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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Ken Singleton incorrect: Frank Robinson had no games with 2 HR and 2 HBP. Why exaggerate?

During last night's Yankee game Ken Singleton incorrectly stated that Frank Robinson had games with 2 home runs (HR) and 2 hit by pitch (HBP). Singleton was trying to emphasize that Robinson would not be intimidated when he stood close to home plate and was hit by pitches. It sounded like hyperbole so I checked this morning.
Photo of Frank RobinsonPhoto of Ken Singleton
I used the ad hoc search function in baseball-reference.com. There were zero games in which Robinson had more than one HR and more than one HBP.

There were three games with 2 HR and one HBP, all in blowouts wins with Cincinnati:
1957-06-01 Cubs
1961-07-09 Dodgers
1964-08-19 Giants

Remember, through 1961 the National League had only eight teams. The one game with one HR and two HBP was when Robinson played for the Angels and it was against the Indians 1973-07-17.

So why embellish?

Frank Robinson hit at least two HR in 51 games, including twice at age 39 in 1975 in wins when he was player-manager of the Cleveland Indians:
1975-05-21 Angels
1975-06-06 Texas

That's a pretty good story right there. No need to embellish. Robinson was Cleveland's player-manager again in 1976 and for the first 57 games of 1977. He managed a total of 2,241 games over 16 non-consecutive seasons for the Indians, Giants, Orioles and Nationals.

Frank Robinson had two HBP games only twice, both while playing in close wins for Cincinnati:
1957-06-02 (1) Cubs; single
1965-09-05 Phillies; double

Moe Drabowsky started for the Cubs in that 1957 game but lasted only into the 4th inning; he had two HR, four BB (one IBB) and four HBP: Robinson twice, SS Roy McMillan and PH Art Schult. Drabowsky later joined the Orioles the same year as Robinson, 1966: 6-0 and 1-0 in the World Series against the Dodgers.

In the 1965 Phillies game there were four HBP against Reds:
Pete Rose by Lew Burdette (started: 1.66 innings, 6 runs, HR by Vada Pinson)
- Tommy Helms by Lew Burdette
- Robinson twice by Art Mahaffey (relieved Burdette: 5.33 innings, 3 runs, 4 BB, HR by Johnny Edwards)

There's precedent for this type of mistake, including:

Did Bob Gibson hit friend Bill White in the first opportunity? No, but some think so. Monday, May 26, 2014


Marc Schneider said...

Why do you assume Singleton exaggerated intentionally? Maybe he just made a mistake or spoke without checking. It's not as if it's that much of an embellishment.

Kenneth Matinale said...

There's no maybe. Singleton was factually incorrect. It was obvious that he was trying to make a point, that Frank Robinson would not be intimidated. So Singleton made an obviously exaggerated statement for emphasis. Robinson would get hit a couple of times and hit a couple of home runs. It was like that. It did not ring true.

I like Singleton but he was out of line in doing this. There's no excuse. And it is a big embellishment. Batters rarely have multiple HBP in the same game. To add multiple home runs is silly.

Ben Moore said...

Clearly, Ken Singleton is the single worst human being who have lived.

Kenneth Matinale said...

Ben, your lame sarcasm is a gross overreaction to my charge of embellishing by Singleton.