35) features a horizontal layout with red and blue ink. The card number is located in the upper left corner and is enclosed in a baseball graphic. The top of the card has Robinson’s biographical information. In the middle, there is a paragraph about Robinson’s recent professional and minor league years, along with a cartoon trivia question. The bottom third of the card is dedicated to Robinson’s minor league and rookie year statistics.
Frank broke into the Majors last season and tooke the Rookie of the Year Honors. He was top man in Runs Scored and tied the record for Homers hit by first year men. Frank found night games to his liking in ’56 and compiled a .324 average while belting 20 circuit smashes in 64 “after dark” contests. Frank led the Sally League in Runs in ’54.1957 Topps Frank Robinson #35
1957 Topps Frank Robinson Rookie Card Value
The Frank Robinson Topps rookie card is one of the more valuable baseball cards made in the 1950s. The chart below was pulled from the popular card grading site PSA on 02/10/2023. It shows prices for the Frank Robinson rookie card in various shapes, because condition matters.
Keep in mind that prices fluctuate. While PSA is a great way to find out the value of a card, we recommend going to eBay to see what cards are currently selling for on the world’s most popular auction site. Click here to view current auctions for the 1957 Topps Frank Robinson Rookie card #36.
Other Relevant Frank Robinson Rookie Cards
The Frank Robinson rookie card from the 1957 Topps set (#35) is considered the best by many collectors. However, there are other Frank Robinson rookie cards that are worth mentioning. One of these cards was designed to be made into a 3-dimensional figurine, another predates the 1957 Topps card by a year, and two of them were even distributed in packs of hot dogs. Let’s explore these unique and interesting Frank Robinson collectibles.
1956 Kahn’s Wieners Frank Robinson
You’ve got to love it when a Wiener company beats Topps to a Hall of Fame rookie card and that’s exactly what happened here. The 1956 Kahn’s Wiener baseball cards were a set of cards produced by a Cincinnati-based meat company. The cards were included in packages of hot dogs as a promotional item. The set features Frank Robinson and other players from the Cincinnati Reds. Despite its limited distribution, the 1956 Kahn’s Wiener set has become a popular collectible among vintage baseball card enthusiasts. I didn’t hesitate to select the 1957 Topps as Robinson’s top rookie, but this would be #2 for me because it was his first card made.
Shop for a 1956 Kahn’s Frank Robinson on eBay (affiliate link), because it’s his first card!
1957 Jay Publishing Cincinnati Redlegs Photo
The 1957 Jay Publishing MLB Photos set is a rare and obscure baseball card set that was produced by Jay Publishing. These cards were distributed as promotional items and featured black and white photographs of Major League Baseball players on the front. This rare set features high-quality player images set and is highly sought after by collectors. This hard-to-find Frank Robinson rookie is a must for Robinson super collectors.
Shop for a 1957 Jay Publishing Redlegs Photo eBay (rare) (affiliate link), because it’s super rare.
1957 Swift Meats Frank Robinson #16
The 1957 Swift Meats baseball set is a rare and obscure set of baseball cards that were produced by Swift Meats as a promotional item. These cards were intended to be used by kids to punch out body parts and make a standing three-dimensional cardboard figurine of their favorite players. This set of 18 players was distributed in hot dog packs and they are very hard to find in good condition. Also, doesn’t Frank Robinson have the greatest set of “hotdog rookies” in baseball card history? This is definitely one of my favorite finds while researching for this website.
Shop for a 1957 Swift Meats Robinson on eBay (affiliate link), because it’s the most unique rookie.
1957 Cincinnati Redlegs Postcards Frank Robinson
This Frank Robinson rookie wasn’t intended to be a collectible card. Like many other cities, the Cincinnati Redlegs issued sets of postcards featuring the players. Since the run was local, and because some were used as postcards, these are rare and valuable in good condition.
Shop for a 1957 Redlegs Postcard on eBay (affiliate link), because it’s hard to find.
Frank Robinson’s Legacy
Frank Robinson is a legend in baseball, regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. Throughout his 21-season career, he earned numerous accolades for his skills at the plate and in the outfield. Robinson kicked off his pro journey with a bang by winning the NL Rookie of the Year award in 1956. He went on to become a 14-time All-Star and won MVP awards in both the National and American Leagues. In 1966, he won the Triple Crown by leading the league in batting average, home runs, and RBIs.
In 1975, Robinson made history as the first African American manager in Major League Baseball. He broke down barriers and paved the way for future minority managers. In 1982, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, solidifying his legacy as one of the greatest players ever. Frank Robinson’s impact on baseball will always be remembered and continues to inspire players and fans alike.
Here’s a list of some of Frank Robinson’s accomplishments:
- National League Rookie of the Year (1956)
- 2-time MVP Winner: National League MVP (1961), American League MVP (1966)
- Triple Crown Winner: American League (1966)
- World Series Champion: 1966 Baltimore Orioles
- Hall of Famer: Inducted in 1982
- 14-time All-Star
- Gold Glove Winner (1958)
- All-Star Game MVP (1966)
- Home Run Record: Most home runs by a player in their first season with a new team (38, Baltimore Oriole, 1966)
- First African American Manager in Major League Baseball: Cleveland Indians (1975)
- American League Manager of the year (1989)
- Major League Baseball All-Century Team (1999)
- 20 retired by Cincinnati Reds in 1998
- 20 retired by Baltimore Orioles in 1972
- 20 retired by Cleveland Indians in 2017
Get Your Frank Robinson Rookie
Do you want to own a 1957 Topps Frank Robinson Rookie (#36)? If so, we recommend starting your search on eBay – the world’s #1 card trading place. Even if you’re not planning to buy one, it’s fun to look at all the great cards currently for sale.
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All About Frank Robinson Rookie Cards Infographic
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