A few months ago, I completed my player collection overhaul where I moved all player collections from sheets into boxes in order to save money in the long run, save space, and help my store cards in penny sleeves which, in my collection, don't collect dust the way sheets do. Completing this was a major thing for me since my player collections are the main focus of my card collecting hobby.
After that, I figured that I should have these cards impeccably organized both physically and digitally. Therefore, I resumed my player collection inventory on Google spreadsheets where I had previously done a couple teams worth of inventory thus far. After working for a while, I only have a couple more teams to go, one of which is the Red Sox.
I chose Frank Robinson because I just completed the inventory of his player collection today, and it's 84 cards in total. These cards are mostly made up of Orioles and Reds, though there are some Indians and even a Dodger and an Expo thrown in there. Robinson never played for Montreal, but he managed the club from 2002-2006 through the clubs move from Montreal to Washington and seeing them become the Nationals.
There were a lot of fantastic options for cards for this list, more than a lot of players I've done top 5 cards before. Now, here are the 5 I chose.
#5 2003 Topps
Remember when I said I had a card of Robinson as manager of the Montreal Expos? Well, I deemed it worthy of the top 5 cards list due to the blue borders of 2003 Topps that pair perfectly with the blue and red Expos team colors. Robinson's first 2 years as the manager in Montreal went very well, going 83-79 each year. However, the final year in Montreal and the 2 years he spent managing the club in Washington did not go to well yet do a good job at summing up what Robinson's managerial career was like. He had some very successful seasons, but there would always be some dismal years that followed and tarnished his managerial record.
#4 2002 Topps American Pie American Sluggers Red Parallel
With blue, gold, and red parallels of this card to choose from, I knew that this card would be an excellent choice for this list and even though the blue and gold parallels looked nice, the red was the easy choice. After all, Robinson is shown as an Indian on this card, so a red border not only makes the most sense but also matches the team colors the best, which I am a big fan of. The jersey on this card is also something I like a lot even though it's cut-off a little bit. I've seen them occasionally as throwback jerseys in baseball highlights or Topps Salute sets, but I'm not sure of the exact time frame that these jerseys were worn.
#3 2006 Topps Allen & Ginter
The #3 card on this list is also the 3rd team I've shown a card of Robinson on thus far. The Baltimore Orioles make their first but not final appearance on this list in the form of a Topps Allen & Ginter card from the inaugural set. Despite being the most simple of all the A&G sets, I find '06 Allen & Ginter one of my favorites in brand history. The player choices were phenomenal and so were the photos that were chosen. Additionally, the color splotches in the background were some of the best I've ever seen. I consider myself somewhat familiar with the set, and it's definitely one of the most well-done cards in the entire set.
#2 1976 SSPC
The only original card from Robinson's playing career that made the list was this 1976 SSPC card of Robinson in the bright red Indians jersey. Don't get me wrong, I had other original options both from his days in Cincinnati and Baltimore, but I really wanted to include the Expos card and the red parallel from '02 American Pie. So, I had to settle for one original card from his playing career, but at least it's an absolutely incredible and eye-catching card. Robinson only played for the Indians for 3 years and just over 230 at-bats, so I didn't expect to see a card of him in this bright and colorful jersey. I'm very grateful to SSPC that they captured this on cardboard, and even more grateful that I was able to find this card at the show earlier this year.
#1 1999 Upper Deck Retro
I often feel bad for well-created and thought of sets that get lost in a less than stellar era or year that they were produced in. Case and point; the superb Upper Deck Retro set which lasted a couple years, including 1999, the year this Robinson card is from as well as a year where cards lacked a lot of uniqueness. Sets like this and others don't usually get much attention, so I'm giving it a ton of recognition by declaring it my favorite Frank Robinson card for 1 main reason. It's a black and white photo along with a 90% black and white card. The effort put into this set by Upper Deck's designers is crystal clear, and is more than enough for this card to end up at #1 ahead of a lot of other great options, including many that didn't make the list.