On September 11, 1956, 20 year old Cincinnati Reds outfielder Frank Robinson tied Wally Berger’s 1930 National League rookie home run record. At the old Polo Grounds against New York Giant pitcher Steve Ridzik, Robinson connected on his 38th home run in the Reds 11 – 5 win. Robinson and Berger’s record has yet to be broken.
The first African American star ballplayer not to have come from Negro League baseball, Robinson was signed by the Reds straight out of Oakland, California’s McClymonds High School in 1953. Along with his 38 home runs, he also hit .290 with 83 RBIs and was named 1956 National League Rookie of the Year.
Robinson is the only Major Leaguer to be named Most Valuable Player (MVP) in both the National League (1961) and the American League (1966). Inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982, he had 586 career home runs and 1821 total RBIs.
Who was Robinson’s high school teammate that also made his Major League debut with the Reds in 1956?