The possible situation. Bases are loaded at Fenway Park with the score tied in a late season game. Both the Red Sox and visiting O’s need the game. You are a bullpen pitcher being called in to face Frank Robinson in his prime. What are your options? Hide in the bullpen porta potty? Start cutting yourself? Drink motor oil? All offer a more promising outcome.
In 62 games at Fenway Park, Robinson hit .350 in 217 at-bats with 22 home runs and 57 RBI. Robinson posted a 1.188 OPS in his Fenway games and had more walks (42) than strikeouts (39). Long ago Stan Musial got the nickname “The Man” when Dodger fans would lament about “Here comes that man again.” That was Robinson.
The “Big Red Machine” was not – to me – the Reds of the 1970s, but the Reds of Robinson’s rookie year of 1956 when the 20-year-old slugged 38 home runs. That year the Reds hit 221 home runs.
Robinson was a noted leader in the clubhouse as a player and openly put his name out to become the first black manager at the major league level. Robinson succeeded. Robinson is an award magnet and that means everything from a Rookie of the Year to Most Valuable Player. This guy just loved Fenway.